Who is the gatekeeper? The individual who perceives that it is her/his job is to control the flow of information or limit what information is shared. A person or “technology” that blocks or withholds information needed to complete a job.
Gatekeepers are just doing their job, trying to be efficient and protect those in their office from distractions. So, how does one get around the gatekeeper who is doing a great job?
Below are five suggestions to help you navigate around the gatekeeper. These ideas are not in any particular order, however, the first two are ALWAYS critical.
- Treat the gatekeeper as a person. Call them by name and treat them with respect. Don’t be awkward or demining. Actively engage with them. Don’t get too personal, don’t pry, but you can gently probe. When they sense you are a professional and respect their position, your ability to accomplish your job increases. Treat Gatekeepers Like Gold.
- BE HONEST because integrity counts. They are honest, and they leave nothing for the listener to disagree about in evaluating if they will send you along (to the person or a voicemail). Be direct but truthful about the purpose of your visit and why you hope to connect with them (remember, you are there to help THEM make money).
- Practice good communication skills; learn to listen more than you speak, and be prepared with a simple, rehearsed script of why you are calling/visiting. Let the gatekeeper take the opening position. Listen carefully to their thoughts and concerns. Great negotiators learn to flip the discussion around politely and quickly – then ask.
- Relax! If you are nervous, stressed or tense, you will show those emotions and it might transfer to your voice, your behavior and your choice of words. If you are stumbling for words or for control of yourself, this will have an impact on how the gatekeeper perceives you and how they receive your request for access or information. Take some deep, slow, quiet breaths to put yourself at ease. When the Gatekeeper answers or greets you, smile and confidently tell them with energy and ease why you are calling (or visiting the office).
- Keep it short and sweet: no long speech for the gatekeeper. They have great deal of important information about the potential cash buyer or real estate agent. The gatekeeper has positional power and influence. One of them has the power to connect you with the right person. However, they do not hold any authority. When the gatekeeper asks, “may I tell him/her what it’s regarding,” it is not the time to fill in the gatekeeper. It will waste your time and it might irritate them because they still cannot make the decision. Using a relaxed and calm voice, speak slowly and articulately and don’t divulge more than necessary.