Getting Past the Gatekeeper


When you're talking to a gatekeeper, you need to be assertive but not rude. They're programmed to answer questions, just like the rest of us, so ask them, "John's not in the office today, is he?" They'll give you a response like, "Yes, he's in a meeting," "No, he's off today," or "He's left the company." If he's in a meeting, ask when he's due out and say you'll call back.

If they say he's left, you can ask, "How long has he been gone?" If they say something like, "Six months," you can challenge them and say, "It can’t be six months since I spoke to him." When they insist it is, move on.

You can then ask if someone else, like Danny, took over. They'll correct you and give you the right name, like Brian Smith.

When you make a mistake, which obviously you will, just admit it and move on. For example, say, "Why did I say Danny? My mistake. Can you tell Brian it's (Your Name) calling?"

If they ask where you're calling from, just say, "Brighton," or wherever you are. And if they ask about your company, just say, "No, it's just (Your Name) from Brighton."

If they want to know why you're calling, you can simply say, "I have a note in front of me to call him." And if they ask what it's about, just be honest as you will have a list in front of you and say, "I don't know. I just have a note to call him."

The key is to act like you belong and know what's going on. If they say he'll be in next Thursday, you can gently remind them, "Isn't he on holiday? He mentioned it to me. What time will he be in on Thursday?"

When they correct you, accept it graciously, say, "Yes, I remember now," and move forward. And when you finally get through, make sure to give the 30-second cold call pitch.

Remember, this approach works most of the time, but it won't work every time


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