“Don’t treat a gatekeeper like a gatekeeper. Treat them like the decision maker that they are.”

I have been in sales for 35 years and worked in many different industries from selling advertising to plastic traffic calming bollards (not my most successful career choice!) I have done telesales and face to face selling and for me telesales is by far the most challenging because it is a more intrusive medium and it’s hard to speak to the right person because they are often protected by “gatekeepers”

The funny thing about “gatekeepers” is that a lot of them (namely executive and administrative assistants, as well as entry-level employees) actually know a hell of lot more about what’s going on in the day-to-day activities of their company, their department, or their team than their bosses do.

In fact, it’s the assistants and bottom-rung employees that are where the “rubber meets the road.” So if you want to find out what’s going on in a department or company, as well as find out what their biggest priority is this minute, the very best way to do that is not to try to get “past” the gatekeeper at all. Rather — you want to try and “sell” the gatekeeper the exact way you’re eventually going to approach their boss. Show you’ve done your research. Pique their interest with an irresistible outcome. Ask a question to get them talking.

And remember… they are a decision maker. They are deciding whether or not they are going to let you through to talk to the right decision maker. They are deciding whether or not to help you. Win them over, and you’re halfway in the door.