You can see your ideal clients in the near distance. They’re all neatly bundled together in the same spot, hanging out together and sharing the same conversation.
But alas…there’s someone standing in your way…
This person is the one responsible for gathering all these ideal clients of yours in one spot. This person already has a great relationship with them and treats their time, money, and attention with the utmost respect. That, or they work for the person responsible.
In other words, this person is a gatekeeper, and you won’t be getting anywhere near those prospective clients until you find a way to deal with them.
Now when I say “deal with them” that can mean a few different things. I’ll dive into those different methods in a moment, but first let give you a quick reminder…
Gatekeepers are people too. Treat them with respect even if they aren’t 100% respectful to you. Trust me, there’s no point ever getting combative with them.
Do Business with Them…The Old-Fashioned Way
This is such a simple and obvious way to win over gatekeepers, but people always seem to forget this as an option.
Want to get a gatekeeper’s attention? Want to start the relationship off on the right foot so they’re more open to collaboration later on?
Then buy something from them! Become their client or customer!
One of the fundamental rules of business is to listen carefully to your clients…so if you become the gatekeeper’s client, you’ve got their attention (assuming they actually know how to run a business).
Even if you don’t necessarily need what they’re selling, consider it an investment in the power of your network. Remember, a good affiliate can bring you a steady stream of high-qualified leads for years to come.
Also, you don’t even have to spend much money for this to work.
The ones that DO go on to greater success usually follow the process I just described every time they enter a new neighborhood. They step into all the nearest shops and restaurants, introduce themselves, and buy a little something.
For them, every single one of those businesses is a potential gatekeeper because they could call in the cops to shoo the buskers away.
Instead, the smart buskers are proactive and add value first to the surrounding businesses. That way they establish trust and start generating positive buzz around their work.
Speaking of positive buzz…
Turn the Gatekeeper into YOUR Client
This method is a little bit trickier, but it can lead to a huge payoff.
There’s nothing wrong with paid affiliate marketing, yet often the most powerful endorsements a business can ask for happen organically and for free.
HOWEVER, there’s only one way to make those spontaneous, free endorsements happen…you have to make the gatekeeper LOVE your service.
Now you and I know that you offer great training, and normally I would recommend charging top dollar for it (because you deserve it). However, for gatekeepers it’s worth giving them either a steep discount or a price tag of $0.00.
Again, it’s all about investing in the future earning power of your network. If bringing on a gatekeeper for free brings in 3 or more converting leads, you’ve already made back your investment and then some!
And with a powerful gatekeeper celebrating your business, the rewards will only keep stacking from there.
Obviously, this strategy and the previous one won’t be possible with every gatekeeper. Still, think them over and see if they apply to you.
Content is Your (Gate) Key
In case you haven’t noticed, I talk about content marketing A LOT on this blog. If you aren’t putting out content already, start now. Seriously, your business can’t afford not to use content.
What you maybe didn’t know, however, is that you can also use content to win over gatekeepers. Heck, even if you don’t already have a steady stream of content over social media or an email newsletter, you can still create content to send out to gatekeepers.
The important part here is to make sure your content is interesting and useful to those gatekeepers. Is it something they could share with their audience? Is it something they could implement and benefit from personally?
Remember, content marketing is all about building the Know, Like, and Trust factor. If you can build that up with gatekeepers, won’t that open up some opportunities for you?
Circle Around the Gatekeeper
All right, let’s say you’ve set your sights on the biggest, most influential gatekeeper in your industry. Good for you! Great hustle!
But then let’s say that gatekeeper is completely ignoring you. You’ve done everything you can think of to try to add value to their business, or even just get their attention, and nothing is working. What now?
First off, don’t give up on that person. Knowing the specific individuals you want to have in your network is a critical strategic practice, so keep that up.
Maybe it’s just a question of reaching their same audience in a different place. Do their clients all have a different website or blog they like to visit? Do they all happen to hang out in similar coffee shops?
If you really need to connect with the gatekeeper personally, then look around at their own network and see who is less busy and more in need of help.
Maybe there’s a long-running sponsor of theirs that has never quite reached their same big-name status. Could be that there’s a personal connection there. Get in good with that sponsor and you’ll have a path to the gatekeeper.
Meet Them in Person
In-person meetings will always be the best way to build the Know, Like, and Trust factor.
Find ways to meet those gatekeepers in person. Trust me, it’s worth whatever travel you have to put in.
Keep in mind too that it’s often easier and most effective to meet them in casual, low-pressure environments. Can you find out their favorite store, restaurant, or bar? If so, that’s where you’ve got to show up again, and again, and again until you get that meeting.
Now get out there and hustle!
Committed to your success,