Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Ahhh, the gatekeeper. They should offer a college degree for this field, maybe even a doctorate. Maybe I’d go back to school and become one. It’s not an official position, but most of your prospects have them, and they are good at what they do. It’s a science that these people have perfected. The gatekeeper can be your best friend, or your worst enemy! If you can make friends, you’ll have an instant advantage. If you feel yourself become a fast enemy, you are going to have your work cut out for you.
What do they do and who are they anyway? Oh, those gatekeepers, they are tricky souls. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Most anyone can be a gatekeeper. You can be friendly, a little rough around the edges, introverted or extroverted. Sometimes they are the receptionist at the front desk. Professionals at weeding out the people who advance to the next level to see the decision maker. Sometimes they are managers who present themselves as the decision maker, until it is time for the decision. That’s when they reveal their true identity and make it known that someone else has to sign off on the decision. But don’t worry, they’ll “be sure” to forward your information on and get back to you as soon as possible. Don’t hold your breathe.
Here is your mission should you choose to accept it. Ultimately, you need to get to the decision maker. However, there are rules to be applied to this mission. Rule #1: Do not rush down the gatekeeper and make a run for the CEO’s office. This is a No No. You might as well keep running right out the fire exit. Rule #2: Don’t just leave information for the decision maker with the gatekeeper and wait for a response. You’ll be old, gray and still waiting.
Let me tell you what you can do. Woo the gatekeeper. I don’t mean to completely kiss their derrière. I mean treat them with the same respect as you would the decision maker. Ask them questions. Use them to do your research on the company and the decision maker. Most importantly, listen. Not only can they provide you with useful information, but they will respect you much more if they know that you take the time to listen. Use the to find out what their needs are and how you might be able to help them. Use your skills in communications and human relations to earn the respect of the gatekeeper. Use your skills in business and your product knowledge to win them over.
If the gatekeeper respects you, trusts you and understands your product, they will deliver you to the decision maker. Should the gatekeeper allow you to advance to the decision maker, you may find the rest of the selling process to be a breeze and the sale will soon
Thanks to Sales Tips.com for their contribution.