What I learned about Gatekeepers from Clint Eastwood

clint-eastwood-394536Last week, I was watching the Katie Couric interview with Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, and Aaron Eckhart about the making of the movie Sully.

Start watching at the 9 minute mark: https://socialfeed.info/watch-katie-couric-chat-with-clint-eastwood-tom-hanks-and-aaron-eckhart-3971287

Notice something very interesting…

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This un-named script (destined to be the box office hit of 2016) was sitting around on Mr. Eastwood’s desk for “awhile” and his ASSISTANT told him, “You’ve got to read this story.”

At first, Clint Eastwood says – “I’m not sure there’s any conflict there…” In other words, there’s no real story here for a good movie.

She presses in: “No, no. There’s conflict! Read it.”

So, he reads it and makes the movie!

Now, I have no idea what the screenwriter did or didn’t do to get the assistant excited about the screenplay. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the movie would likely have gone un-made if she hadn’t advocated for it. And, what a shame THAT would have been!

Point is:

The Gatekeeper is Your Friend

They can:

  1. Get you in
  2. Keep others out
  3. Tell you what the decision-maker likes and doesn’t like
  4. Give you clues on how and when to sell to the right person

But, it’s not that simple.

The gatekeeper must be on your side. Remember, the Gatekeeper’s paycheck comes from the decision-maker. They are partners.


  1. Waste their time
  2. Ask for favors that work in YOUR favor first
  3. Ask them to betray a confidence


  1. Treat them as if they are as important as the decision-maker. (Frankly, they are!)
  2. Present your offer concisely and confidently
  3. Know in your heart and soul that you will make this person look like a rock star if they advocate for you. (Meaning the Decision-Maker will be glad they did).
  4. Be straightforward with them – these people are more highly sensitive to being manipulated than an Addiction Counselor at a Rehab Clinic.
  5. Be grateful when they help you out

While you’re at it, you should probably lose the term “Gatekeeper”. It just puts them in your way and puts you in opposition to them.

If you can’t make your case to the “Gatekeeper”, you can’t make your case to the Decision-Maker.


Don’t forget to …

Love ‘em UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

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Thoughts about this...