November 2, 2010


A Monegask Guard stops a young girl
We want what we can't have. That's the lure of scarcity.

We hate gatekeepers when they block our access. Without them, we could get our message to people who want and need our help. We have noble intentions. We have skills. We can deliver results … if we can squeeze through (or sneak by).

The gatekeeper could be
  • an organization: you have a message for their members
  • a prospect: your calls, email and mail get screened
  • your current clients: you don't get referrals
In the photo, a Monegask Guard is stopping a harmless-looking young girl.


Gatekeepers are acting as stewards and protecting their group from outsiders. This power can corrupt but folks are basically decent. Let's assume we're dealing with someone like that.

Since the gatekeeper isn't your ideal client, they may have difficulty assessing the merits of what you offer and how you differ from the herd. When in doubt, keep 'em out.

Can you communicate in a unique, simple, clear and compelling way?

The Other Way Around

Others also want what they can't have. You're a gatekeeper too.
An accountant’s greatest asset might be his or her network. Large firms have an advantage in this respect, but smaller firms can compete by partnering with other firms to create high-value informal networks.
10 ways to add value (CA Magazine, Aug 2009)
Your network also benefits from products and services from outsiders. As a steward, who do you let through?

Even within the same firm, there's often a reluctance to provide referrals to colleagues. What if something goes wrong? Here's the paradox. If you want others to take a chance and trust you, don't you need to take a chance and trust them too? If you agree, why not take the first step?

As Paul McCartney said
Someone's knockin' at the door.
Somebody's ringin' the bell.
Do me a favour, open the door and let 'em in.
Then they're likely to open doors for you, thanks to reciprocity. Isn't that better than these sentiments from Pink Floyd in The Final Cut?
If you negotiate the minefield in the drive
And beat the dogs and cheat the cold electronic eyes
And if you make it past the shotgun in the hall
Dial the combination open the priesthole
And if I'm in I'll tell you
Your choice.


PS: Depending on your arrangements, you may get paid for opening doors.

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