Women in Sales Blog

How to Become Sales Friendly with the Receptionist or GateKeeper- It's Easy, BE NORMAL and Explain Why You are Calling

Posted by May 9, 2014 3:00:45 PM Ali Powell


Let's face it you have to dial to get your leads to convert. I realize that you can send emails, leave voicemails and send linkedin notes. But, when it comes down to it you are always going to be to pick up the phone to speak to the prospect to get them to convert or at least know they are worthy of being converted into an opportunity to work. 

how_to_get_through_the_receptionist-861985-editedA couple things can happen when you pick up the phone to call your prospect.

1. You will have a direct number and can call directly. That will rarely happen. If you have their direct number good for you, go get that prospect!

2. You will have a main number from the website and then when you call you are either going to reach a receptionist or get a switchboard where you can search for their extension.

The extension is the easy one. Once you get the extension write it down so next time you don't waste time finding it again. You should always be trying to make your job easier so don't forget to write down the extension or write down what you are supposed to do at the switchboard next time you call that lead. 

The receptionist or gatekeeper is there for a reason. She has that job for a reason. Part of her job is to answer the phone and direct the call. In many cases she talks to rude people all day long and has no reason to let you the sales rep through. 

The receptionist or person picking up the phone on the other end is a human being. He or she works at the company you are prospecting. Don't be a jerk to them. You have no right to be a jerk to anyone or rude to anyone so don't do it to them. 

I would suggest that you don't:

  • Act like a jerk.
  • Don't just call and say "Can I talk to bla bla bla." What do you think she is thinking on the other end. She is probably saying to herself - "oh yea sure here let me go get them"...NOPE. She is told not to let calls through. She doesn't want to let you through. 
  • She is protecting the executives at her company so you should be nice to her. 
  • She will remember you so don't do something that will put a bad taste in her mouth when you call back again at some point. 
  • You will talk to her again if you don't get through now, remember that.

The best things you can do when you talk to the receptionist or gate keeper:

  • Act like the normal, nice person that you are. 
  • Act like a human being. Act like you would if you were calling someone you had talked to a million times before.
  • If you find yourself acting strange and sounding different than you usually do if you called a friend of yours then you need to get your head in the right place.
  • If you feel like you are sounding odd, you probably are and he or she will notice and want to play with you...
  • Be confident and helpful. 
  • Your job as a sales rep is to be helpful. In sales prospecting you need to get through the gatekeeper or receptionist to be able to talk to your lead, right? So set yourself up for success.
  • Explain why you are calling. Explain who you are and why you think you should be reaching out to that person. 
  • Ask them what they would do if they were trying to get through?
  • Try to learn as much as you can from them. 
  • Ask questions and be inquisitive to what they say to you. 

ROLE PLAY TIME! 

"Hi this is Ali from HubSpot could I please speak with X?"

Here is what the receptionist might say to you: 

things_the_receptionist_will_say_to_the_sales_rep-563502-edited

Okay, so now what do you do when the receptionist starts asking you a bunch of questions about why you are calling, if you are a cold caller, do you know them, etc....

#1- You don't freak out and act strange. 

You act like a normal human being that you are and explain yourself. Explain why you are calling so they know. This will likely lead to her opening up to you a bit. Act like your normal self and she will likely let her guard down a little bit too. 

how_to_be_a_cool_sales_rep

Here are some easy ways to respond to the receptionist's questions when she asks why you are calling. Remember stay normal, stay human and answer her questions. If you have already done your research on the lead/company and you know why you are calling then you shouldn't be nervous to explain your outreach to them. 

do_research_on_your_prospect-1

It is simple. Make sure that you have done your research and then explain to the receptionist why you are calling. Tell them your research that you did and why you thought you should reach out. Tell her that you thought your outreach would be timely to X person because of reading Y. Make sure that you note down the receptionist's name and how your conversation went in your notes. You will need that next time you talk to her. 

If she tells you that the best way to reach them is still by email. Ask for the email address. If she won't give it to you just say something like, "Okay, I get it. You don't know me and have no reason to let me through. I can probably figure out their email address and will try to reach him on linkedin as well. I appreciate your time though." 

I would also leave the conversation asking her questions. Ask her questions about the best way you could reach the lead. Ask her if she has any advice on reaching your lead. A lot of times if you just ask she will give you some hints as the best ways to reach the prospect. I would also ask her if she really gives the messages to them. Make sure you know what is really going to happen when you hang up. 

Most importantly, open up to her. She is your way into the prospect. If you don't tell her why you are calling then why should she want to help you. 

Imagine if you were the executive that you were trying to reach and you got a note on a piece of paper from the receptionist at your company that said X called from Y company with a phone number and nothing else. What would you do with that information? I would rip it up. I would probably be like oh AWESOME ANOTHER COLD CALLER!!! WOO HOO- call them back? NO.

sales_rep_advice-879699-edited

But, imagine if the receptionist told the executive how nice your conversation was and how helpful you were. That you explained everything and why you were reaching out and that you said you were going to send them an email too, try them on linkedin, Twitter, etc. What if the receptionist gave them a real note as to why you were reaching out? They would probably be more apt to read it and listen to why you called. They might then respond by either calling you back or emailing you back. Or even maybe next time you called in and wanted to talk to him she let you through and then you got on the phone with him. He would probably be nicer to you than he would be to someone who was a jerk to the receptionist. 

Leave your thoughts about this. Would love to share other sales reps tricks for getting through to the prospect when you don't have a direct line. Let's hear the innovative ways that you get through to your prospect. 

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Topics: sales skills, sales coaching, sales tips, sales prospecting, sales process, saleswomen, sales pitch, sales prospector, receptionist skills, gatekeeper skills

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