We’ve all been there at some point or another. You’re making your way through yet another day of awesome sales-y stuff – taking names, kicking ass – and you find yourself face-to-face with the dreaded Gatekeeper.
There’s nothing much worse than these guys. They’re like the final boss on every level of an RPG game. They get between you and the decision-maker with their feet planted firmly on the ground, and it feels like your banging your head against a brick wall every time you try to get past.
Are there any fancy one-liners or clever strategies you can use to slip past them?
In short, no. You’re not going to slip past them by being a sly old fox.
The good news? You can make a few simple changes to your perspective (and your approach).
“You shall not pass,” will be a thing of the past.
Let’s get one thing straight: this isn’t rocket science.
You have two choices. You can either engage with the Gatekeeper or you can opt for complete avoidance. Neither option is the “wrong approach”. Both of these strategies can work for you, you just need to stick it out.
How to Avoid Gatekeepers
If avoidance is your chosen path, there are three main ways to go about it. Sometimes, you just don’t have the time or patience to engage with someone who’s trying to dissuade you from your end goal. That’s totally reasonable. It’s up to you to decide how your time is best spent.
Use Those Referrals
The best thing about being introduced to decision-makers via an existing business acquaintance is that it’ll be a direct introduction. It’s even better if you’re introduced by a current client of yours – it’s word of mouth at its best!
Direct introductions like these help you skip the Gatekeepr completely. Just make sure that whoever does the referring sends an email copying everyone in as a personal introduction. This is infinitely more effective than handing you the email address and getting you to send a cold email. Frankly, cold outreach is what fuels the Gatekeeper’s fire 😉
Social Media is Your Friend
Social media is about way more than posting a few pictures of your lunch. Welcome to the Digital Age, folks. Everyone is networking actively on social media. If you’re not one of them, you’re the weirdo.
Use LinkedIn to find prospective decision makers and reach out to them. It helps if you have a few connections in common. It’s also helpful if you’re based in the same area or if you’ve spotted some of their posts doing the rounds. Look for anything that will help you with your outreach and go for it!
Just remember that sending a random message isn’t going to help you forge that connection. Don’t even bother trying to sell to them right out of the gate. Rather ask them a pertinent question or give feedback on an article they might have posted recently. If it looks like you’re pushing an agenda, you’ve lost before even getting started.
Contact Them Outside of Office Hours
This may sound unnecessarily sneaky but you’d be surprised at what you can achieve when the Gatekeeper isn’t looking. If you’re feeling particularly brazen, try calling the decision maker either before or after official working hours. Execs often can’t resist working late, so you might catch them answering their phones when they have their office to themselves.
Getting the Gatekeeper on Your Side
If you’ve made up your mind about engaging with the Gatekeeper, more power to you. Avoidance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so you should do what you feel comfortable with and own it!
Shift your perspective a little and you’ll realise that your goals aren’t so different from the Gatekeeper’s own. They need to keep the wrong sorts of people away from the boss. So do you. They want to introduce the boss to the right kinds of people. So do you.
You’ll only want to speak to the decision-maker if there is an actual need for your solution. You don’t want to waste your time coaching someone towards a sale if there’s no way in hell they’d be interested.
The best way to qualify this particular type of prospect is to engage the Gatekeeper. Open up a discussion about whether or not it’ll be a good fit for you to meet the boss. All in all, people love to be involved in important decisions and a Gatekeeper is no different.
What are your tips for getting past the decision-maker’s Gatekeeper? We’d love to hear more about your approach.