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Asking For Help Just Might Be Helpful

If you asked ten strangers what time it is or for directions – how many do you think would help you? If you guessed less than nine, you need to try the experiment.

In fact, many people who don’t know the time or the directions, will instinctively go out of their way to invoke help from another stranger on your behalf.  People naturally want to help.

In last week’s post we talked about how getting past the gatekeeper is among the most common challenges membership salespeople face.   Salesy tactics and con games are a major no-no.

Gatekeepers have heard it all before.  These tactics raise red flags and trigger any good gatekeeper’s defense mechanism.

A better approach: try asking for their help.

An appeal for assistance can shift the gatekeeper’s mindset. Instead of putting up their guard, they may instead, submit to that strong human desire to be helpful.

Here’s what a help request might sound like:

You:  Hello, this is…  from Your Chamber of Commerce.  I hate to be a bother, but I was wondering if you could help me?

Gatekeeper:  It’s no bother at all.  It’ my job to help.

You:  Thank you.  As I mentioned, I’m with Your Chamber of Commerce and we’re reaching out to key business leaders to get their input on how the chamber should address (critical issue). I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this but it is negatively impacting companies in your industry.

I don’t suppose you could help me arrange a time to get (decisionmaker’s) feedback on how (critical issue) is impacting (company name)?


You: Could you help identify the best way to get on (decisionmaker’s) calendar so that he can weigh in on (critical issue)?

This approach has two key elements.  First, you ask for help and people generally want to help. Second, even though you might not get through to the gatekeeper at the time of your call, most gatekeepers won’t merely turn you away.  They will be inclined to check with the prospective investor and let him/her decide if they want to arrange a time for you to call.

Getting through a gatekeeper to connect with a hard-to-reach executive isn’t always easy. But, by tapping into the natural human instinct to be helpful, you may be able to turn an obstacle into an opportunity.

As always, we encourage you to practice these techniques, make them your own, and let us know how it goes.

Remember, we're easy to talk to.  Feel free to reach out with questions about these techniques or other issues.

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