Learn what being a member does for you
The Seller Styles
Learn the styles and take your free assessment
See a summary of all our programs and certifications
Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP®)
Develop your potential as a certified sales professional
Certified Professional Sales Leader (CPSL®)
Grow your impact as a certified sales leader
Certified Master Sales Professional (CMSP®)
Join the elite group of sales professionals and leaders
Advanced Sales Influence (ASI)
Take your influence and leadership to the next level.
Learn foundational sales behaviors, strategies, and skills
Power of Contact Marketing
Learn from marketing expert and author Stu Heinecke
Join the top 1% of sales professionals in the world.
Next Level Virtual Coaching
Join our ongoing dynamic virtual coaching community
Explore job postings from some of the best companies in the country looking for sales professionals
Daily Dose of Influence!
Enjoy our video series of influence tips and strategies
Leads To Growth
Dig into our podcast featuring industry leaders and experts
Learn from our high-level sales coaching video series
Women of Sales & Influence – Facebook Live Series
Be inspired by our Facebook Live series spotlighting top women influencers
Women of Sales & Influence – Video Blog
Enjoy valuable, high-level sales strategies to empower your sales goals
The Growth Quotient
You’ve heard about IQ, but what is your GQ?
Our Commitment to You
We are here to help your approach to sales, how you interact with others, and how you perform and execute
NASP Sales Blog
Learn from our member-submitted articles for sales professionals
Write For Us
Share your sales expertise and insights with our community
About Our CEO
Standards of Conduct
Common Questions and Answers
Eight years ago I was selling advertising for the Yellow Pages. Those who have sold advertising know it is certainly an interesting business to be in. Every year our company would send out a contingent of salespeople to renew and upgrade contracts with existing customers, sign up new customers, and share the newest and most recent trends in advertising. Our book was more than one thousand pages full of listings, which is a huge amount of business and a large number of people to contact. To top it all off, we only had twelve months to sell as much advertising possible, and still meet the print deadline!
The first step in the sales process was to meet with each and every customer, whether it was a renewal or a new customer, and sell them on our advertising as a way to bring in additional business. In order to do this, we would have to call and speak with the decision maker and set an appointment. If we were able to reach the decision maker right off the bat, great! Oftentimes however, we would run into an unforeseen obstacle. It is during this first phone call, especially when calling to potential new customers, when we made first contact with “The Gatekeeper”.
A gatekeeper is a person whom is in charge of letting only important phone calls into the decision makers or other administrative personnel at small to medium sized companies. These are usually administrative assistants or receptionists who are very skilled at determining who to let through, and who not to.
As salespeople, we must first understand that these people are doing the job they are assigned to do… they are not trying to keep us from getting a sale or keep us from hitting our goals. Secondly, we must also keep in mind that if they are keeping us out, they are also keeping out our competitors… this can be a good thing. Lastly, these are other human beings who act and speak professionally as much as possible. Remember: there are bad apples in every bunch. Don’t let one gatekeeper ruin it for the rest.
Generally speaking, gatekeepers listen for a number of things before letting just anyone strut through their door (or be sent right through to the decision maker on the phone). There are a few things they listen for, and if they hear it come from you… they won’t let you through:
All of these small (yet important) things may prevent you from getting any further than the gatekeeper. This can be a problem, particularly if your product or service will benefit their company and make them more profitable. You owe it to yourself, and to the company that you are calling into, to be as professional as possible and get through to the correct person the first time. In order to do this, there are a number of “keys” you can use to open the gate and gain approval from almost any gatekeeper:
These keys will certainly help you have a greater probability of getting through to the decision maker, more often than not. You may still run into a stickler from time to time, who won’t let you through even when using these keys. If this is the case, don’t worry about it! Continue on to the next potential customer and don’t worry about wrangling with this person. Chances are that if the feel this strongly about not letting in any new ideas about business or technology that will make them more profitable, they probably aren’t worth the difficulty anyways.
Give these techniques a try the next time you are on the phone and confronted with a gatekeeper. You will soon find that the more experience you get in speaking with them, the more doors will open up to you.
About the author