The gatekeeper is the best person to get to know, they are the ones that will determine whether you can speak to the appropriate person, and they are also a goldmine of information. If this person does not like you, your messages are not likely to get through to the right person. I currently work with a medium sized company and the CEO has an email address but does not use a computer. He has his administrator read all the emails and print out the ones she feels are important. Unless she knows who you are, they are not likely to be read. You must have an excellent relationship with the gatekeeper because the CEO will not take direct calls. Be courteous at all times, let them know why you are calling and always ask if this is the correct person for you to call. Gatekeepers can be very helpful when giving you information and directing you to the right department. They can also smell a rat when you are not being truthful or you do not know what you are talking about.
If you are going to call a CEO, make sure you call before the gatekeeper arrives, this may be the only time the CEO will be answering the phone. If they do not, then leave a voice mail message and clearly state what it is you want to speak about. If they do not call you back, call again to make sure they got the message. If you follow-up with your calls, it is more likely that you will be at least acknowledged. Once the gatekeeper knows who you are, they may let you know the best time to call.
I have worked with a few businesses that have mean gatekeepers. You would be extremely lucky to have your call forwarded even if you were the President. They sometimes will take on the responsibility of screening calls that are internally generated. Treat these people with respect as they have a tough job to do, keeping the boss organized and on time for meetings. Any interruption that is not worthwhile is an annoyance. Make your requests clear, simply and valuable. relationship will grow even further.
Bette Daoust, Ph. D. is a speaker, author (over 170 books, articles, and publications), and consultant. She has provided marketing, sales, business development and training expertise for companies such as Peet's Coffee & Tea, Varian Medical Systems, Accenture, Avaya, Cisco Systems to name a few. Dr. Daoust has also done extensive work with small businesses in developing their marketing, training, and operational plans. You may contact Dr. Daoust at http://BizMechanix.com . You may also view her latest publications at http://BlueprintBooks.com . Dr. Daoust also writes for the National Networker http://theNationalNetworker.com .