Four Major Mistakes when Dealing with Gatekeepers

Recently a sales team I was working with raised the question of how to deal with the Gatekeepers of the world. In previous training sessions they had been taught some of the old traditional techniques and tactics designed to overcome or by pass the gatekeepers.

The more we discussed the situation, the more I realized there are probably a number of b2b sales people making major mistakes in dealing with so called Gatekeepers. Gatekeepers are people who you need to nurture a relationship with if you want to be successful in your b2b sales efforts.

So, what are the four major mistakes made by old school b2b sales people? Here are they are, so simply avoid using these tactics if you want to win your b2b sales accounts. 

Four Major Mistakes Dealing with Gatekeepers

  1. Lying
    This one is so obvious, yet, everyday old school b2b sales people lie or fudge the truth in veiled attempts to get to a decision maker. Bad move on their part. Even if you were to get through to the decision maker, the truth will come out regarding your intentions or tactic. Then your credibility is below the lowest point – you have showed a total lack of integrity – giving the decision maker a reason to never visit with you again.
  2. Using manipulative tactics
    The major tactic is to intimidate the gatekeeper by being forceful and stating things like “Mr. Decision Maker is the only person who can deal with this issue, so put me through right now.” This again may get you through once, however, do not expect any help from the gatekeeper in the future as you have been added to the “blackball list.”
  3. Thinking they are Stupid
    A major mistake made by numerous sales people is to even think the gatekeeper is not as smart as you. Bad choice since in most cases the gatekeeper is one of the smartest and brightest people in the organization. That is why they are working with the Decision Maker. Arrogance is a problem for many sales people, yet, you lose when making a bad assumption about the quality of the gatekeepers intelligence and smarts.
  4. Avoiding their questions
    Being evasive in answering is a no-no if you want the gatekeeper to help you in the future. Being honest and answering their questions with direct answers is  the smart thing to do. They have a responsibility to their boss to learn who is calling, what company they represent and the real purpose of the call. These gatekeepers have well functioning “BS” meters and will know if something is fishy – which usually gets you the third degree and no connection to the decision maker.

Avoid these four mistakes at all costs. Yes, you could use them and possibly get connected to the decision maker once, however, you better be special because that will probably be the last chance you get to talk to the decision maker. The gatekeeper will keep you at arms length forever after.

These gatekeepers are actually very talented and have experienced all the tricks used by b2b sales people. It is a much better tactic to engage these gatekeepers as peers who are doing their jobs very well. Make these people become colleagues or peers who will guide you to make the best impact. My experience when working with these people is they can help you in so many ways – many times is ways you would never expect.

One last point for you b2b sales people. The so called gatekeepers in many cases actually assist in the final decision. Yes, they either assist the decision makers with their choices or THEY MAKE THE CHOICE FOR THE DECISION MAKER! This is huge and you should always be alert to this possibility.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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1 thought on “Four Major Mistakes when Dealing with Gatekeepers

  1. Thanks Voss
    Lying, lol! Hard to believe people calling themselves salesmen actually do that.
    I’m setting out to make contact with an industry leader, I will keep these tips in mind.

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