The Secret Lives of Gatekeepers

I am the Keymaster … Are you the Gatekeeper?


Last week while I was training my new assistant and reviewing her responsibilities, she asked me how she should handle calls from salespeople. The look on her face told the story. Dealing with salespeople was a task she didn't consider pleasant.

It made me think about the ongoing tug-of-war between sales professionals, who are trying to get in the door, and the gatekeepers assigned the duty of keeping them at bay.

The reason I have a gatekeeper is there are so many people vying for my time, if I didn't have one I would never get my job done. Her most important job is to protect my time. Unfortunately, that puts her in the unenviable position of saying no to salespeople.

Salespeople hate gatekeepers. Sometimes to the point that they become so frustrated with gatekeepers that they experiment with tricks that, too often, make them look foolish. These schemes, regrettably, negative impact both parties, which is why so many gatekeepers, like my assistant, would rather have their teeth pulled than deal with a salesperson.

The reality, though, is you are going to have to deal with gatekeepers often. There is just no way to avoid it. So is there a secret? I know you are hoping I'll say yes, but the answer is no. There are no secret techniques that will get you past gatekeepers. There are, however, strategies that will give you an edge when dealing with gatekeepers.

To leverage these strategies, ...

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