you hear the term gatekeeper, what does the term imply to you?
Some people visualize David Spade’s famous Saturday Night Live character
that was tasked with controlling access to Dick Clark’s office.
In the skits, one notable person after another would come in to
visit Dick Clark. Spade was famous for his “and you are…?” line.
You’d be surprised how often sales professionals hear those words
used in a condescending manner. Just recently, one rep described
how one gatekeeper went through three of those “hanging questions”…
“And you are…?”
“And you’re with…?”
“And you’re calling about…?”
makes those questions frustrating is that the next sound one usually
hears is voice mail. The gatekeeper has successfully blocked you
from the decision maker. Ugh!
can be awfully helpful though. Some administrative assistants sometimes
know far more about their managers’ habits that the managers themselves.
To build and strengthen a relationship, remember the following tips:
- Treat them with Courtesy
and Respect – Let’s face it - they’re just doing their
job. If they weren’t good at shielding their boss from every
pen salesman this side of the Mississippi, they wouldn’t have
a job. Even when they’re rude and dismissive to you, treat them
nicely. Outside of their role as a gatekeeper, they may be the
nicest person in the world. If you don’t carefully watch the
way you treat them, they can make your sales job miserable and
block every single call.
- Get to Know Them –
As you sell to your client, you ought to seek to “sell” to the
gatekeeper. The product you’re selling is you.
- Pick Their Brains –
As stated earlier, gatekeepers know a great deal about their managers,
their habits and schedules. When you get on the right side of
a gatekeeper, they can make your sales job easier. Gatekeepers
know the best time of the day to catch their boss, their decision-making
process, what they like and what they don’t like. They work with
them intimately on a day-to-day basis.
- A Note or Gift Doesn’t
Hurt – Gatekeepers can get frustrated when they see
their boss or colleagues receiving little perks for doing their
job. Take the time to send them a thank you note or a little
gift… just as a way to say thanks. They’ll appreciate that you
remembered them and will return the favor in kind.
- Be Real –
Yes, you should be nice… but you should genuinely be nice. Don’t
put on an act and pretend to be that person’s best friend. Most
people can see right through airs and will be offended.
sales professionals can point to gatekeepers that they have known
for years and who have made their jobs easier. A few simple guidelines
can help you, as well.