Gatekeepers play a crucial role as intermediaries between salespeople and decision-makers. They probe, filter communication and determine who gets access to company leaders, and who does not, optimizing their time and minimizing distractions. To excel, gatekeepers must possess particular skills and abilities, such as the capacity to align their role, attitude and behaviors with the company’s and its leaders. In addition, gatekeepers must practice assertiveness, and have the ability to say “no” when necessary. This article offers valuable insights and practical tips to empower gatekeepers and safeguard the valuable time of company leadership.
What is a Workplace Gatekeeper?
A workplace gatekeeper is an initial intermediary between a salesperson and a decision-maker within an organization. They are often employees responsible for handling administrative tasks for executives, such as executive assistants, administrative assistants, secretaries, or receptionists.
What is the Role of Gatekeepers?
Gatekeepers are responsible for filtering through phone calls, emails, meetings, and other forms of communication. Their role is to determine who should have access to decision-makers and who should be declined to limit interruptions or distractions, save senior managers time, and reduce stress.
What Skills and Abilities Do Gatekeepers Require?
Gatekeepers are the first point of contact in organizations. Thus, they must present themselves in a friendly, helpful, and professional manner. Gatekeepers should have strong listening skills and be knowledgeable about the business they represent. In addition, they require the following skills and abilities:
- Align with the executive’s goals and priorities to make informed decisions.
- Evaluate requests by asking the right questions and conducting additional research when necessary.
- Understand decision-maker’s schedules and preferences to manage their calendar effectively.
- Adapt to social situations, be assertive, and learn to say ‘no” to requests that do not align with the goals or schedule of decision-makers.
- Demonstrate respect when declining requests and consider the potential impact on future business relationships.
- Educate oneself on sales tactics used to get past gatekeepers and develop responses to deal with them.
- Protect the decision-maker’s time and contribute to their success.
What questions should gatekeepers ask?
- Who is this?
- What company are you with?
- What is this regarding/about?
- Are they expecting your call?
Why are these questions critical?
These questions assist gatekeepers in determining the caller’s identity, purpose, and intent.
How to determine if a call is legit or not?
Gatekeepers use probing questions to assess the caller’s legitimacy and relevance to the decision-maker. By identifying the caller and their company upfront, gatekeepers can decide whether to allow the call to proceed to the decision-maker or reject it.
Six Do’s & Don’ts to Help Gatekeepers Improve Job Performance:
- Do: Familiarize yourself with the sales team’s objectives and the importance of connecting with potential customers. Embrace your role as a crucial point of contact.
- Do: Put yourself in the shoes of the salespeople and understand the challenges they face. Empathize with their need to connect with prospects and make their job easier when appropriate.
- Do: When salespeople present valuable information or genuine reasons for connecting with the decision-maker, be open to putting them through. Recognize the difference between relevant calls and spammy pitches.
- Do: Treat salespeople respectfully, ask for their names, and engage in conversations. Build a professional relationship with them; they might need to call multiple times before reaching the prospect.
- Do: Provide helpful information to salespeople about the company, the decision-maker’s schedule, or any tips to assist them in their communication efforts.
- Do: Maintain your composure even during frustrating interactions. Remember that each salesperson deserves a fair chance, and responding positively will enhance the overall sales process.
- Don’t block relevant calls: Avoid blocking calls that could be valuable for the decision-maker. Understand the importance of connecting salespeople with potential customers.
- Don’t be dismissive: Avoid being rude or dismissive to salespeople. Treat them professionally and respectfully, even if you cannot connect with them immediately.
- Don’t engage in long conversations: While building rapport is essential, avoid getting into lengthy discussions that might hinder productivity.
- Don’t fall for common sales tactics: Be aware of tactics designed to bypass gatekeepers and remain focused on providing a reliable filter for relevant calls.
- Don’t share confidential information: Avoid disclosing sensitive company or decision-maker details to unknown callers. Protect the company’s privacy and be cautious about sharing any internal data.
- Don’t let frustration affect your performance: Stay composed and professional, even when dealing with persistent salespeople. Remember that your role as a gatekeeper is vital for the company’s operations.
Gatekeepers are a special breed of people. Ensuring they possess the necessary skills and abilities is key for organizations seeking to maximize decision-making interactions. Gatekeepers must have good self-confidence, be able to set boundaries, ask the right questions and practice assertiveness in order to succeed in their role. With those qualities, companies can rest easy knowing their gatekeepers are qualified to facilitate all communication with decision-makers, leading to optimal growth.
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