Mark Shonka

Sales Tip: Gatekeeper-Proof?

As sales professionals, many of the challenges we face evolve over time. One challenge that has been remarkably constant is the presence of gatekeepers. These are people who block our access to people and our sales strategy. Passive or aggressive, rude or pleasant, their desired outcome is the same. In most cases, they simply want us to lose. They may even be our competitor's coaches.

A question we get asked frequently is,

"Can you ever be completely gatekeeper-proof?"

Realistically, things can change so quickly (like organizational structure, priorities, ownership, etc.) that we'll probably never be completely free from the threat of a gatekeeper.

However, there are a few things we can do in order to get as close to 'gatekeeper-proof' as possible:

  • Develop a strong network of coaches across the organization. The more coaches we have, the better. We should develop coaches inside and outside of the departments we typically sell to, and at different levels of the organization.
  • Develop coach relationships with people who have influence on the decision makers in the organization.
  • Develop relationships with key decision makers, and others who may move into these roles in the future. When we meet with these decision makers, it's critical we're truly customer-focused and make good use of their time so that we have access to them when we need it.
  • Get credit for the value your organization brings to the customer (by delivering a periodic IMPAX relationship review presentation where we present the value our organizations are creating in our work together).

It makes sense - develop a strong network of coaches, develop a strong relationship with the decision maker, and show that our relationship is one that drives predictable value. By doing these things, we will be as 'gatekeeper-proof' as possible!

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