Getting Past Gatekeepers – 3 Tips for Salespeople

Getting Past Gatekeepers

Okay, I’ll admit it upfront – the title of this article is slightly misleading. The reason I’m writing is that I can relate to the dread being blocked from speaking to prospects by gatekeepers. I want to offer some help as someone who specialised in appointment setting for 3 years. The title is misleading because our true objective is not actually to “get past” gatekeepers, but to earn the right to speak to our intended audience. Below are three tips for getting past gatekeepers. As a result, you can use it to immediately boost your chances of reaching decision makers!

Getting Past Gatekeepers tip #1: Change your mindset

If you don’t truly believe in the potential value your product can bring your prospect, it will set a negative tone for your sales calls. People can easily sense nervousness, and nervousness sets off alarms for the gatekeeper to hang up… But before I go on, let’s not call them “gatekeepers” shall we? The sound of the word alone makes me cringe, and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t like to be called this name either. They are people doing their job, just like you and I. From this point onward I’ll refer to these individuals as “Assistants.”

We also need to stop thinking about “getting past” Assistants. Rather, start thinking about how we can add value to them as potential allies. Assistants have insider knowledge about the culture, needs, and decision making process which can fast-track our sales process. Make it a goal to “make their day” rather than “get past” them. Focus on the value that you want to introduce to the company, and how you can make the Assistant the champion for introducing you.

Getting Past Gatekeepers tip #2: Prepare thoroughly

Assistants aren’t hired to block every sales call, only irrelevant ones. Make sure you don’t look like a dunce by coming in and asking questions that can be answered from looking at the company website. Know who you are looking for specifically (using tools such as LinkedIn) and ask for that person directly. Have a clear idea on your value proposition, and you will sound like a true professional.

Getting Past Gatekeepers tip #3: Speak succinctly, with novelty, and respectfully

Speaking succinctly means cutting out fluff words like “cutting edge,” “latest technology,” and “dynamic.” Get to the point. Talk objectively about your product and the benefits it may bring to the company. Speak in an authoritative tone, which is purposeful, focused, and not rushed.

Speaking with novelty means not sounding like other pushy telemarketers. This can mean small changes such as changing “How are you today?” to “How are you feeling today?” The effect this has on the receiver to know instantly that you are different, and instead of putting you in the “irrelevant basket,” to really listen and evaluate your offer.

Speaking respectfully means not writing the Assistant off when they ask for more information. Remember, they know much more than you do about their company and its decision makers, so it will pay to treat them accordingly. If they ask for more details about your product, resist the temptation to brush them off. Assume that they will know what you are talking about, and give them a high-level overview of the value you are proposing.


In order to be effective at making new appointments, we need to change the way we think about Assistants, be thoroughly prepared, and speak professionally. They are great potential allies, and should be treated with the utmost of respect. This is the way of the integrity salesperson!

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