How to Get Past a Gatekeeper (11 tips to make friends with them and more!)

How to Get Past a Gatekeeper (11 tips to make friends with them and more!)

written by Houston Golden
Founder & CEO, BAMF Media
January 21st, 2022
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Getting through your first gatekeeper seems to be a rite of passage for every growth hacker.

Yes, it can be the most difficult thing ever.

But, it’s not impossible.

We have to remember that gatekeepers are people, too, and there are always of getting around them.

In this guide, we take a closer look at how to get past a gatekeeper and maybe even make friends with them in the process.

1. Recognize That They’re Just Doing Their Jobs

There is absolutely no use in getting mad at gatekeepers.

None at all.

Their job is to make sure that their principal is not interrupted with unnecessary calls, and they’re just trying their best to make sure they do it well.

Now, one may argue that the solution you’re selling is integral to the prospect’s success and that the gatekeeper is just being difficult.

How to get past a gatekeeper, How to Get Past a Gatekeeper (11 tips to make friends with them and more!)

Here’s the thing.

If it really was integral, you shouldn’t give the gatekeeper a hard time. There are plenty of ways to fix your sales cadence to dodge the gatekeeper and there are other means to reach a suitable decision-making unit.

The gatekeeper you’re running across is just one obstacle in a race with different routes.

There’s no use in losing your cool.

2. Use a Personal Touch

We talk about personalization a lot about B2B lead generation, and often we forget to use it when we deal with gatekeepers.

You have to understand that they are part of the DMUs outfit, and you need to be prepared to personalize your sales cadence for them.

The easiest way to do this is to use a personal touch with them.

If you’re confident enough to drop the client’s name in a call with them, then at the very least, you should find out what your gatekeeper’s name is and use it as well.

Do your research; there’s a lot that you can find out about different members of an organization through sources such as their website, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Please take advantage of this information and use it as leverage.

3. Listen to Them and Respect Them

If the main client that you’re after says “no” to you, wouldn’t you want to respect their decision in the meantime while you look for other ways to get through?

Now, how about if their representative – a gatekeeper – who’s been officially deputized by the client said “no”?

Wouldn’t you want to respect that decision?

You need to pay the gatekeeper the same amount of respect as the client themselves because they are an extension of the client.

How to get past a gatekeeper, How to Get Past a Gatekeeper (11 tips to make friends with them and more!)

There are ways to get through a problematic gatekeeper, and we’ve even outlined a couple in this guide. So, what’s stopping you from taking the high road?

Here’s the other thing.

Gatekeepers spend a lot of time with the DMU. If you get on their bad side, one swift story and you could be out of favor before you even make your way through.


In negotiating, everyone knows that a “no” is the official start of negotiation because you have given the apparent power to the other party. 

4. No Small Talk

Gatekeepers are busy.

And, they’re used to declining sales calls all the time.

Whatever small talk you have, they’ve probably heard it all.

Trust us.

The only thing you have in your arsenal is honesty and a fairly straightforward request.

Tell them what you need from them, whether it’s trying to reach their boss or if you’re calling to follow up on an email that was sent.

Avoid talking about the “weather” out of nowhere …unless they start it.

How to get past a gatekeeper, How to Get Past a Gatekeeper (11 tips to make friends with them and more!)

On the off-chance that they do, this is your license to go at it with building rapport.

Make sure you practice active listening and entertain them.

This means listening to understand, repeating their objections and coming up with win-win solutions, and of course, keeping the lines open.

There are a lot of stories of how being friendly won the affection of gatekeepers and closed the deal.

5. Be Friendly

Don’t be fake, be friendly.

You don’t have to make small talk to be friendly; you have to be cordial and excited to speak with the person on the other end of the line.

Make sure you have a smile on while you’re talking to the person, acknowledge what they’re saying, if they attempt to banter with you, then go for it.

Just be genuine with your intentions and try to talk to them nicely.

6. Leave a Voicemail or Email (Before and After)

One way of getting through a gatekeeper is leaving a voicemail or email before you contact your prospect. This way, you have an excuse to “follow-up” on the prospect.

Send a voicemail or email 2-3 days before you call, and add this simple line to your sales script:

“I wanted to follow up on an email/voicemail that I sent *name of prospect*, is he available to talk?”

If you play your cards right, you might even be able to get them to check on that initial email for you, and that could lead to a relationship between you and the gatekeeper – which is vital in lead generation.

A line like this should work well:

“Is there a way that you could check if they received the email/voicemail?”

Before you end the call, regardless of whether you sent an initial email or voicemail, always ask if you can leave a voicemail. If you didn’t have the prospect’s email, to begin with, then you can ask for that as well.

“Is it alright if I leave a message?”

You’ve got to make sure that your next step with the prospect is covered.

7. Don’t Call During Office Hours

Okay, we’re not saying that you should call them at midnight, but if you call a little earlier or later than usual working hours, you might get past a gatekeeper altogether.

Do your research and find out their usual daily schedule in the company.

Now place your call the hour before or after work hours.

However, this comes at a cost.

You might be labeled as someone pushy.

It’s up to you if you want to apologize for calling outside their office hours, but know that if you do, they will be able to counter it very easily.

You want to balance this out with a good script, so you don’t annoy your prospect.

8. Get a Proper Referral

If you have a robust network of current customers and a sound referral system, you can tap into that to get a quick word for you to reach your prospect.

This makes it easier to contact them because “trust by association” will be in effect, and they will be less reluctant to speak with you.

So, the way to do this is to build a referral sequence by preferably calling people you’ve worked with in the past, and asking them if they could connect you with other people in the industry.

You can reward them with a free month’s subscription to your product or give them a discount on their next purchase with you.

If you’re targeting someone more specific, you can always tap your own network to find out who has access to the prospect.

9. Try a Colleague

Chances are there are other decision-making units in the organization with the same rank as your prospect.

They could need the solution you’re selling, and they could have gatekeepers that will let you through.

The trick here is to find other job titles that have the same ranking as the one that your prospect has, you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator here.

If they’re an executive-level manager, find someone that’s on the same level as them.

A quick side note is to look for their purchasing officers, these are people that can actually pitch for you.

You could circumvent the initial prospect and their gatekeeper by following this approach.

10. Try Another Person in the Department

Can’t reach the main guy?

Try the second-in-command (as long as it’s not the gatekeeper, too.)

At times, they might not even have a gatekeeper, and they’ll be able to pitch their idea to the main person in charge.

You can use a standard sales script with them.

Check out the 15 Sales Scripts that You Should Be Using!

11. Try Another Department

If your solution is versatile, it might be wise to save yourself some time and try another department.

Think about it.

Does your solution only benefit the marketing department?

Or, can you also sell it to the guys over in finance or sales?

Being able to saturate the company – in a good way – will help you get your brand in front of more people.

This also helps you leverage the information you already have about the company and put it to good use.

Takeaways on How to Get Past a Gatekeeper

Gatekeepers are part of the sales cadence.

You need to make sure that your sales process is equipped to deal with them properly.

Or, else you could risk comprising your campaign.

However, don’t treat them as obstacles.

They’re people, too, just like you and me.

You need to be intentional and relational with them. I’ve found that the fastest way to deal with gatekeepers is to be genuine. As long as you can help them and their organization, you’re going to do very well.

So, go ahead and make friends with some gatekeepers!

About the Author

The name's Houston Golden. I'm the Founder & CEO of BAMF — a company I've grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $5M+ in revenue over a span of 5 years.

How did I do it? Well, it's quite simple, really. I've helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win), I tell all on this blog.

Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.
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