The reality when calling business owners, corporate executives, working professionals is you are probably going to encounter gatekeepers often. There is no way around it. The gatekeeper plays a very important role and one of your objectives is to build rapport with them. This is a long-term play and you want to form a friendly relationship with the gatekeeper. Here are some tips for working with gatekeepers.

  1. Be on a first name basis with the gatekeeper. Learn their name, write it down, use it in conversation, log it in your notes for the decision maker.
  2. Be respectful, polite, and friendly. Use the words please and thank you. Never underestimate the influence that the gatekeeper has.
  3. Be honest with the gatekeeper. Don’t be evasive or deceptive. You will sound more professional and worthy of being passed through to the decision maker.
  4. Leverage the gatekeeper’s knowledge. Ask them for their help, advice or information. For example,
    • Ask if they handle the decision maker’s schedule
    • Ask for the decision maker’s email address, cell phone number, extension or direct line.
    • Ask if there is a better time to reach the decision maker or if you should leave a voicemail for them.
    • Ask if there is another decision maker you should be speaking with.
  5. Change the game. Sometimes the best strategy is to bypass the gatekeeper. This can be accomplished in a few ways.
    • Try to meet the decision maker at an event.
    • Send the decision maker an email
    • Send a handwritten note. This will get through for sure as there are fewer and fewer sales people doing this.
    • Call early or late when the gatekeeper is potentially not there.
    • Leverage social media to connect with the decision maker. One way to do this is by sending a LinkedIn InMail.

The gatekeeper is not your enemy. Their job is to screen out people that they think will waste the boss’s time. The best way to approach the gatekeeper is simply to get the gatekeeper on your side. Seeing them as an immovable or impenetrable barrier will not help. Develop a friendly relationship with them using these tips. Most importantly treat them like you want to be treated. What to do? Select one of these five tips. Try it out on your next call.