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Nosey Receptionists & Gatekeepers

“How do we deal with the nosey receptionist who wants to know more about the purpose of the call?”

The best way to “deal” with a “nosey receptionists” is:

  1. Know the name of the person you are calling before you pick up the phone WHEN POSSIBLE (pre-call research)
  2. Have a well thought out/planned reason for the call before picking up the phone (No more “Captain Wing Its” or Flying By the Seat of Your Pants)

Remember: It’s ABOVE the gatekeepers PAY-GRADE to determine if what you have to offer is of benefit to his/her company.

Give them what they want before they ask you for it and beat them to the punch, taking the wind out of their sales while reducing their stress (you think they like dealing with salespeople who try to get around them all day?) and you avoid needlessly giving up control. You may not be in 100% control of the call, but you will be closer to being “even” if nothing else.

Ask for their HELP if you’ve done pre-call research and came up empty.

Here’s an “APPROVED” example:

Gatekeeper: Thank you for calling JR Printing Franchise Head Quarters, how may I help you?

Sales Person: Hi – this is Michael Pedone with SalesBuzz.com. I’m calling because I have an idea that might be able to help your franchise owners sell more (printing services), but I would need to get a little more information first before I can be sure and I was wondering 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 (Mr. Guy You Wanted), I’ll put you through.


My reason for the call gave her enough information so that she knew what the call was about, but it was worded in a way to where she quickly realized this is above her pay-grade to inquire further about.

Another critical factor, even more important, the reason for the call had a GREATER BENEFIT to her company than it does to MINE. You have to know what makes your prospects TICK.

If I’m calling a corporate franchise because I want to get my foot in the door and train all of their franchisees and would like corporate to make the “recommendation” for me, they will have to see WIIFT first (What’s In It For Them) and to do that I need to be able to understand, in their language, what’s most important to them.

And for a corporate franchise, it’s earning money each month from the franchisees. So the more successful their franchisees, the more money the franchisor makes. So when I word my reasoning for the call, it’s in their benefit (not mine) to put me through.

  • I planted the seed or at least focused her on the “type” of person I know I would typically need to speak with.
  • I ask her for her help.
  • I was non-threatening.

Here’s a BAD example of the same call (that most salespeople use)

Gatekeeper: Thank you for calling JR Franchise Head Quarters, how may I help you?

Sales Person: Hi, yes, I was wondering… who’s in charge of training your franchise owners on how to sell by phone?

Gatekeeper: We already have an in-house/outside firm that handles that.

Sales Person: OK… thank you. Click. (FAIL)

See the difference?!?!

– 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.

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