Lead Generation: Five Effective Methods to Successfully Engage Executive Gatekeepers

By Jim McAvoy Founder & President, JWMcAvoy & Company Ltd. | November 21, 2010

The gatekeeper. Yes, the mis-perceived dreaded gatekeeper (i.e. the executive assistant). Not like the receptionist at the front desk of a luxury hotel, waiting to check you in and cater to your every need. No, the wall between you and an executive with whom you’d like to do business.

Stop! First of all, realize that you are dealing with an intelligent individual, who is intuitive and knows how to traverse the waters of shark-ridden corporate life. Is this gatekeeper friend or foe? That depends on your approach.
For many of us working within the sales process, just the word gatekeeper conjures up emotions of anxiety, frustration, and disappointment. Many will attest that trying to curry favor with the executive’s assistant is daunting at best.

Yet, it just doesn’t have to be that way. It is simply another myth that can be dispelled with real-life situations (played out in the right way), resulting in a higher conversion of cold approaches to warm approaches.
Below, I’ve listed five methods that, if appropriately utilized, should increase the likelihood that you will successfully engage the executive gatekeeper in a mutually positive and productive dialogue.

The net result, if done correctly, will be the successful delivery of your firm’s introductory offering to your targeted buyer’s e-mail and/or desk via hard copy. As a result, this will increase your probability of establishing new dialogues resulting in additional pipeline situations and, in turn, adding necessary incremental revenue to help you make your numbers for the next month/quarter and or year.

Method #1: Approach with Empathy

A useful prompt, when initiating a dialogue with someone, is the old adage about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Executive assistants have a number of tasks and minimizing distractions for their executive is of paramount importance. Scores of sales people are bombarding them all day long, trying to tug on the cape to gain access. On top of that, their task of keeping an up-to-date calendar with priority internal/external meetings is enough to exhaust anyone.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.