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Getting Past the Gatekeeper

The gatekeeper’s eyes narrow and she licks her chops at the thought of tossing me out of her building twice in one week.

But this time I’m prepared, so instead she scurries off to get me coffee, then escorts me directly to the decision makers office.

Why the change of heart?

I’ll tell you what I said to her in a minute.

But first a word of caution.

Salespeople expect to be blocked by gatekeepers.

They search for scripts, tips and techniques to gain the trust of the gatekeeper.

They grovel, beg, and whine to be granted an audience with the decision maker.

It’s degrading, frustrating, and a colossal waste of time.

Because as a Trusted Advisor, the gatekeeper gets you a cup of coffee as she takes you straight to the decision maker’s office.

The gatekeeper only has the power you give her.

The gatekeeper only has control when you don’t know the decision maker.

And with a strong referral network, you’re never more than a phone call away from a warm introduction to any decision maker.

It’s a completely different way of thinking.

Business networking is about getting to know people.

It’s about developing trust.

But it’s a waste of time to do that with a gatekeeper.

Because the gatekeeper only knows one person.

And she probably doesn’t even have the power to get you in front of them anyway.

My office manager doesn’t set up appointments for me.

You can get to know her all day long.

But that doesn’t get you any closer to me because her job is to protect my time.

The same was true with that gatekeeper I was talking about earlier.

And that story is especially delicious because she was rude to me.

Most aren’t.

In their defense most gatekeepers are very pleasant as they block your path.

This particular one was outright rude and nasty.

So I was delighted when, at a networking event the next night, I get introduced to guy who owns the building.

And he wants to talk to me.

So I set up an appointment.

And when I arrive at the building, for the second time that week, and tell the gatekeeper that John is expecting me… she thinks it’s a trick.

So I encourage her to call him and tell him that Andy is here for his 10 o’clock.

This was before everyone had iPhones, so I don’t have the chance to take the picture of her face when John enthusiastically says

“Great! Get him coffee and bring him straight to my office!”

Sweet revenge.

She never knew what hit her.

Don’t waste your time with the gatekeepers.

It’s not worth it.

Focus instead on developing trust and expanding your referral network.


If you are interested in 3 practical business networking tips you can use immediately to get around the gatekeeper, check out our “Flowers, Chocolates, and Champagne” webinar in the Trusted Advisor Community.

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