If Donald Trump was an inside sales rep making cold calls to higher level executives he wouldn’t have the least bit of problem getting past a gatekeeper and reaching the decision maker. Here’s why:
Putting his famous name aside, “The Donald” would be successful because of the manner in which he would approach a gatekeeper. If you’ve ever seen Trump on “Celebrity Apprentice” or on news clips, you’ve probably noticed he has a distinct air about him (to say the least). Not only is he absolutely confident, he radiates a sense of assertiveness. So, even if Trump called a business and did not use his name, you can bet that both his tone and his words would have a distinct ‘edge’- maybe even tension- to them.
Remember this: on the telephone tone accounts for over 80% of the message and at a subconscious level, the poor receptionist or personal assistant would immediately sense that this man is not someone to quibble with; best to leave it to the boss.
The Trump Persona
You don’t have to be Donald Trump to get past the gatekeeper. You only need to create a Trump persona. Act like the Donald would act. Behave like a billionaire would behave. Act like CEO would act. For instance,
Gatekeeper: Good morning. ABC Corp. Can I help you?
Tele-Rep: Rob Smith for Jim Jones. Put me through please.
Imagine the words being delivered in a quick, terse, and assertive manner. No mistaking this for a Mr.-Nice-Guy. Notice the brevity. Notice the directive nature: ‘put me through.’ Trump tells, he doesn’t ask. The ‘please’ is perfunctory and has no real sincerity. The rep sounds like he’s busy, in a hurry and doesn’t want to debate the issue. The suggestion in the tone is ‘don’t try your screening tactics on me.’ He sounds like a peer, a colleague, or an equal to Jones and the gatekeeper is more likely to put the call through without any further delay.
But suppose the gatekeeper mustards up another screen, here is your Trump-like reply,
Gatekeeper: Where are you calling from?
Tele-Rep: Nordstar. Please connect me.
The reply is absolutely minimal. No elaboration. That’s what a busy executive like Trump would say. Very clipped, too. Notice, again, the directive tone (connect me please). Let’s face it; it’s a thinly disguised order. The ‘please’ is a throwaway. And, of course, the tone has a brash and brittle quality to it.
Theater of the Mind
Some might suggest that this technique is ‘mean’ and aggressive. It is not. But it is assertive. The words are polite. There is nothing insulting or demeaning or abusive about them. It is only the tone that suggests the caller is busy, in a hurry … and perhaps not tolerant. It plays to the theater of the mind. The gatekeeper gets a sense that this is not the person or the time to draw a line; better to take the safe route and not risk the caller’s annoyance.
But, let’s suppose the gatekeeper takes one more shot at screening the call.
Gatekeeper: What’s this regarding?
Tele-rep: Revenue generation and cash flow. Would you put me through now?
Here again, the information provided by the rep is absolutely minimal but not withheld. He does not confess that he’s calling to set up an appointment. The directive nature of the call is still evident but notice there is no ‘please’ attached to the phrase. This slight shift in approach may alert the gatekeeper that maybe now is the time to pass the call through. The tone says it all. You don’t have to be rude; you simply need to maintain that steely manner.
Martha Stewart Works Too
If you’re a female, your persona might be Martha Stewart. For the life of me, I can’t imagine Martha dancing about with a gatekeeper. Her manner would be exactly like Trump’s.
How to Make Trump Work for You
The fact of the matter is this: reaching decision makers is becoming more and more difficult as more and more companies turn to tele-prospecting to drum of leads, appointments and business. You need an edge in today’s high level cold calling. Differentiate yourself and give this technique a shot.
Once mastered, The Donald is extremely effective if only because it is not widely used. To make it work for you, practice it. Rehearse it. Often. Master the nuances. Like an actor you need to prepare for your role on stage. This is precisely what this is: an act and a role. Know your lines and deliver them well and you’ll get through more often.