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Be Nice - Gatekeepers Are People, Too!

Get ready…this topic may irk some readers, but it’s a conversation that needs to be held.

It also got my attention because it applies to what I teach and coach, including self-awareness, business etiquette, communications, and forms of leadership.

And stop being creepy.

A few days ago, I reluctantly engaged in a social media conversation on gatekeepers and those who try to get past them to get in direct contact with decision makers to sell their wares and services.

And while the conversations were based on so-called creative ways on how to “get around” the gatekeepers - which is a valid skill in the sales arena - what I was actually reading was a list of how to lie and do whatever it takes to get what you want.

I refrained from responding and engaging in this somewhat entertaining post until I got to the comment from someone who likes to “flirt” with the gatekeeper to get past them.

That kinda lit the fire in me.

A little background on me, if you don’t know me - I was in the administrative operations management field for about 25 years. I have now successfully started my professional Act II - not because I disliked the work but that I found due to my skills and passion my work was naturally morphing into something new - but what will always remain with me, and what I speak about with my clients, is the importance of having respect for other humans and building a life based on honesty, authenticity, transparency and vulnerability.

Let me also start by saying that no, I don’t see the world through rose-colored glasses, that I am extremely (and more than I prefer to be) well-versed in playing the politics needed to be successful in a corporate environment, and that I am also personally highly competitive. HOWEVER…

I do operate in my personal in professional life in a highly ethical and honest manner (sometimes too honest, but you’ll either get used to me or at least respect me for it). I neither engage in nor support the practices that some of these sales professionals promote as just a normal way to do business. The best salespeople I have met and worked with (and there have been hundreds, in various industries, around the world) of course have a job to do, are usually the highest earners, have the respect of their clients, and continue to grow and expand their knowledge and skill.

And I get it! You have a job to do. You have, or at least believe you have, valuable products and services that would greatly benefit your potential clients once you got in front of them, as well as goals to hit and bills to pay. But you don’t gain respect or build integrity with deceit.

I guess what I am yearning for is a world where people act professionally, respect each other, work together, and stop viewing others as “beneath them.”

And just be nice.

I am not putting the responsibility of this process completely on the shoulders of sales professionals. I acknowledge that not all gatekeepers are the same. Some are new employees of the business or are new to the profession, and understandably a seasoned salesperson may be able to get around them with their tricks.

And yes, some are actually downright stubborn and difficult to work with.