In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry is moments away from winning the Triwizard Tournament when he is brought to a screeching halt by a sphinx. Inches from victory, the sphinx tells Harry he cannot pass and reach the finish line unless he can answer a complicated, multipart riddle.
Okay, maybe not. But mythical creatures and wizards aside, this story isn’t a far cry from the challenges sales reps and account-based sales teams face every day. To make a sale, they need to reach a decision maker, but a gatekeeper often stops them in their tracks.
Decision makers are busy, and gatekeepers are rightfully cautious about restricting outsiders’ access to their time. Salespeople hoping to get on a decision maker's calendar will have to prove that they and their product are worthy of a phone call or meeting.
This does not mean you should unload your elevator pitch on the gatekeeper or dive into a hard sell. Not only do executive assistants and schedulers lack the authority to buy, they’ll probably come away thinking you’re unable to read a situation and react appropriately (which, if you’re selling the gatekeeper, is probably true).
The Center for Sales Strategy put together the SlideShare below with 10 tips on how to bypass a gatekeeper and get one step closer to closing the deal.
Spoiler alert: For anybody who’s wondering, Harry gets the riddle right and is able to get past the gatekeeper. Arm yourselves with the techniques below and you’ll be able to as well.
Originally published May 28, 2015 8:30:00 AM, updated June 28 2019