What does it mean?


A gatekeeper controls access to key decision-makers or information within an organization in business or sales. This person may hold a position of authority or be able to influence who gets to speak with decision-makers

For example, a receptionist may be a gatekeeper if they screen phone calls and only connect callers to the decision-makers they deem important. Similarly, an administrative assistant may act as a gatekeeper by controlling who gets access to their manager's calendar or email inbox.

Gatekeeper: The Key to Getting Through to Decision Makers

As a sales representative or manager, the biggest challenge you will face is getting through to decision-makers. It is quite frustrating to spend significant time and resources trying to connect with someone only to be stopped in your tracks. That's where the gatekeepers come in – these are the individuals or roles that enable or prevent information from going to the decision-makers. The key to success lies in how well you can get past these gatekeepers. This article discusses the various types of gatekeepers you may encounter in organizations, the strategies to get past them, and how to handle rejections if things don't go as planned.

The Four Types Of Gatekeepers

You may have to deal with four types of gatekeepers when trying to reach decision-makers. These include receptionists, personal assistants, administrative assistants, and executive assistants. Each of them has its unique style of guarding entry to the decision-makers, but the good news is that there are common strategies you can employ regardless of which kind of gatekeeper you face.

What Works Best to Get Through to the Decision Maker

  1. First, you must do your homework. Research the company, understand the decision-making process, and identify the gatekeeper in charge of the area you are trying to access. Familiarize yourself with their name, position, and duties. This will help you communicate effectively and appear knowledgeable when you speak with them.
  2. Second, be polite and respectful to the gatekeeper. These individuals are critical to managing vital information in the organization and work hard to ensure everything runs smoothly. Introduce yourself and personalize your conversation by acknowledging their position and the value they bring to the company.
  3. Third, keep communication focused on the value proposition you are offering to the organization. Explain why your product or service is unique and how it can solve a particular need. Ensure your conversation has a logical flow and does not appear pushy or aggressive.
  4. The fourth strategy is persistence. Sometimes gatekeepers can be challenging to get past. It doesn't mean you should give up if they reject your request. Instead, be persistent and try again. Think outside the box, try a different avenue, or change your approach. Perseverance can pay off, and you may eventually get through to the decision-maker.

If things don't work out in your favor, handle rejections professionally. Remember that gatekeepers have a job; only some people you speak with will be interested in your product or service. Always thank the gatekeeper for their time and ask if there is any other contact you can speak to about your product or service. You may get a referral and an opportunity to connect with a different person within the organization.


In closing, getting past gatekeepers can be daunting, but it is a critical skill in sales. By understanding the types of gatekeepers, being polite and respectful, staying focused on value, and being persistent, you can get through to decision-makers and achieve your sales goals. Always handle rejections gracefully and continue exploring alternative ways to connect with the organization. With patience and persistence, you can ultimately beat the gatekeepers and get the results you need to drive business growth.