Selling insurance—or any other product or service—comes with its own challenges when the prospect is a small or medium-sized business. Unlike the comfy waiting rooms and receptionists found in large corporations, most small businesses are not set up to accommodate a stream of eager sales professionals, in person or on the phone, and they usually lack a professional receptionist.
At a small business, the person you want to connect with is focused on running the business. And the other employees, who often double as gatekeepers, are focused on their own work.
Result: small and medium-sized business owners are really hard to connect with at first. In this situation, one key to sales success involves reassessing your relationship with the gatekeeper.
A gatekeeper can become your unintentional ally, providing information you can use to serve the prospect better. Consider these tips for establishing and nurturing relationships with small-business gatekeepers:
- Ask if they can help you. Don’t assume. If they’re not the person you should be talking to, they’ll be more likely to point you in the right direction, which saves you both some time.
- Say why you’re reaching out to the business. Follow up with a question the decision maker can answer. How’s that promotion performing?
- Build a relationship, making sure you get the gatekeeper’s name right. As you demonstrate a genuine interest, you’ll slowly convert the gatekeeper into an ally.
- Ask about their busiest time of the day. Follow up by asking what’s the best time to reach the decision maker. Use the opportunity to convey why it’s so important for you to connect with your target.
- Ask about their busy season. Leverage this information to ask about the company’s sales cycle or its seasonal marketing efforts. You’ll get useful data that will come in handy when you do connect with the decision maker.
- Ask about their marketing and/or their social media. This can yield useful data, too.
Stick with these techniques, consistently and with sincerity, and you’ll have an easier time meeting with the decision maker—and when you do, you’ll be armed with a wealth of information you can use to close your sale.