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Every salesperson faces gatekeepers on prospecting calls. Every sales person wants to get past gatekeepers.


One of the toughest prospecting challenges is simply getting connected to the right person. The number of roadblocks seems to grow more each day, and yet the task remains the same — to reach the decision maker. Often, a gatekeeper is in your way.

Here are 10 ways to get past gatekeepers:


  1. Don’t assume the gatekeeper is only the gatekeeper. Many times the gatekeeper is the decision maker; they are just not going to let you know they fill that role. If in doubt, ask them the same questions you would if you knew you were talking with the decision maker.
  2. Leverage social media to find other contacts within the company. As I like to say, if the front door is closed, simply find another door where you can enter.
  3. Contact the decision maker directly through social media such as Linkedin. If you use this approach, your strategy must be 100% focused on what the prospect would feel is important to them. If you come across as simply selling or pitching them, they have every reason to cut you off at the knees.
  4. Use the telephone during non-normal hours such as before 8 AM or after 5 PM or even during lunch. If you’re being blocked by a traditional gatekeeper, remember they too have work hours and take lunch. Working around their schedule will many times get you connected.
  5. Use the holidays to your advantage. We’re fast approaching the holidays, which means many companies go into slow mode. This means people who would not normally answer the telephone or respond to an email will suddenly have time to do so.
  6. Use multiple methods to reach the person. I’m always amazed at how many salespeople say they only use email to prospect.   The phone works great too… use it!
  7. Reach out and contact another division of the same company to find a contact who may in turn route you directly to the person you’re trying to reach.
  8. Contact the sales department of the company you’re trying to reach. I love this approach and the results are amazing. When you contact the sales department, you will most likely be connected to a new salesperson who will be more than willing to help if they feel you will do the same for them. This approach is a quid pro quo route, but I’ve rarely found it to not work.
  9. When dealing with an administrative assistant, treat them the same as you would the decision maker by asking them the same questions you would the decision maker.  The admin is trained to block people from the people they support unless they have real value. You show your value by engaging with them in the exact same way as you would the decision maker.
  10. Call after hours and use the automated response system to connect with the voicemail box of the person you’re trying to reach.   I agree it is not the live phone call you’re looking for, but several very good voicemails can go a long way to having the decision maker see it might be in their interest to not have the gatekeeper keep you out.

About the author

Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," helps individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more…

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