How many times did your sales team try to contact a company they felt would be an ideal client for X,Y,Z reasons, but were never able to get past the receptionist? Even though some sales people seem to have found the secret or magic formula to get to speak to the relevant contact, the majority of sales calls usually end up being stopped after a few seconds.However, in the hustle and bustle of today's busy business markets how to handle Gatekeepers has never been more paramount to the success of any sales executive in their bid to persuade a prospect to purchase their goods and/or services.Very well trained in answering "we do not accept these types of calls", "We have a no-name policy" or "Mr XXXX is in a meeting at the moment", the commonly known Gatekeeper - the business receptionist (but also the floor staff or the. PA) - very often does not even let you get the chance to explain the purpose of your call. These mechanisms have been created by front of house representatives in order to defend against a large number of sales calls queuing up at their door. However this defense mechanism can be overcome using a few techniques.1. Always remain polite
One of the most important things to remember is that he/she is like any other individual and deserves the same amount of respect and politeness as that of the CEO. By showing this type of gesture it can often be the primary reason for the gatekeeper for transferring you to whom you wish to contact. It also keeps your sanity intact as you will realise that the gatekeeper simply is doing his/her job - and does it well!2. Be confident
Using a confident tone in your voice whilst on the phone helps give the impression of an authority figure, which in turn allows for the gatekeeper to undertake the impression that you are of relative importance, thus it is more likely that he/she will transfer you to the relevant contact.3. Build a rapport
Always listen to the gatekeeper and build rapport with him/her as the gatekeeper has more information regarding the company than you do, can direct you to the correct contact or a specific department that would deal with you enquiry. Along with directing you, the gatekeeper can also be a great source of information regarding the current situation of the company.4. Use the first name
Most receptionists will answer the phone with their name so use this to your advantage. Everyone likes being called by their name so just by saying "Hi Anne, how are you today", you have already broken the ice.
5. Stay cool
Always remember to remain calm on the phone whilst talking to a gatekeeper as anger or nervousness will transfer through the line in your voice. You must remember that the gatekeeper is not the relevant party you need to speak to and for that reason always remember you should not be selling to him/her, but conversing to be directed to the relevant contact.6. Be assertive
Act almost as if you already know the contact you are looking to speak to. If you have the name of the prospect you require, say "can you put me through to John Doe please". It can give the impression that a relationship between you and the relevant party exists and thus the gatekeeper may be more likely to transfer your call through.7. Don't give too much information to the gatekeeper
When trying to get through to the decision maker, give information sparingly as if you provide too much information about the purpose of the call this will give the gatekeeper an opportunity to say "no we wouldn't be interested in that". Simply try and get across the benefit that your product/service will bring to the company.8. Try a different way to get through to the decision maker
Very often the 'No Names Policy' starts and ends with the gatekeeper and therefore it may be better to use the following approach: "Can you please transfer me to the sales/HR department?" When you get through to either of these departments you are more likely to get the name of the person you need to speak with.9. Sometimes it's the simple things that work best
If the gatekeeper is not willing to let you in after a few attempts, try calling at lunch time when the gatekeeper is probably at lunch. If the phone is answered by someone else, you are more likely to be given the name of the person you need to speak with and be transferred.10. Have a plan B
If the gatekeeper is still reluctant to put you through, it can be a good idea to ask to be transferred to the relevant party's voicemail.Hopefully, these tips will help your sales team maximise their chances to speak to the relevant decision makers in your top prospect accounts. It is up to you now to try these tips and find the ones that suit best your personal style.