On The Gate

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It has always been puzzling to me why so many salespeople (and not just Radio salespeople) consider “gatekeepers” as menial laborers. By “gatekeeper”, I mean the secretaries, receptionists, and other clerical positions one encounters when calling on (or attempting to call on) advertising decision-takers. For some reason — and this is especially true of male salespeople — there is a tendency to regard gatekeepers as second (or third) class citizens.

Let me tell you: they resent being treated that way.

And if you are treating them as beneath you, what is their motivation to assist you in getting to see the person you need to see to make a sale?

One sales manager I know — after interviewing a candidate for a position — would meet with the station’s office staff to find out how the candidate treated them. What was his/her attitude toward the station’s office staff? Anyone who acted aloof or condescending to the station’s own people didn’t make the cut.

Why make an enemy when you could make a friend? Here’s an idea: find out the name of the primary gatekeeper for each of your customers/prospects. Use that person’s name the next time you call or visit. It works wonders.

The Golden Rule applies every bit as much in sales as in life in general — treat others as you would be treated. Gatekeepers are people, too.