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"Getting Through The Gates: Dealing With Gatekeepers In Sales "


In the world of sales, gatekeepers are the people who serve as the first line of defense in organizations, filtering out unwanted or irrelevant sales pitches and providing access to decision-makers only to those who are deemed worthy. Working effectively with gatekeepers can be critical to the success of a sales campaign. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to avoid a gatekeeper. However, for many who sell to the executive level leaders, a gatekeeper is unavoidable and someone you need to talk with first to maintain rapport.

So.... when you are faced with a gatekeeper, what can you do? The tips below will help and so will this podcast which provides some great insight into dealing with gatekeepers.

Build a rapport with the gatekeeper: One of the most important things a salesperson can do when working with a gatekeeper is to build a relationship with them. This can involve taking the time to learn their name, showing genuine interest in their work, and treating them with respect. When a gatekeeper feels that a salesperson is genuinely interested in what they have to say, they are more likely to be willing to help.

Clearly state your purpose: When approaching a gatekeeper, it is important to clearly state your purpose for wanting to speak with the decision-maker. This can involve explaining the product or service you are offering, the benefits it provides, and how it can help the organization. By clearly stating your purpose, you can show the gatekeeper that you are not wasting their time and that you have something valuable to offer.

Use social media to your advantage: In today's digital age, social media platforms like LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool for salespeople looking to connect with decision-makers. By using LinkedIn, you can identify the person you want to speak with and learn more about their background, interests, and areas of expertise. This information can then be used to build a stronger rapport with the gatekeeper and to tailor your sales pitch to the specific needs and interests of the decision-maker.

Be persistent but respectful: Persistence can be key when trying to get past a gatekeeper, but it is important to be respectful and courteous at all times. This means being patient and understanding if the gatekeeper is not able to provide access to the decision-maker right away. It also means avoiding aggressive or pushy behavior that can make the gatekeeper feel uncomfortable or put them off.

Offer value to the gatekeeper: Finally, one of the best ways to win over a gatekeeper is to offer them something of value. This can involve providing them with useful information or resources related to their work, offering to connect them with other professionals in their field, or simply taking the time to listen to their concerns and opinions. By demonstrating that you are genuinely interested in helping them, you can build a stronger relationship with the gatekeeper and increase your chances of gaining access to the decision-maker.

Working effectively with gatekeepers can be a critical factor in the success of a sales campaign. By building rapport, clearly stating your purpose, using social media to your advantage, being persistent but respectful, and offering value to the gatekeeper, you can increase your chances of getting to the person you really need to talk to. This podcast provides some great insight into dealing with gatekeepers.

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Kevin Hallenbeck

Kevin Hallenbeck

Kevin Hallenbeck is a Principal of Sandler, a national consulting firm specializing in business development strategies, sales and sales management training. Kevin holds both a B.S. and an M.S. in Engineering. He lives with his wife, Diane, and their five children in Bedford, New Hampshire. Kevin is active in church, community and professional organizations.