Just the mere fact that we refer to an assistant as a “gatekeeper” pre supposes a negative dynamic. One where we need to go around, go over and in some cases; plow through! Not sure if that lends itself to a collaborative relationship!
Here’s something else to think about: Our first, continuing and lasting impression on an assistant is critical considering that we will have to live with them should their company choose to partner with us!
Perhaps its time for every gatekeeper to get fired! Sounds nasty, but I mean it. Actually I said it to dramatize my idea. What I actually mean is perhaps . . .
It’s Time To Fire The Gatekeeper And Take Them On As a Partner!
First and foremost understand that lots of people, with lots of things are trying for an audience with the big cheese. Is your message compelling enough to be memorable? Have you engaged in meticulous pre call planning? Have you found a triggering event in their organization you can leverage such as expansion, a new contract they won, a promotion, relocation, a press release? How about something from their industry, a competitor? Oh and before I forget does your message address any of the areas all businesses are interested in:
More sales, more customers, more market share
Happy customers, happy shareholders, happy employees
Better image, quicker to market turn times, greater efficiencies
More profit, reduced turnover, lower cost of sales
And while we’re at it, aren’t there things that irritate decision makers to no end?
Stupid buying experiences and dare I say . . .
Dealing with less than professional sales reps
And here’s a nutty thought . . .
Lose the monkey style kung fu evasion tactics and simply level with them. Tell them why you’re calling! One of my favorite things to do (especially if I get one of those snotty “Can I help you?” greetings, is to say something like “Actually (insert name) you might be the ONLY person who can help me” and then I have a conversation with them detailing what I’m trying to do and more importantly why this is important to them. I end by asking for their advice on how I can get an audience with their boss.
Just out of curiosity, do you think it feeds one ego to be asked for advice or help? Why not leverage that? People have egos, it’s time for you to cater to them.
No matter where that conversation goes, that assistant is getting a handwritten thank you card. Why? Aside from just plain old fashioned good manners I would venture to say that I might be the only one who sent a thank you. This helps me build my brand and might even get my name brought up to the decision maker.
Something else to think about. Every human being needs to be acknowledged and appreciated. In doing that you begin to wear away barriers and create relationships!
I believe Wayne from Wayne’s World summarized it best when he looked at that guitar at the music store and said . . .
“You will be mine. Oh yes, you will be mine!”
It’s to that end that the last step kicks in. Creating relationships needs to be embraced as a long term strategy. It certainly doesn’t happen on the first phone call. This is a game of patience! And although its wonderful and sometimes probable that we could simply call and get the appointment, we need to have a well thought out, multiple hit strategy that includes collaborating with the partner formerly known as “The Gatekeeper”
Your turn . . .
How do you interact with the partner formerly known as “The Gatekeeper”? Please weigh in with your thoughts!