Stop being afraid of the guardian

One of the reasons people stop cold calling is fear of the gatekeeper. The gatekeepers seem to wield extraordinary power over the minds of cold callers.

Guardians are receptionists and part of their job is to prevent others from wasting the time of the person paying their salary. Unfortunately, vendors often see Guardians in such a one-dimensional way that they end up giving them all of their power.

Recently, one of my clients, who is a very powerful and successful man in his own right, expressed how fearful he was of the gatekeepers. I asked him why and he couldn’t explain it logically.

He seemed to believe that the doorman had all the power instead of seeing the receptionist as a person who is simply employed to do a job and has no interest in keeping her from talking to a decision maker.

When he was asked to reconsider the situation and remember that he was the CEO of a successful company, he realized that he had been giving his power away to a gatekeeper. Giving away our power occurs when we allow others to make us feel less than we really are. When we allow anyone, including a guardian, to change the way us we feel that we are also giving away our power.

The guardians are not our enemies. In fact, it would help us to become friends with them and treat them with respect. Whenever I come across a hostile Guardian who seems hell-bent on being as gruff as possible, I choose to strike up a conversation with him.

Asking questions helps keep the conversation going and puts you in control of the conversation. Depending on the type of organization you’re calling and the nature of the call, it’s a good idea to do your research before you call so you can ask the right questions.

‘I see on your website that you don’t offer… Is that something you’ve tried or…?’ or ‘Do you know anyone else who might be interested in…?’

With a rude or abrupt guardian, the trick is to make sure you never succumb to their emotional tone. I describe it as ‘don’t fall into the pit with them’. I even asked one of those guardians once if everything was really okay because it sounded like she was mad. That certainly dispelled the situation and her tone immediately changed.

Always treat guardians as if they were your best friends. Use your first name whenever possible. Use humor to defuse any tension, and always make sure you treat them with the utmost respect.

If you continue to see receptionists as your adversary, they will live up to that reputation. It is more prudent to view them as a potential supporter and even a silent business partner. Don’t be afraid of the gatekeepers. They are not in this world to sabotage the success of your business. Start changing your perception of these hard-working, often underpaid, but very important people as sources of information and key holders to the door you want to open.

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