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The gatekeeper’s got your number

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Recently, I met a CEO at a conference, who had invited me to contact her. When I did, her assistant Joan answered the phone. Joan asked me the purpose of my call, and I told her where I’d met her boss and who had introduced us. When I told her the name of my company, No More Cold Calling, she laughed.

After putting me on hold for a minute, Joan told me her boss was unavailable but did want to talk to me. I gave her my phone number and thought the conversation was over. But apparently my area of expertise struck a chord with Joan, and she proceeded to tell me story after story of cold calls she had received.

Access denied. Joan told me that many cold callers lie and tell her the CEO has asked them to call. Most are cocky, others are downright rude, and some try to lay on the charm. A lot of them keep calling and calling, hoping to eventually get past her. But Joan’s boss is a busy woman, and Joan is good at her job.

Joan and other gatekeepers can smell your phoniness a mile away. Think you’re fooling them when you cold call and pretend that you’re best buddies with your prospect? Here’s a newsflash: You’re not.

Access granted. Joan and I then discussed the power of a referral introduction. A referral introduction is genuine. It’s real. The connection is immediate, and the Joans of the world will be on your side. The gatekeepers will fling open the gates.

When you have a referral, you’ll never have to use duplicitous tactics to bypass a gatekeeper. Instead, that assistant will welcome your call. No lies necessary.

The moral of the story? Referred prospects will always make time to talk to salespeople who’ve been introduced by someone they know and trust. And their gatekeepers—those invaluable people who enable executives to do their jobs—will be happy to put you through.

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Joanne Black is a professional sales speaker, sales webinar leader, and author of ‘No More Cold Calling: The Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust” from Warner Business Books. Visit © Copyright 2011 Joanne S. Black. All rights reserved.