Tips for Getting In Touch With a Decision-Maker


The introduction that a salesperson makes to a representative of another company could be an interaction that determines if they will make a sale in the near future. A sales management team needs to instruct their employees on how to best make initial contact that will help to progress the correspondence.

The first individual that a representative speaks to as part of a sales call may be one of the most difficult individuals to sell, as this person controls whether the salesperson will be able to get in touch with someone who is able to make a purchasing decision.

Although I hesitate to call this person a gatekeeper, as it slightly dehumanizes them, it is still important to bypass this individual. Selling them on the purchase through positive interaction will allow a representative to deliver their value proposition to someone higher up on the chain of command.

Calling this individual a gatekeeper can lead to an underestimation of their abilities, as this may degrade the role of this individual and downplay their importance in the entire process.

Representatives should try and leverage the opportunity with the gatekeeper instead of merely trying to bypass this individual. They need to figure out ways to make their value proposition without sounding like they are trying to sell them on anything specific.

You say and do things that are meaningful and relevant to them because they are so used to tons of salespeople every week trying to get past them. That creates a mindset of, “I’m a low person on the totem pole and I’m not relevant”. Cognitively, that puts salespeople automatically in a bad light.

Representatives need to treat these individuals in a professional manner and address them with a level of respect that both plays to their intelligence and shows that they are important in the dealings of their company.

These gatekeepers know more than many salespeople are willing to give them credit for, and representatives would be intelligent to cater their conversation to this notion. People like to be respected for what they know, and granting this type of respect to the gatekeeper will help to progress the correspondence past the initial state.

Representatives should try to present themselves in a different manner than what they think others have done, as differentiating themselves is a strategy that could work. This can be done by identifying a specific study or whitepaper that could help the business of the customer.

If it’s industry specific and research based, the gatekeeper typically will not deny their higher-ups a chance to hear this information. This may only lead to a follow-up call, after they speak with their superiors, but this gives a rep another chance to break through.

It is important for representatives to take down the necessary information about the individual who they are speaking to and send them a follow-up note to help cement the new relationship. Remembering this person can help to gain entry, as they will like to feel important after a sales call.

The representative can then address the gatekeeper by name, and reference the previous conversation that occurred. This helps to provide a foundation for the second call, and could help to push the rep through to a decision-maker.

You are not trying to sell the gatekeeper on making a purchase, you are simply trying to get them to buy that your business will help their business. This conversation can end in several ways, but it is important to finish off with a positive tone in order to leave a good image of your company in their mind.

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