Start employing these 5 strategies to get past the gatekeeper in sales and close your deals.

If someone put a pencil in your hand and asked you to draw a gatekeeper, would you draw a mean, hulking figure adamantly standing guard in front of a closed gate? For most sales agents, the gatekeeper in sales is one such boogeyman, never mind the fact that they’re typically assistants or managers trying to do their job. 

Gatekeepers are meant to help decision-makers keep their focus on the big picture by screening the calls they don’t think are worth the time. This is all well and good for the decision-maker, of course, but when you’re the salesperson on the other end of the line, it can be frustrating to get shut down so far from your goal. By employing these five strategies, you’ll have an easier time getting past the gatekeeper and closing a deal. 

gatekeeper in sales

5 Ways to move past the gatekeeper is sales and reach your goals

1. Be polite, respectful, and confident

The simplest strategy, yet frequently overlooked, is using your manners. Even if you’re stressed and frustrated about not speaking directly to the person you want to, it’s not fair to take it out on the gatekeeper. Similar to you, they’re just doing their job.

It’s critical that the conversation you have with the gatekeeper is a pleasant one — use your pleases and thank-yous, and don’t allow any negative feelings to come through by being rude or snippy. Tonality is important in building rapport because anyone will appreciate being treated with respect. A gatekeeper will be more receptive to someone polite than someone unpleasant. 

Confidence is also another critical factor, as a salesperson that comes across as awkward, fumbling, or unsure will cast doubt on the quality of their products and services.

2. Study, study, study

Learning about the person or company you want to connect with is a powerful tool in starting conversations and building meaningful relationships. Before you pick up the phone, learn as much as you can about both the decision-maker and the gatekeeper. Check out the company website and social platforms like LinkedIn to better understand their challenges and values, and find a way to address them. Displaying knowledge about their specific situation will help convince the gatekeeper in sales that you’re not there to waste their time with a pitch; you’re there to provide a solution to their problems.

3. Make use of your connections

If you want to connect on a more personal level, name-dropping someone that the gatekeeper is likely to know is a good strategy. This could be someone in their sphere or market, someone who works for a bigger brand name, or even a publication related to their work. You can say something like, “I had the opportunity to work with [name] in your market, and it was a wonderful experience. They mentioned that they knew [decision-maker] and that I should connect with them. Could you please put me through and help make that happen?”

In addition, mention the decision-maker by their first name, not their last name or full name. When you lead by using only their first name, it displays confidence and familiarity, like you’re talking to a friend. Of course, if the gatekeeper asks for the last name (likely to clarify who you’re looking for), don’t hesitate to offer it.

The most important thing to keep in mind when using this strategy is that you should always be truthful. You don’t want to break the gatekeeper’s trust and ultimately turn them off from working with you. If you don’t have any prior connections, don’t make some up from thin air just to get past. 

4. Utilize active listening

Active listening is an important skill in your day-to-day life, and it’s especially crucial here. You don’t want to talk to someone that doesn’t listen, and neither does the gatekeeper. 

In phone sales, you need to demonstrate that you’re listening by asking relevant questions about what they’ve shared with you, repeating back important details, clarifying any unspoken concerns, and summarizing what they’ve shared at the end of the call. 

By employing the skill of active listening, not only will you take in more information and gauge how well your strategy is landing, but the gatekeeper in sales will also feel that you have a genuine desire to understand their challenges and work with them to find solutions.

5. Don’t think of the gatekeeper in sales as an obstacle 

The gatekeeper in sales is human, too. So don’t just view them as an obstacle to your monthly sales targets — take some time to ask them how their day is going and get to know them. They will usually open up to you and be more willing to help you reach the decision-maker if you make it a point to treat them like a person.

If you’re tired of having to get past the gatekeeper in sales at all, grow your book with HBW Leads. With our double-verified and 100% exclusive leads, you’ll spend less time cold calling and more time selling. Get in touch today!