blog post

How to get past gatekeepers when prospecting

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Getting-Past-The-Gatekeeper_FI-1-1All commercial real estate brokers have been there.

You’re hitting the phones, trying to drum up new business and connect with new people, and you just can’t seem to get past the gatekeepers.

Those decision makers you’re calling have receptionists for a reason, after all. Whether it’s a property owner or tenant, they probably have a lot of people trying to reach them, and they sometimes even train those gatekeepers to block pesky salespeople like you, sending you straight to the abyss of voicemail.

But getting past those gatekeepers can be done. And it should be—you have real value to offer, after all!

Here are a few simple tips to help you get through and reach new connections, and make sure you keep them on the line once you do.

What’s in a name?

You want to make it sound like you know who you’re calling and they’re expecting your call. If you know the decision makers name, ask for them directly and with confidence. When you get the gatekeeper on the phone, just say, “John Doe, please.” You could even ask by first name only, suggesting a personal, pre-existing relationship. While some gatekeepers may see through you, others might just put your call through. So try it on your next cold call: “John, please.”

Have your pitch ready for every audience

The gatekeeper will probably ask what the call is regarding. But before you go into the pitch you have for the decision maker, consider your current audience. What can you say that will convince this person that the call is important and worth putting through?

The gatekeeper is a filter. At the least, they’re going to pick and choose what message they relay, and they might forget or change the message slightly as well. That means to get the right message through, you have to brief and to the point. If you ramble on and on, or are at all long-winded, there’s a greater likelihood that they won’t get the right message.

Here are a few examples. If you’re calling a tenant, try saying “I have some office space available at a really low rate, and I want to talk to John about it.” If you’re calling a property owner, say, “I’ve got a building for sale near one of John’s properties,” or “I’ve got a great investment for sale near one of John’s properties.” Owners and investors are naturally curious about opportunities or about what’s going on near their properties, so it could be the right hook to convince the gatekeeper you’re important enough to pass on.

When you DO get through to the decision maker…

Congratulations, you’ve actually connected with the person you were calling in the first place! Now, what can you say to keep this person on the line?

You’re going to have to tailor your message pretty carefully, because that first live connection is crucial. Make sure you actually have the information ready at your fingertips when you get through, because the first words out of your mouth should get the decision maker interested in what you’re saying. Yes, you need to chat and build a relationship and ask questions, but get them on the hook first. Do you have a great office property for them? Do you have intel on a transportation development going up near a property they already own? Start there. Even if you don’t get a warm response, it opens the door for further questions. Then you can ask: So what ARE you looking for?