Sales Tips To Get Past the Gatekeeper

Here's how to get to the right people.
gatekeeper cover photo
The gatekeeper is a critical player in the sales process, yet often overlooked or misunderstood. This powerful position can make or break a sales pitch, determining whether you get the chance to speak with the decision-maker or not.

Understanding what a gatekeeper is and how to navigate them effectively is essential to closing deals and reaching your sales goals.

In this blog, we will dive into the intricacies of the gatekeeper role and provide you with the sales tools and strategies to overcome their objections and secure the coveted appointment with your target client.

Let's get started!

What is a Gatekeeper in Sales?

A gatekeeper in sales refers to an individual who controls access to the decision-makers.

They're often administrative professionals such as an executive assistant, secretary, or associate of the decision-maker, and their job is to screen all incoming calls, emails, and visits.

In sales, it's important to be able to communicate effectively with gatekeepers.

This is known as "gatekeeper marketing."

The goal is to make a good impression and gain the gatekeeper's approval to connect with the decision-maker.

Because gatekeepers play a crucial role in filtering information to the decision-makers, building a positive relationship with them can significantly increase the chances of making a successful sale.

Are Gatekeepers a Blocker?

This is a subjective question and depends on how the gatekeeper is performing their role.

In some cases, gatekeepers may be seen as a hindrance if they are not properly trained and unfamiliar with the company's structure, vision, mission, values, and brand. This lack of knowledge can make it more challenging for salespeople to reach their targets.

On the other hand, gatekeepers can also be viewed as a valuable tool, as they screen out deals or interactions that they determine to be non-viable, protecting their seniors from distractions and potential time-wasters.

Ultimately, the role of the gatekeeper can play a crucial role in shaping the customer experience and creating a positive or negative image of the company.

How Do I Get Past the Gatekeeper?

Demonstrate Seniority

If the gatekeeper has any questions regarding your seniority, you may encounter difficulty in reaching a decision-maker. While making cold calls can be intimidating, it is vital that you portray yourself with assurance and confidence.

When speaking, be sure to clearly state your identity, the individual you wish to speak with, and the purpose of your call. Additionally, it's important to be respectful in your approach.

The distinction between confidence and arrogance is significant - oozing confidence can assist you in establishing a connection with your potential client, whereas exhibiting arrogance may result in losing a valuable opportunity.

Reach Out During Unusual Times

One strategy to bypass the gatekeeper is to make calls outside of normal business hours. It's possible that decision-makers may be in the office earlier or stay later.

When sending cold emails, scheduling them to arrive in the recipient's inbox on a Saturday morning can also be beneficial. Executives may be more likely to check their emails before relaxing for the weekend.

However, it's important to note that this tactic should only be employed if you have exhausted other methods of reaching the decision-maker, such as a complete outreach sequence or cadence. And if all previous attempts to get past the gatekeeper have failed.

Call Your Prospect's Colleagues

The gatekeeper may have more grounds to reject your cold call now that many offices have transitioned to a completely remote setup. If you are frequently being informed by the gatekeeper that your intended contact is working from home, consider reaching out to their coworkers.

One approach could be to be direct and state, "I am seeking to speak with this person." Alternatively, you can adopt a more subtle approach by saying, "I apologize, I thought this was (your prospect's) number. Could you transfer me to them?"

Through this strategy, it's possible to obtain decision-makers' contact information, including names, email addresses, and phone numbers. In some cases, the person you reach out to may even become an advocate for your cause.

Don't Sell to the Gatekeeper

When asked, "What is this call regarding?" it's best to avoid launching into a sales pitch. The gatekeeper is not part of your target audience and is unlikely to be interested in your products or services.

However, this doesn't mean you should end the conversation at that point. Instead, mention any previous interactions you may have had with the decision-maker and attempt to gather as much information as possible.

Consider finding out the most opportune time to call or even verify an email address.

Gathering more information can increase your chances of connecting with the decision-maker.

Be Straightforward

When communicating with a receptionist, honesty is the best policy. People have a keen sense for detecting dishonesty, and if you come across as evasive or untruthful, the person on the other line is likely to mistrust you.

It's important to be direct, answer questions honestly, and clearly state your intentions. Being transparent about your purpose for the call can help establish trust and increase the likelihood of reaching the decision-maker you're trying to connect with.

Expand Your Reach by Investing in Contact Info

Having access to accurate and up-to-date contact information is crucial for bypassing gatekeepers in sales. By working with a B2B data provider, you can secure the direct phone numbers and email addresses of your most important prospects, giving you a much higher chance of reaching a decision-maker.

As the statistics indicate, using direct dial numbers can significantly increase your chances of connecting with a decision-maker. For example, when dialing a direct dial number at the VP level, you are 147% more likely to connect.

Turn the Gatekeeper into Your Competitive Advantage

When trying to reach a decision-maker in a company, it's important to view the gatekeepers, such as phone operators, receptionists, or executive assistants, as a resource rather than an obstacle. These individuals typically have access to valuable information, including the whereabouts and schedule of your target prospect, as well as their phone number and more.

To maximize the benefits of your interaction with gatekeepers, try to get to know them. Ask thoughtful questions that can provide helpful insights, such as whether the company already has a similar product to the one you're selling, if they work with any of your competitors, and what their biggest pain points are.

Not only will this help you establish a relationship with the gatekeeper, but you'll also be better prepared for your conversation with the target decision-maker. With a deeper understanding of the company and its needs, you'll be better equipped to make a strong case for your product or service.


In conclusion, the role of the gatekeeper in sales is an important one, as they control access to the decision-makers. Understanding their function and navigating them effectively is key to reaching your sales goals and closing deals.

By demonstrating seniority, reaching out during unusual times, calling your prospects' colleagues, being straightforward, and investing in contact information, you can get past the gatekeeper and connect with your target clients.

Additionally, our skilled outsourced SDRs have the expertise and experience to get past the gatekeeper and reach the decision-maker. Get in touch with us today to learn more.
Related articles
4 Summer Tips For Remote Work and Productivity
Remote work has its perks, but you need a plan.
How to Perfect the Lead Follow-Up
Follow up with leads to never lose them.
How to Use the Cold Calling Meme to Generate Leads
Have fun while generating leads for your company.
SQL vs. MQL: What They Are and How They Differ
Learn to tell these two lead types apart.
7 Tips to Help Telehealth Salespeople Get Qualified Leads
Discover top strategies for telehealth salespeople to generate qualified leads. Explore account-based selling, data security, and more in this blog post.