What is a Gatekeeper?
Gatekeepers are the people within a company that stand between sales reps and decision makers. They’re typically executive assistants or office managers with whom you need to book a meeting to get time with a decision maker to make a sales pitch. Alternatively, they could be an individual contributor or team lead using your solution daily but not necessarily holding the budget.
A gatekeeper’s role is to protect the decision maker’s time. They are inundated with daily meeting requests and calls from numerous sales reps and are responsible for ensuring people aren’t wasting a decision maker’s time.
How to Get Past a Gatekeeper
Every sales rep will encounter gatekeepers and need to get past them to speak with a decision maker. An experienced sales rep will know what tactics to use, but this can be intimidating if you’re new to sales. Follow these tips to help build rapport with gatekeepers and use them to your advantage when conducting sales outreach.
Always Show Respect
Getting through a gatekeeper may be annoying, but always respecting them and their position is essential. They won’t respond well if you communicate with them in a bold, up-front, or frustrated tone. They’re simply doing their job. Be kind and courteous, and you’ll receive the same in return.
Humanize Your Interactions
Gatekeepers are people, too, who want to be treated as such. Take the time to make small talk when appropriate, and get to know them. They’ll be more receptive to your messages if you have a good relationship with them.
If you’re reaching out for the first time, incorporate a video to introduce yourself and quickly explain why you’re reaching out.
Do Your Research
If possible, research and find out who the gatekeeper is. Find out how long they’ve been at the company, where they worked previously, and any other information to give you an edge when talking to them. Show them you’ve researched and are serious about helping them and their company.
Being able to name-drop a mutual connection can also be beneficial. If you know someone else they work with, let them know. Lean on existing relationships to help create new ones.
Ask Them Questions
Gatekeepers aren’t just a person you need to get past–they are also a valuable resource. Sales reps tend to forget this and focus solely on securing time with decision makers. However, gatekeepers can provide helpful information you can use to help make a sale.
Ask them if their company uses a similar product to yours, what types of pain points they’ve been struggling with, or what other businesses they currently work with.
Tell the Truth
This may seem obvious, but don’t lie to gatekeepers. If you create an elaborate story, or even a tiny fib, to get past a gatekeeper, it will inevitably come back to haunt you. Being up front and honest is vital and will contribute to building a good working relationship. If you’re caught in a lie, all trust is broken, and you can say goodbye to working with that company ever again.
Make It Easy To Be Your Champion
Whether you’re working with the gatekeeper, champion, or a buying committee member, do their job to sell internally or open doors for you as quickly as possible. Video is a great way to do this because it’s on-demand and easily shareable. Another way is to collaborate in a virtual space so all stakeholders can access information in one sport, regardless of when they join the sales process. A digital sales room is the perfect space to achieve just that.