Getting Past Gate Keepers

Getting past gate keepers is probably one of the most common obstacles cold callers, telesales and inside sales people face.

Getting Past Gate Keepers

Before you apply some of the techniques it’s worth bearing in mind that the ‘world does not revolve around you’ – Other people have important work they need to accomplish. If you keep this in mind it’s amazing how much less stressful ‘getting past gate keepers’ is going to be. Furthermore when you adopt this ‘mind set’, the job of getting past gate keepers, becomes much more effective.

So here’s some of the tactics we use;

  1. Whenever possible ensure you get the right contact name
  2. Speak directly and ask for the contact name followed by your name and the name of your company, in a blasé, almost ‘off hand’ but an authoritative tone. Pretend you’re a c-level executive, looking for another c-level executive. If computer, stationery or recruitment appears in your company name, use a variation of the name to eliminate the term. Adopt the tone and demeanour on your call of, ‘you call this company and speak to the contact all the time’. The same tone you’d use if you had dealt with them as a customer for years
  3. If you’re queried and asked whether you’ve dealt with the person before, say no followed by the next important bit;
    1. If you’re talking to a female ask “Look I’m wondering can you help me please?”
    2. If it’s a male say “Look can you do me a favour please?”
    3. The above are based on psychological research, ‘help’ for female ‘favour’ for male.
    4. Then state why you’re ringing. If the conversation descends into “we don’t put through unsolicited calls” ask them in a friendly, ‘asking for guidance’ type tone “If someone would like to get through to Joe Blogs, how would you go about it please”
    5. If you’re given a reception email take it, send an email, address the contact person in the email with ‘For the attention of Joe Blogs’ in the subject line but ensure you acknowledge that the ‘the lady or gentleman at reception kindly offered to forward my email to you. You’ll be surprised, contrary to perception, how often a carefully worded email will get through.
  4. If all else fails, call back and ask “can you put me through to sales please”. Every company needs to sell, so you’ll be put through to someone who generally isn’t trained to fend off cold callers. Be prepared to swap a contact detail you have that might be of use to them, in exchange for a contact detail in the target organisation
  5. Employ call backs but note the name of the receptionist and call back, knowing the name and acting as if you call and talk to the contact name all the time

Happy Gate Keeper

Familiarity, putting yourself in the head of the receptionist and relying on the ‘kindness of strangers’ when delivered properly can work wonders at ‘getting past gate keepers’.

Remember, ‘smile and dial’


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David Doyle

David has spent 30 years in sales successfully building business from zero to acquisition. Having studied Electronics and Computer Science at DIT and Enterprise Ireland's Export Sales Development Programme, he has spent most of his time in selling technology. He is founder and Managing Director of B2B Sell and leads a small team of experienced business and technology trained sales professionals.

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