Who can connect you with the person who is going to give you a YES for your business? The answer is simple: it’s the gatekeeper of a business. They are one of the most important relationships that you can invest in.
I wanted to find a way to get FITzee Foods in The Vitamin Shoppe in stores in New York and New Jersey, but it was going to require a lot of work. They’d have to get new permits, add refrigeration to their stores, and would have to make a lot of big changes.
I knew who I needed to talk to; Doug Jones. I knew I needed his help to get the YES that I needed from the Board and CEO to make it happen. The problem was that I didn’t have a connection with him, though… YET!
Evelyn was the gatekeeper that I needed to connect with to get access to Doug. She was his executive assistant. I focused on building that relationship: whenever I was in New Jersey, I’d bring her coffee, or other things she liked. We’d meet up, chit chat, and hang out.
No matter what the weather, I would stop by if I was in town! I remember being bundled up in a coat, hat, gloves, and freezing! This Southern California girl made it happen, because this relationship with Evelyn was important.
Taking the time to befriend Evelyn eventually led me to connect with Doug, and I was able to get FITzee Foods into those stores. It was a huge benefit for my business, and Evelyn was the key to it all! All of this was because I invested the time into getting to connect with Doug’s protector, Evelyn, and build that know, like, and trust factor with her.
Even though now FITzee Foods is closed, I miss getting together with Evelyn!
Blair Fletcher Hardy, a guest on the Success Unfiltered Podcast, created Pop and Bottle, a company that focuses on creating healthy drinks. She found that the gatekeeper for many of the stores that she wanted to get into were not her ideal client – they’d rather drink soda and didn’t care how many grams of sugar were in their drinks – so she had to find alternate ways to prove that Pop and Bottle was the right product for them to carry in their stores!
Are you wondering how you can meaningfully connect with the different gatekeepers that will help get your business off the ground? Here’s some of my top tips and tricks!
Develop a Relationship with Your Gatekeeper
Your gatekeeper is going to be one of your new best friends!
The gatekeeper is your key to the connections that you want, but don’t have…yet. At the end of the day, sales is all about relationships, and that know, like, and trust factor.
When you develop authentic business relationships, and cement the know, like, and trust factor with the “business guard”, in turn, they are able to recommend you to the person that you want and need to work with.
They can wholeheartedly recommend you! And best of all, their authentic relationship with the person you want to work with brings you into a place where you can start right off having an authentic relationship.
Relationships are everything in business! It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best product, or you’re the best coach, or you provide a service that NO one else can match. If you don’t have any relationships, you haven’t got anything!
Authentic relationships will lead you to the right people to say YES!
Prove Yourself to the Gatekeeper with Data
What if your gatekeeper is nothing like your ideal client?
Blair had this issue: Pop and Bottle’s mission was to create healthy drink options. But the person who held the key relationship didn’t care about choosing healthy drinks. In fact, they’d choose a sugary soda, and never count how many grams of sugar would be in the drink that they chose!
So how could Blair prove to the gatekeeper that Pop and Bottle was an ideal fit?
Data was key to influencing her protector. By providing case studies about the product and how it performed when tested with stores and their ideal client, Blair was able to present the proof that it would be worth bringing into stores.
The gatekeeper was then able to see that Blair was right: Pop and Bottle was the perfect fit for their target clientele.
If you end up hearing a NO to your product, you’ll have to take time to think about alternate ways that you can bring them exactly what they need to say YES.
Is it more data? Do they need case studies? Do they need a different relationship? What more do they need from you, and how can you provide that for them?
Listen for Feedback
Sometimes, that key player is going to be a key to giving you information that will help you make your business even better!
Your gatekeeper will be able to give you valuable feedback. They know your business, and the person you’re trying to connect with.
They can help your products be even better! Maybe your labeling isn’t right; or maybe your product needs just a little bit of tweaking. Your direct connection is going to be the person who will be able to provide you feedback.
If you’re not ready to connect with your target person, the gatekeeper is going to be the one who helps you prepare.
They’ll know what is important to your ideal client. They’ll know what you need to say. They’ll be able to give you tips and tricks to help you get the YES that you want. When you’ve built a relationship with the key player, they become invested in your success. They want to see you get a YES, and they may become some of your biggest cheerleaders!
Have you been able to win over your gatekeeper? What are you doing to win over the key player? If they aren’t your ideal client, what are you doing to connect with them? Tell me more in the comments about how you can connect.