Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Gatekeeper and Bad Manners

In sales we find ourselves often meeting the gatekeeper first, before the prospect.  You know the gatekeeper - it's his or her job to screen on behalf of the boss.  It's a productivity thing.  Unfortunately it can be costly, as most gatekeepers only have the authority to say no.  It's rare and refreshing to find one with the knowledge, confidence and authority to say yes.  These people are the bridge to a mutually beneficial relationship.

Unfortunately its increasingly rare to find a gatekeeper with good manners.  In working with my own team, each of us being gatekeepers and bridges for the each other, we have stressed the importance of courtesy and respect.  It is disconcerting the number of people I have met who are downright rude, not realizing that it reflects badly on their entire organization.  I once asked such a person if his boss was aware that he spoke to people with such disrespect, after he grilled and interrogated me, refusing to answer my questions or transfer the call to one who could.  And get this - I was trying to buy the product, not sell them anything!

Do your gatekeepers have the authority to be rude on your behalf?  You may not have explicitly granted it.  Maybe you ignore it when you pretend not to hear the way they speak to others.  Perhaps in your failure to definitively establish otherwise you have allowed it.  In doing nothing or behaving badly yourself, you may actually be encouraging it.

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