Who’s In – Who’s Out?


(By Rick Fink) Winning Over the Gatekeeper. For the most part, it’s human nature to want to help other people. Keep in mind, I said, “for the most part!”

Within most businesses, whether assigned with the specific title or not, there is someone known as the “Gatekeeper”, and their job is to weed out, sort out, and keep out the unknown and the unwanted!

Psychologist and Human Behavioral Specialist Kurt Lewin defined a gatekeeper as, “a person who controls access to something, for example via a city gate or bouncer, or more abstractly, controls who is granted access to a category or status. Gatekeepers assess who is in or out.”

The first steps in the sales process are prospecting and cold calling. If you don’t get past the gatekeeper, your chances of making a sale are quickly dashed!

Cold calling and prospecting are two of the most important, difficult, and most feared tasks that a sales rep faces. Overcoming this fear and learning to deal with the gatekeepers of the world can be the difference between success and failure.

A quick Google or YouTube search will provide literally thousands of helpful and some not so helpful tips and videos on how to get past the gatekeeper. You’ll find everything from “be nice to them” (seems obvious) to “trick or bribe them” (really!!!). Others even say to “go around them”! (Be careful… if it fails you may have burned your bridge!)

Here is a simple, first-step approach that I have found to be very effective for getting to and through the gatekeeper. You simply say, “I’m hoping you can help me, please!” That’s it! Then pause and wait for them to reply with a “yes”, or “I’ll try”, or “I would be glad to”.

Instead of the traditional, “Hi, can you direct me to the person who handles the marketing?” or, “Hi, can I speak with Mrs./Mr. Smith?”, simply asking for someone’s help will prove to be more effective. The word “please” makes it that much more compelling.

This isn’t a hundred percent effective by any means. The best gatekeepers will make you jump through many more hoops. However, this simple and polite approach should soften even the most ferocious of gatekeepers.

Remember, the gatekeeper is oftentimes the person who decides “Who’s in and Who’s out”!

NEVER Stop Learning – Get Better Every Day!


Rick Fink from ENS Media (www.ensmediausa.com) can be reached by phone at 605-310-2062 or e-mail at [email protected]


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