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Getting Past the Gatekeeper

Getting Past the Gatekeeper in phone sales

Getting Past the Gatekeeper

“Getting past the gatekeeper is a current challenge. What would a good rebuttal be to use on a gatekeeper when she says; He doesn’t take these types of calls.”

One of the biggest anchors salespeople carry around with them is the notion that they need to look for “rebuttals” to situations instead of avoiding a problem from happening.

Isn’t that the ultimate gatekeeper rebuttal… eliminating the objection before it happens?

If you are getting “he doesn’t take these types of calls,” the very words you said before the gatekeeper gave you that response is the problem.

Your entire approach is most likely the problem.

Getting Past the Gatekeeper is Easy

Getting past the gatekeeper is easy when understanding that although the gatekeeper is there for a reason, it’s still above their pay grade to determine whether or not what you have to offer is in the best interest of the company he/she works for. Otherwise, the gatekeeper would be the decision-maker.

But when you offer a poorly thought-out and flawed opening value statement, you will give them more power than they should have, and they will shut you down.

How to Get Past the Gatekeeper When Cold Calling

Four Steps to Avoid Being Shut Down!

Getting Past the Gatekeeper On a Cold Call, Step 1:

Know the name of the person you are calling before picking up the phone. No more “who’s in charge of …?”

With tools like LinkedIn at your fingertips, there is no reason not to know whom you should be giving a call. Sure, they may have someone else that is ultimately the person that you need to speak with, but there is no need for flying blind in today’s sales world.

Getting Past the Gatekeeper On a Cold Call, Step 2:

Have a well-thought-out / planned reason for the call before picking up the phone (No more Captain Wing Its / Flying By the Seat of Your Pants)

Getting Past the Gatekeeper On a Cold Call, 3:

Give the Gatekeeper what they want before they ask you for it… Let them know who you are, what company you’re with, and the reason for the call before they ask. Not doing so turns the control back to them.

Getting Past the Gatekeeper On a Cold Call, Step 4:

If you cannot uncover the decision-maker’s name before the call, ask the gatekeeper for their help!

Gatekeeper Script Example:

Instead of Asking:


Hi, could you please tell who makes the decisions on ___________?



Hi. This is ________ with ________.

I’m calling because I have an idea that might be able to help ________ sell/cut/reduce/avoid/add (________), but I would need to get a little more information first before I can be sure.

Normally I speak with someone in the (________), and I wondered if you could help me out or at least point me in the right direction of who that might be?

Gatekeeper: Oh, sure, that would be ________.

Cause and Effect

If you continue to have to deal with a negative response during your sales process, looking for a rebuttal means you will always have to deal with the negative.

Fix what’s causing the prospect to react that way, and you’ll need fewer and fewer rebuttals while getting to the next step a whole lot more comfortable and more often.

The Gatekeeper Won’t Give Out The Prospects Email Address

“The Gatekeeper Won’t Give Out My Prospects Email Address… What Do I Do?”

Gatekeeper: We Don’t Give Out Our CEO’s EMAIL Address!

For starters, it’s all in the approach. What we say, how we say it, and why we say it has at least 90% to do with the results/response we get back. And that’s good news because we control what we say!

So let’s back up. Did you call and ask the gatekeeper, “Who’s in charge of ______?” or some version of that? If so, why?

In less than 90-seconds (once you get good at it), you can, in most cases, discover the person whom you need to speak with before picking up the phone by merely doing a quick search on their ABOUT US page, or LinkedIn or Google (search Google like this “TITLE + @COMPANY-NAME.com.”

Example: Google: CFO + @SALESFORCE.COM

You cannot only find the name of the person you should speak with but in a lot of cases, you will also find their email address; Thus avoiding ever having to ask the gatekeeper for it! (My favorite way to handle any sales objection is to make it disappear before it ever comes up)

When Research FAILS…

What I have found to work best to get a prospect’s email address if a quick search comes up empty (Besides having them contact me! Again, I like to prevent sales objections from happening rather than try and overcome them after the fact) is to do this:

Once I call on a prospect, and the gatekeeper puts me through to the prospect’s voicemail, I leave my voicemail (again, I also have a specific voicemail play that works exceptionally well for me). Then I hang up and call back and get the gatekeeper again, and then I say:

“Hi Yes (gatekeepers name) It’s (my name and company) again. I just left (prospects name) a voicemail, but I got to thinking that maybe it would be best if I emailed the documents so that he/she could review them on his/her own time and then if he/she had any questions, he/she could get back with me later and was wondering if you could confirm his/her email address for me? (or you can say “what’s the best email address for me to send this to?”)

What if the Gatekeeper Still Won’t Give Out the Email Address?

If the gatekeeper still won’t hand over the decision-maker’s email address, ask:

“Would it be OK if I emailed it to you and you could forward it on him/her?”

And now you have the formation of how they create their email addresses. I would send it to the gatekeeper, send a LinkedIn Inmail Message, and schedule your next FTC (First Time Call) 2nd Attempt.

FTC (First Time Call) 2nd Attempt

The reason your next call is labeled an “FTC – First Time Call”, and not labeled a “Follow-up call” is that you have not spoken with the prospect yet. Your original objective, get the decision-maker on the phone, is still in play. We have not accomplished that yet, so until we get the decision-maker on the phone, you keep labeling your calls as FTC (FTC 1, 2, 3 ETC)

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company offering live & on-demand sales consulting.

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Find Out More About Our Program
  • How to Warm Up and Close Cold Leads
  • Eliminate “No, Thanks,” “Not Interested,” & “We’re All Set” Responses
  • Neutralize Gatekeepers & Get Voicemails Returned
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  • Improve your Qualifying Skills
  • Give Stellar Presentations & Handle Objections
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  • How to Set & Achieve Your Toughest Sales Goals
  • Improve Your Time Management Skills
Duration: 1 hour per week for 8 weeks Where: Online @ your desk, conference room or home Presenters: Michael Pedone