Getting past the Gatekeepers

by zesty1989. Posted on Sep 12, 2020    5    11


Hey gang,

I'm a new startup and I'm working at getting my first few customers. The biggest problem that I have is getting past the gatekeepers of each targeted business. I have a few people interested, and they have major sway in the industry that I've targeted, but they've asked I not use their name/company name as I try to get to other major decision makers in the industry that I've targeted, even after they told me that my approach makes it virtually impossible to get through to decision makers. I've tried calling the direct office number and that doesn't work. I've tried sending emails and those get ignored. I've tried to connect on linkedin to initiate conversations. Those are ignored as well. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Are there any tips from you guys? What has and hasn't worked for you? What did/do you do to get past gatekeepers and connect with key decision makers? I'm also happy to provide the messages that I've used to try to contact them.


Comments

VehicleImmediate 1

Too long. Asks for a significant time commitment. Provides no value for the responder.


Your best bet would be to get someone to introduce you to the person you are looking to connect to.

I have received responses using that method.

Analyst-Suspicious 1

There is a lot of work put in to keep out sleazy salesmen like yourself and prevent you from wasting their time. Do you like telemarketers? Mormons trying to preach to you? Door-to-door salesmen trying to pitch you their MLM?

You're not going to reach decision makers. Decision makers happen to be very busy people.

What you can do is try to connect with the common grunt (not use them, but genuinely connect) and try to benefit them somehow and get yourself known.

Oh and you just happen to be selling a product that just happens to solve all of their problems ;)

In the modern digital marketing age it's providing good quality content, providing information, providing training etc. for free.

If you insist on cold calling: work your way up. Impress the little guy and maybe the little guy will introduce you to the middle manager and perhaps eventually you'll reach someone with signing authority that makes the decisions.

JG98 1

Not sure what your industry is and this would be a big factor. What advice I can offer you having worked in a similar industry is to bring on an industry insider as a business partner or at the very least as a public advisor (meaning an advisor that allows you to use their name publicly although you shouldn't rely on the name solely and it should be limited as a means to make initial contact only). Some industries are just closed off and hard to break into as a new comer unless you have amazing traction going from the get go or a completely revolutionary product/service that really excites industry insiders.

  zesty1989 1

Industry: Home Services (electric, heating, plumbing, air)
Advisor: I had a high-level advisor who would let me use his name publicly, but then he signed an NDA with a high-powered possible competitor without realizing what he was doing. Now he's too scared to let me use his name. I'm trying to get another advisor, but the gatekeepers are blocking me out. Hence the post.

Here is an example of an email that I've been sending out:
"I hope you have (or had) a great labor day weekend, and that [Company Name] is doing well during CoVid.
I found your company browsing the Wrench Group website, and found your profile after connecting with Ken Haines. I know you're very busy, and I don't want to take a lot of your time. I'm an entrepreneur and author and I'm working on a new project, and I'd like to ask for some help. I am putting together a focus group to better understand the direction of the industry, the needs of companies in the industry with regards to a specific SaaS technology, and how they see CoVid impacting their business. I know that Mr. Haines won't bring people into Wrench group if they don't know their stuff. And I think that you would be a great addition to our group. I've already got two companies who've joined the focus group and we're only allowing 2-3 more companies to join the discussion. 
As I said, I know that you are very busy, but I think that you would be a HUGE asset to this focus group. Can I count on you to help me outline the future of the home services industry?"

JG98 1

I see the issue that you are facing. I also see an additional issue however. The email example you have posted is absolutely horrible and needs to be completely reworked. If you are reaching out to potential business partners you don't want to start off on the wrong foot with a super long email that takes 30 seconds of reading to get to the point. Look at emails for business partners the same as you would if you were reaching out to a VC. You should ideally be getting to the point by the end of your second sentence and adding enough additional information at the bottom for the person on the other end to do their own research, think it over, and then get back to you for any additional information. It may sound like BS but first impressions are in fact very quick and that goes the same for email interactions as it would for in person. I would recommend you do your research to fix the small issues like this during your free time and spend the bulk of ypur time towards actually making a great product/service based on customer feedback (whether they have bought said product/service or not).

Cultural_Beyond8851 2

What are you trying to sell and how many cold calls do you make on a daily average?

  zesty1989 1

I'm trying to sell a SaaS product to the home services industry (electric, heating, plumbin, air). I'm working full time so I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to cold-calling. I've been trying to focus on quality contacts instead of quantity, especially because I've got a very tight target market.

CandidToast 3

What does your email content generally look like? Maybe try to find a creative way to contact them. I recently saw someone on twitter mention how they tracked down someone on Venmo and sent them a dollar with an intro message. Not sure how that worked out for them, but it's definitely a creative approach.

  zesty1989 1

Thanks for the response!
Here is an example of the message I've been sending.

"I hope you have (or had) a great labor day weekend, and that [Company Name] is doing well during CoVid. I found your company browsing the Wrench Group website, and found your profile after connecting with Ken Haines. I know you're very busy, and I don't want to take a lot of your time. I'm an entrepreneur and author and I'm working on a new project, and I'd like to ask for some help. I am putting together a focus group to better understand the direction of the industry, the needs of companies in the industry with regards to a specific SaaS technology, and how they see CoVid impacting their business. I know that Mr. Haines won't bring people into Wrench group if they don't know their stuff. And I think that you would be a great addition to our group. I've already got two companies who've joined the focus group and we're only allowing 2-3 more companies to join the discussion. As I said, I know that you are very busy, but I think that you would be a HUGE asset to this focus group. Can I count on you to help me outline the future of the home services industry?"

I've tried to connect on Linkedin, I've tried going through my market contacts, but one doesn't swim in the right circles. The one who does signed an NDA with a high-powered possible competitor without realizing what he was doing. Now he's too scared to let me use his name. I'm trying to get another advisor, but the gatekeepers are blocking me out. Hence the post. I'm not trying to do too many cold-calls because I want to focus on a specific target demographic.

prsh_al 3

This copy is too long and full of cliche. I think 50% of all the cold messages I get have some COVID related non-sequitor. FYI I also get around 4 connect requests from sales people per day and I am still not a huge business.

  1. Get to the point
  2. Drive urgency
  3. Use a comms cadence system like Hubspot.
  4. Mix phone calls after an email cadence

    My adjustments

    Hi X,

    Ken Haines told me I should reach out to you as you would be perfect for a focus group I am running with other execs in the industry which will inform the next features in our SAAS platform [website here]

    The software we have built [how does it solve this man's problem] and I really want to add further features to support businesses like yours.

    Do you have 5 minutes to discuss?