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Don't Upset the Gatekeeper

Posted Saturday, July 9, 2011, at 9:21 AM

Most of my working life I have had to talk on the phone as some aspect of my employment. Before Facebook and the World Wide Web, the phone was the primary communication tool but it was attached to a wall in a building. (Yes, I am that old).

In my current working life, it is part of my job to be the 'filter' for the messages in my office.

In other words, I am the gatekeeper, so to speak.

Most of the time the callers are just peachy. Once in a while, someone has a burr under their saddle and I have ask the drill down questions and listen a bit to find out the issue behind the call. That is all part of the job. No issues with those folks either. Sometimes, they just need to vent.

There are those folks that are still out there making random sales calls. It is a tough, tough job and most of them are just trying to make a living. I get two or more calls per day from sales people. Now, I have a little piece of advice for some of those callers that missed the training on phone etiquette. When you get the same gatekeeper and you will NOT leave a message or a call back number, do NOT expect that person to put your call through EVER.

I have been fairly good at recognizing voices and especially when the caller doesn't have a local accent, I tend to remember them. I have to filter the calls and it is my job to get as much information as possible.

Now this salesperson has called a few times in the last few weeks. Each time, he would not leave a message. He would not leave a number. He said he would call back. When I tried to get more info, he is done with the call.

Recently, I became the burr under his saddle. He called again. I again asked for a name, number, info and again, he would not provide anything. He said it was a follow up call. This time I challenged that line. I asked if this was a cold call and what the sales topic was. Cold call meaning that person has never talked to the person he are trying to sell something to.

Instantly, and I mean right now, he was madder than a hornet whose nest had been disturbed. How dare you even ask me that he said. He demanded my name and he said he was going to email my boss. Again, without missing a beat or even changing my tone, I asked what he was calling about and was this a cold call. He was done with the call and hung up.

Seriously, most decent sales people know the following, you make friends with the gatekeeper. Being polite and providing some information, gets your message passed on.

I have passed on several messages from sales people who are polite and provide call back numbers or a even a bit of information on what they are selling. Now, I never guarantee they will get a return call but I will pass on the message.

Polite works with the gatekeepers. Please remember that.

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My favorite sales people are the ones that try to weasel information out of me. Usually they'll say something like, "I'd like to speak to the person in charge of safety. Who would that be?" I always respond with, "please take us off all of your lists."

Then there are the ones who call looking for our company president. He doesn't work at this location. If they had any genuine business with him, they'd know that. I usually just give them the main office's number, knowing that they won't get past the gatekeeper there.

Incidentally, I consider myself to be the dragon at the gate. :D

-- Posted by dlfiend4ever on Fri, Jul 22, 2011, at 3:55 PM

I even had the guy I ticked off call back again. I asked for the information and he wouldn't give it to me. He wanted a better time to call. Hmmm... lots of meetings that day so there wasn't a better time. :)

As a side note, had a friend tell me, they had a gatekeeper that would transfer the exceptionally obnoxious phone sales calls to the fax line.

No, haven't tried it but I can envision a day when I just might have to do that. LOL


-- Posted by coolidge on Sat, Jul 23, 2011, at 8:27 AM

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