How to Win Over the Gatekeeper of the Sales Castle

Building Relationships

Building real relationships with others may take extra time, but it’s worth it.

One relationship in particular that is important when making a sales call or visit is that of the gatekeeper. A gatekeeper is anyone that holds the keys to the gate of the sales castle. These receptionists, these executive assistants, are the ones who decide to let you through to the decision maker.

Their job is important because they tell the decision maker which calls and appointments are worth their time.

How do you win these people over?

One very easy idea that you can start to do now is learn their name. That’s right, you just need to know their name.

Let’s say I was calling different insurance companies around town and I called ABC Insurance. As soon as someone said, “Hi, you’ve reached ABC Insurance,” and I said, “Hi, is this Tina?” And she says, “Yes,” think to yourself, what is the immediate thought running through Tina’s head? “Who is this? Do I know this person? Is this a client? Is this someone who works here? How do they know my name?”

Knowing their name is one of the most important things that you need to know because it actually builds rapport instantly. You may not know anything else but their name. Once you build that rapport, they will likely put their guard down.

Then, you can move on and just say, “Hey, Tina, I’m looking for Tom, is he in today?” All of a sudden, it goes from a screening mode to “I’m not sure, let me check.” Knowing their name and greeting them by name is incredibly important.

A question I get asked all the time is what if the person’s whose name you know, doesn’t answer? What if I think it’s Tina because that’s the only name I have, but they say, “No, this is Barbara, can I help you?” “Oh, I’m so sorry, I usually talk to Tina, is Tina there?” “No, Tina’s off today.” “Oh, okay, that’s fine, Barbara, it’s nice to meet you. I was actually looking for Tim, is he in?”

Then, in your notebook or in your Outlook or in your CRM, you need to write down Tina and Barbara. You need to know both names. This is crucial because the next time you call in, you may say, “Hi is this Tina?” And they reply, “No.” You can confidently say, “Oh, is it Barbara?” “Yes, it is.” “Hello, Barbara, it’s Amanda. Is Tim in?” Again, it’s so simple; I don’t know why we don’t do it more often.

The opinion of a gatekeeper is usually held in high regard with their decision maker. If the gatekeeper doesn’t care for you, they might be able to influence the decision makers.

The importance of using names builds rapport and it creates a relationship even when there isn’t one. Get to know them and start with their name. It will build trust and it will also allow you to create positive business relationships that you wouldn’t have had before.


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