TSE 1507: Professional Gatekeepers Advice for Connecting with Decision Makers

Gatekeepers: the infamous villains of the sales world. Regardless of industry, most high-level executives employ some type of executive assistant or secretary to serve as a gatekeeper. A necessary part of the professional world, these assistants act as a filter that forces salespeople to maintain high standards and thoughtful targeting to pass. In today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Donald interviews Natasha Bowles, founder of Natasha Bowles Professional Staffing Agency, to learn more about how salespeople should interact with gatekeepers for more successful results. 

The main priority of an executive assistant: securing the executive’s time. 

  • If Natasha didn’t protect her executive’s time, salespeople (among others) would occupy all their time.
  • That doesn’t mean salespeople are bad. But it does mean she ensures the salespeople she lets pass are prepared and offer a product or service genuinely beneficial to her executive’s company.
  • Executives receive 250-1000 emails every day. She is a necessary filter that helps executives find time to do their jobs. 
  • Therefore, as salespeople, you must convince both the executive and the gatekeeper that you’re worthy of their time.

Get past the virtual inbox – Natasha’s tips for email outreach:

  • Natasha automatically discards anything that looks like an email blast- emails containing no information about the company and just discuss the sender’s product.
  • To get to the executive, show initiative, research the target company and show how you can help solve a problem.
  • It’s not just personalizing the email; it’s demonstrating understanding of the target and what you can offer them.

It’s basic human decency, but still applicable: be respectful.

  • Gatekeepers will notes a dismissive or demanding salesperson. And, if they need that product or service, the gatekeeper will look elsewhere.
  • In 2018, Natasha was tasked with finding an alarm system, water cooler, and other aspects for a new building.
  • The man she was looking to buy from refused to talk to her, insisting on interacting with her executive at every stage of the buying journey.
  • Natasha ultimately ended the partnership with his company because he refused to work with her, and she found a different supplier.
  • Salespeople have a long-standing perception that they need to speak with the decision-maker. But the decision-maker doesn’t necessarily mean the top-level executive. It’s whoever is in charge of the decision (I know, it’s shocking.)

Develop (and maintain) a relationship with the gatekeeper to be effective.

  • Find a balance between demonstrating product knowledge without going over people’s heads.
  • Don’t explain hyper-specific nuances, but emphasize what sets your product apart from the competition.
  • Maintaining a relationship is just as important as the initial sale. Remember, executives meet with 5-15 people each day. And executive assistants interact with dozens more.
  • If you don’t interact with the gatekeeper until it’s time to upsell a year later, that gatekeeper will not remember you. 
  • Maintain the relationship, stay in touch, and develop a personal connection to ensure the gatekeeper reaches out when the time comes.

Connect with her on LinkedIn (at natashabeingww) to learn more about her experiences. 

This episode is brought to you in part by Skipio.

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About the Author The Sales Evangelist

Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth. Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.

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