4 Sales Tips for Getting Past the Gatekeeper – Ep. 14



Podcast Episode 14 Transcription:

Sarah: Welcome to Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode we are going to talk about how the healthcare industry is working to use technology as a way to detect evidence of dementia. We also go through four sales tips to get past the gatekeeper when building partnerships with providers in your area to generate leads.

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: So this is pretty cool! Apple and Eli Lilly (which is a huge pharmaceutical company) are partnering up to do research on whether health features on the iPhone and Apple Watch can detect evidence of dementia and cognitive decline. 

Sarah: Oh that is super cool! Have they found anything of use so far?

Jessica: So yeah, they found that when compared to healthier counterparts,  people with symptoms of cognitive decline showed slower typing, less regularity in their schedules, fewer text messages and they also relied more on helper apps.  

Sarah: That’s interesting… how exactly did they come to these conclusions? 

Jessica: Well they had a 12-week study that included 31 people with various stages of cognitive impairment and an 82-person health control group. Researchers were able to collect 1.5 gigabytes of data per participant per day and that included data on motor function and sleep rhythms. 

Sarah: So did they just have people use their phones like normal and kinda monitor it?

Jessica: I don’t think that’s far off! They collected their data from a bunch of different platforms. They used iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, and Beddit sleep monitoring devices for the study. I believe they are planning on conducting more research, but this was just an early-stage study. 

Sarah: Nice! Yeah I think that this is great! I mean dementia affects about 47 million people across the world, so anything that helps us detect early stages of mental decline is amazing!

Jessica: Oh definitely! And the initial results of this study are pretty promising. The only thing is that the researchers are stressed that they’re only a “starting point” for further studies on using consumer gadgets to predict these type of diseases. 

Sarah: Yeah, things like this are going to take some time, which can be frustrating but at least we are moving toward improvement. 

Jessica: Right and as the site of care moves more toward the home with things like telehealth, it’s going to be so important to have devices that can help notice these signs so people can be notified and seek the treatment they need. 

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: If you listened to episode 7: Building Your Business, you learned how to partner with providers like dental officers, PCP’s, and pharmacies. If you haven’t, we recommend listening to that episode as well because we give you a guide on how to partner with providers to self lead-gen! One thing we didn’t go over during that episode was how to get a meeting with the decision maker in the office. You’ll likely come across a receptionist or an office manager (we will call these people the gatekeeper) before you ever get in front of the dentist, provider or pharmacist so it’s important to have a game plan for how to capture the gatekeepers attention and push them to allow you to talk to the decision maker.

Jessica: Getting past the gatekeeper is one of the most crucial parts of your grassroots marketing efforts. A gatekeeper is any person you encounter who controls access to your prospect. In order to reach your prospect, it is important for you to have a plan for how to get through this person. 

Sarah: Understand that gatekeepers are typically told by their superiors to keep sales people out. If they let sales people in, they sometimes can look bad. So even if you have a great pitch planned, they will do whatever they can to keep you out even before they have heard any details about what you are offering. They will be the toughest opposition in your marketing efforts process. 

Jessica: The first step in getting past gatekeepers is to understand who they are and what their objective is. The most likely types of gatekeeper you will encounter during your initial office visits are office receptionists or other office support staff. The office support staff spend much of their time answering heavy phone traffic and assisting with other office activities. They can be incredibly busy so you must be mindful of their time. Because they are busy, they will typically spend no more than 30 seconds listening to your opening pitch to determine whether they want to let you through to the provider or not. Your introduction is incredibly important. This is why first impressions are so crucial.

Sarah: Let’s go over some sales tips for getting past gatekeepers.

  • Sales Tip #1: Build rapport. You want to be friendly and build rapport with the gatekeeper. You want to make them feel comfortable and give off positive vibes. A gatekeeper is more likely to pass you through if they like you and enjoy speaking with you. 
  • Sales Tip #2: Be real with them. Another tactic you can use is to let them know you understand their objective. You know they are instructed to keep you out but if they give you just a few minutes to show why this provider would really want to meet with you, it’s going to be worth their while.

Jessica:

  • Sales Tip #3: Treat the gatekeeper like your prospect. Gatekeepers generally have basic knowledge regarding the company they work for and some may have more knowledge than you might think. Use that to your advantage. Start by giving them your elevator pitch and ask them a few probing questions to see if they give you any pre-qualifying information, specifically you’re looking for the name of the individual you REALLY want to talk to AKA the decision maker. Many of them will answer your questions if they have the answers. Sometimes it can be good to ask a question that you know they will not have the answer to because they will be more likely to pass you along to the person you really want to speak with. 

