An asset to a decision maker, but quite often a thorn to a salesperson, trying to breach the gatekeeper is a dance, of sorts. "A gatekeeper in business is much the same as the image the term brings to mind—someone standing at an entry point to prevent unwanted traffic from coming through. It's the person responsible for keeping a decision-maker from being bothered by what she or he considers to be irrelevant and bothersome visitors and callers. Gatekeepers and salespeople are often at odds, with two quite different goals in mind," as described in a recent article. However, is this reluctance to direct connection potentially inhibiting major growth?
While a gatekeeper serves a vital role within a company, how often does that role over-filter truly incredible opportunities? The process of filtering and deciphering can be daunting and unending. It may not be a fair process, but it is an age-old dance that requires respect, not trickery.
"A company's gatekeeper is typically the receptionist or maybe a secretary in many businesses, but in a restaurant, it may be the maître d'. In some types of businesses, such as auto dealerships, there is likely a whole squad of gatekeepers—countless salespeople on the floor at any given time. In all cases, the decision-maker, manager, or head chef is busy with the challenge of keeping the business up and running as well as profitable. They can't take every call and can't see every visitor because it would take them away from their primary focus and job responsibility. Enter the gatekeeper who shields and protects the person in charge. The gatekeeper screens calls and visitors, typically deflecting ones they believe are unimportant. A good gatekeeper is intuitive and can detect an unimportant interruption in a heartbeat. It usually comes from someone who does not have a complaint, is not calling to purchase goods or services, but who wants something for themselves. For example, to make a sale. Don't try to get past him or her. Instead, let them do their job and arrange an appointment to see the decision-maker.”
When we trip over our toes, it’s important to pause and remember that the customer is who we’re trying to serve not ourselves and that process is different for everyone. Understand that not every need is known and not every solution is a good fit. It’s through care and a consultative approach we as service providers can assists prospects most efficiently. Respect is not only gained in that fashion but sustained through long term partnerships. This task may prove a bit time consuming, but if you know you have a product or service they need, the dance will be well worth the effort.