How to Get Past the Gatekeeper: 5 Proven Methods/Strategies that really work


If you’re a salesperson, you are probably aware of the dread that gatekeepers can cause. While they are often not the decision-makers in the hierarchy of an organization, gatekeepers can put you through with those who are. This makes dealing with them extremely important and probably one of the most crucial steps in your sales journey.

While preparing a pitch, salespeople often focus on a script that targets the decision-makers, all while taking the gatekeepers for granted. However, that’s ideally where the folly begins. Unless luck favors you unusually, not having a strategized conversation with the gatekeeper can land you into a soup and easily lead you to rejection. In other words, not getting past the gatekeeper means failing at your sales pitch entirely. Therefore, it becomes important to know how to deal with these key office-bearers.

Over the course of years of working as salespeople, we have identified strategies that can help you answer the most difficult question of all – ‘How to Get Past the Gatekeeper?’ However, before delving deep into these methods, let us first understand who we really mean when we use the term ‘Gatekeepers’.

Who are Gatekeepers?

who are gatekeepers

As the word clearly explains, Gatekeepers are the ones who guard you from being swamped with unnecessary or uncalled-for rendezvous. At the entry point of a residential complex or a mall, security guards often screen you clear before letting you step inside. Inside the organization, Gatekeepers do a similar job by protecting the key-decision makers from being bothered with too many unwanted calls or meetings. In other words, they are the people who you need to contact before you can make your way to the person concerned. Usually, receptionists, personal assistants, the secretary, and even the office managers so placed in the hierarchy function as Gatekeepers in an organization.

What are the strategies for getting past the Gatekeepers?

How to Get Past the Gatekeeper

We cannot stress enough on why it is imperative to approach the Gatekeepers well. If you succeed at impressing them, you can consider your job half done. While strategizing about how to get past the Gatekeeper, aim at building a rapport with them instead of merely approaching them for work. After all, there’s no better way of being put through the decision-makers ( along with getting an effective source for company information and securing help with follow-ups) than this. Find below a list of five proven methods for getting past the Gatekeepers:

1. Talk Politely

We’re all guilty of having spoken rudely or almost defiantly with receptionists and front desk POC’s at some point in our lives. However, this could be your biggest mistake for not making through a sales pitch. Even if the decision-maker is open to meeting you or receiving your call, not speaking well with a gatekeeper compromises your chances of being able to do so. When thinking of ways on how to get past the gatekeeper, remember that they’re your only bridge to the person concerned and trampling over them could mean more hurt for you that otherwise. Greet the Gatekeepers well, check on how they’re doing and modestly ask to be connected with the person you’re looking to speak with.

2. Give Instructions

While this could look contrasting to the point made above, it really isn’t. Receptionists or Gatekeepers, in general, are used to taking instructions. Speak in a polite yet instructional tone to get your way forward. The trick is to not drop the burden of decision (of whether to take your call ahead or not) on them but rather to instruct them in a way that works to your advantage. Lessons on how to get past the gatekeeper dictate causing an illusion of being important as a tested way of getting ahead. However, learn to choose your words well and always draw a line between being assertive and overbearing while making instructional statements.

3. Listen More

Gatekeepers are often cut short or spoken over and to succeed with them, it is important that you do just the opposite. Treat them with respect and show an intent to listen. Instead of rambling on about your product or yourself, pause and hear what they have to say. By doing so, you could grab literal information of importance and also take subtle hints that can help you with your sales pitch. By showing that you’re listening, you present yourself not merely as a salesperson but as someone who cares about the challenges faced by the organization and intends to resolve them.

Also Read: 4 Effective Cold Calling Scripts to Get Appointments

4. Use a Personal Touch

While taking notes on how to get past the gatekeeper, mark this one as the most important. It is an absolute no-no to blind call Gatekeepers while pitching to them. Do your research well, ask for their name (if you do not know it already) and refer to them personally throughout the call/meeting. You could also converse with them about their personal interests and offer to do something for them in return for all their help. Making gatekeepers feel pertinent ensures that you can get to meet with the decision-makers faster and without hassles.

5. Go Around them

We may rack are brains all we want but strategizing how to get past gatekeepers isn’t as easy. And hence when nothing works, it is best to get around the gatekeepers rather than working your way up through them. Get in touch with someone who knows the gatekeeper personally or even better – someone who can put you directly in touch with the decision-makers of the organization. You could also try to get past the receptionists or personal assistants by walking in the office after they have left or ringing in the way before they get there. This way, you can cut out the middle link and reach the person concerned directly. If nothing, it’s worth trying your luck at the least!


In addition to the above tips, remember to be firm and modest in your approach. Integrity triumphs all and it is no different for when you decide to call or meet with the Gatekeepers. Use ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ as many times as you can and be clear with your demands or purpose of getting in touch with them. Try these strategies to get past the gatekeepers and get a step closer to succeeding in sales today!