Oh the Gatekeeper!
That ever so talented human who knows all of your tricks and is not afraid to tell you no over and over again.
I think of an armed guard or one of those dogs they keep in junk yards that will literally eat you if you get inside the fence – as the gatekeeper.
Just in case you are unaware of what I am talking about here is Websters definition:
-a person or thing that controls access to something.
With sales it is very important to make sure you give your presentation to the decision maker and many very good salespeople overlook the real decision maker and that is the Gatekeeper.
Have you seen the saying….”If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”! Well momma is the decision maker! Should that family happen to be shopping for a car and the salesman chooses to pitch to the man of the house, he got it all wrong….
In business the Gatekeeper is usually the receptionist, sometimes the office manager and sometimes even a spouse. There are several scenarios that happen when calling to get an appointment with the decision maker, I thought I would outline them and then share my tactics for the tough ones.
When you ask the Gatekeeper for an appointment with Mr./Mrs. Smith sometimes they pull up the calendar and schedule it (easy one).
Sometimes they ask what it is regarding and you have to prove you are worthy of calendar time. That means you just have to sell the Gatekeeper and that can go from easy to hard.
If the decision maker has agreed or semi agreed to visit with you it’s easy. If they haven’t then you must prove you’re worthy of calendar time.
Words to say:
“How might I get 20 minutes of Mr./Mrs. Smiths time? I know he/she is very busy. How do YOU suggest I make this ask? I think it would be time well spent.”
If I cannot get the Gatekeeper to soften up to me on the phone, I must then bring in my other tactics…Facebook. I find the Gatekeeper and peruse his/her Facebook. I discover if they like sports, chocolate, have grandchildren, enjoy music…etc. And, then armed with my trinket I arrive on the steps and visit with the Gatekeeper and share how I would just like 20 minutes of the decision makers time.
I have been known to deliver flowers and send lunch.
Most times I get in. And, if I haven’t gotten in then it is just that I haven’t gotten in…yet.