We’ve all been there; your first hurdle with a potential client — their secretary, assistant, the gatekeeper. Oftentimes, the gatekeeper can be just as intimidating as the boss, and can make or break your future relationship with them. Here are some insider tips on how to get past the gatekeeper and into your next business venture.
Be Kind, Courteous, and Cool
First impressions are everything. When you meet the gatekeeper, always put your best foot forward. Be friendly and genuine, greet them, and treat them like a person above all else, rather than an obstacle. Make sure to get to know them as much as you can — odds are, if you can get your foot in the door, you’ll be seeing the gatekeeper quite often. Why not make a new friend while you’re at it?
Don’t be afraid of asking about their day, passing along a business card, or even giving them some of the samples you brought with you. A little sweetness can go a long way, especially when a gatekeeper is sifting through dozens of prospective spokespeople every day. They just might put in a good word with the boss for your friendliness.
Get on a First-Name Basis
This ties into the previous tip. When you enter, make sure to use the boss’ first name. Odds are, the gatekeeper will see that you know them better than just “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Executive. This will help further your cause and make you seem like less of a rando off the street. In addition, get to know the gatekeeper’s name, too, as this will endear you to them and make them feel like you care.
Don’t Make It a Sales Pitch
Try not to pitch yourself to the gatekeeper. This will distract them or take away precious time that you could be using to engage with them and set up an appointment. Instead, phrase your business around previous correspondence, such as a prior visit, email, or a voicemail — and again, be sure to use first names whenever possible. Be a person, not a product!
Follow Up, But Don’t Pester
The last person anyone wants to work with is a rude one. Make sure to keep up your friendliness not only with your potential client, but also the gatekeeper. Don’t get huffy or snappy if you get shut down by the gatekeeper — they’re just doing their job. Any sort of rude behavior will definitely put a bad taste in the gatekeeper’s mouth, making them more likely to dump your messages into a trash bin.
Stay in touch, but don’t nag. Follow up your visits with phone calls, leave polite voicemails, and send along emails and samples as needed. Try not to overdo it though. You don’t want to come across as desperate or pushy.
Need to brush up on your cold calling skills? Have a look at our tips and tricks here to get back into the groove of in-person visits.
Bring Something New and Memorable
Bringing along a friendly treat or a little sample of your product is never a bad idea. However, not all gifts are created equal — the odd shirt, pen, or poster will be accepted, but most likely not remembered. Sometimes going the extra mile and bringing in food can make you a standout, but it can get expensive.
Want to really make an impression? Bring chocolate! Chocolate is a universally loved treat, and never fails to put a smile on people’s faces. With options from simple chocolate bars, to local chocolate confections, and even luxury chocolate available, there’s no shortage of ways to win the hearts of your prospective clients.
Click here to see just how much of a statement you can make with our personalized, custom chocolates!
The executive you are trying to work with knows and trusts their gatekeeper to take care of business outside of their office and sort through prospects. The better you treat and know the gatekeeper, the better the chances of you seeing the boss and landing a business deal. Treat them right (with an actual treat, maybe!) and you’ll be shaking hands on a deal in no time.