Sarah: 

  • Sales Tip #4: Use short responses and the assumptive technique. If you’re calling in to try and set up an appointment before going into the office, try and act like a customer as long as possible. Again, receptionists are basically told to do whatever you can to keep sales people out. When they ask what you’re calling about say you’re a local business owner looking to potentially partner to help each other out. Make this informal and do your best to get the name of your actual prospect (the decision maker). Once you know the name of the decision maker, ask if they are in the office. If the gatekeeper responds with yes but he’s not available right now you could say something like “Oh I’ll hold thanks!” This may catch them off guard and push  them to at least go check to see if the decision maker would get on the phone to set up a meeting. In this case you’re using the assumptive sales technique. You’re assuming that they’re going to do what you want them to do before they actually do it. Even if they go and look for the person come back to tell you no, you can still ask what time you should call back in ord er to get in touch with the decision maker. Now when you call back you can say “Hey just calling back for so and so” which makes it sound like you just got off the phone with them. More likely than not, you can get through. At that point you can ask the gatekeeper how if you can set up an appointment for a future date or speak with the provider on the spot. 

Sarah: It is inevitable that you will run into objections from the gatekeeper. Don’t take it personally if they try to shut you down. Be vigilant and try your best to convince them to let you through to your prospect. Here are some helpful sales tips on how to deal with objections from gatekeepers:

Jessica: Sales Tips on how to Overcome Objections from Gatekeepers:

  • We are not interested. This is the most likely objection you will encounter. Many times a gatekeeper will use this line even before they have heard your elevator pitch. 
    • Try to explain your value proposition briefly and say you think if they allow you to give them a little more information, they would be . Then ask a few probing questions to see if they give you any pre-qualifying information. 
  • Give me your information and I’ll pass it along
    • Do your best to set up a meeting right then and there. Just like any other sale, you are more likely to seal the deal right then and there. But if they still push back, here’s some things you can do: 
    • Leave your business card. They likely won’t pass it along and even if they do, you may never receive a response. This is why it is important to also have detailed leave-behinds and marketing materials that will catch their eye and peak their curiosity. Then set up a time to follow-up with them regarding the information you leave behind. 
    • Let the gatekeeper know you have a ton of info to give to them and you want to make sure you only give them the information that would best suit their needs. And then ask a few pre-qualifying questions to gain some insight into the practice for when you follow-up. 

Sarah: On Episode 4 of the podcast we discussed how to overcome objections in the field and many of those can also be applied here, so make sure to listen to that episode for more tips on overcoming objections!

Jessica: Getting past gatekeepers is one of the most crucial parts of your marketing efforts and can be the deciding factor in whether you gain a partnership or not. You must practice these tactics because if you can’t get past the gatekeeper, you’ve lost an opportunity. Using a few of the tricks   we’ve mentioned earlier should help you get through to your prospect. Good luck!

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: Alright I am here with our very own Taylor MacLeod. She’s going to talk to us a little bit about some things she’s gone through and how she’s had to roll with the punches throughout her life and take some things that were negative and turn them into something positive and motivational. So Taylor do you want to go ahead and tell us a bit about that?

Taylor: Hi, yeah thanks so much for having me on the podcast. I am really excited!

Jessica: We are excited to have you!

Taylor: So I was lucky enough to get a job right out of college, not everyone is, so I was very blessed in that area. But after being there for a little over two years, I was let go because the company was moving in a different direction. And it was kind of a blessing in disguise because at the time I was doing so many things in marketing and it just really helped me figure out what I really wanted to do as far as my career in marketing and where I saw myself going. So I sat down and i researched a bunch of different marketing jobs and i compared them to what i liked doing at my previous job. And then I sat down and made a resume. It really helped me become goal oriented and career driven prior to the job and experience that I had. I’m very thankful for that job. It helped me grow as a person and as an adult. 

Jessica: Also i believe you had mentioned that this was not the first time this had happened. This happened multiple times right?

Taylor: It did. So after I left that job, I was hired about a month later at a different company doing sales. I realized very quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted to do . I liked the company and the people I worked with and I believed in the product we were selling, I just realized that I was more of a behind the scenes person in marketing. So I left that job and got another job where I was in the marketing department doing direct mail and social media. I realized that I really loved that and I wanted to stick with itt. And about a week after Thanksgiving they came to me and told me it was my last week. So I updated my resume very quickly, put it out there, and realized that while this had happened to me again, it wasn’t the end of the world because there’s always more opportunity out there to grow. It’s kind of like baseball because when you’re pitched an outside pitch, you want to extend and go get it. And so what I did was flex all the marketing muscles that i had to go out and get the best job possible and that’s what landed me here at SMA!

Jessica: Aw I like this story!

Taylor: It does have a happy ending.

Jessica: Yes and I think that is really great because it’s a common thing that everyone deals with. Agents go through a lot to – like not getting the sale you want. I actually saw something recently that made me think of this. I heard somebody talking about how you can look like negativity like a seed or a plant. You can decide to water that plant or you can decide to go off and water the other plants of positivity. So the idea is that there’s always going to be those negative things in life but YOU have control how much power you give it. And I think you did a really good job of not giving that power and coming out on the other side, happy and at SMA!

Taylor: Yeah definitely!

Jessica: Thank you so much for sharing that story with us!

Taylor: Thanks for having me!

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can be your home for success this AEP, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Sarah: Want more Medicare sales related content? Follow Senior Market Advisors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – links in the description. We post new episodes every other Friday so make sure to follow and like us to stay up to date with all the newest content! If you’re liking our podcast, share our posts with the hashtag SELLING SMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot! 

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Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 
Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!