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Getting Past the Gatekeeper

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meThe Dreaded GateKeeper!  sometimes the phone feels that much heavier because knowing that we have to get by that darn evil person.. the Gatekeeper from Hell.  You know the one, the one who always asks the most difficult questions to prevent you from getting to the Prize.. the Potential Client. 

Sometimes it truly helps to remember that everyone in Sales has to get past the Gatekeeper one way or the other, and it really does help to hone your skills by utilizing sales training from all industries.  Find as many tips from the sales champions out there. 


Some of the best advice I have found for example are on the following sites :

and an excellent group of articles on

It may help to be aware, I NEVER recruit anyone the first time I speak to them.. Every call is a Networking Call, no matter who I speak to or even if I have paper.. That alone helps with the honesty part for sure, and also you get more assistance as well, even from the "sure thing" who ended not being the "sure thing".

Also please note, since I have predominately use networking in my recruiting efforts and don't use job boards, then most of my calls are via referrals, that helps a lot... But here is a cold call script w/o referral.

Gatekeeper: XYZ this is Jane, how can I help you

Recruiter: Good morning Jane, how are you this morning? (
find something pleasant to say, and be sincere, if she sounds happy pick up on that, maybe the weather is nice, be sociable, because it is also the pleasant and nice thing to do and people appreciate that)

Recruiter: Jane this is Karen M from ACS San Diego, hey I am trying to locate Bob, is he in now?
(usually now they usually put you through as people like nice people, if they don't)

Gatekeeper: Good Morning Karen, yes he is, can I tell him why you are calling.

Recruiter: Jane, I am a consultant in the XYZ industry (which I am), and I have been contracted for work/opportunity in your city (which I am), and I hope Bob could help me out regarding ABC(naming a technical skill set in your job order, by the way what is his extension should we I have to call back, Great, thanks for passing me through and have a great day Jane.

**By the way if you can do some research on the person you are calling you may consider using it as well, like did he write an article, did he just make some amazing discovery, then utilize that when asked what is this regarding to.***

Or Recruiter: Jane, I am a consultant in the XYZ industry, and have been contracted for work/opportunity in your city and am in the process of due diligence. (which I am) by the way what is his extension should we I have to call back, Great, thanks for passing me through and have a great day Jane.

Now you have taken charge, you asked nicely, but with authority, and they will put you through (even if it is to voice mail), which is great as well -
there are great scripts out there that do help you get a response on voice mail every time w/o being dishonest as well... I have more than an 85 percent response to voice mail the first time around. By the second or third time, 100 percent. great site

Here is an example of a Standard Business Sales Script from Andrea Sittig-Rolf
Receptionist: "ABC Company, how can I direct your call?"

Salesperson: "Hi, my name is Andrea Sittig-Rolf and I'm with Sittig Northwest. I'm hoping you can help me. I'm looking for the person in your organization who would make a decision regarding sales training. That wouldn't be Jim James the CEO, would it?"

Receptionist: "Oh no, not James, that would be Mike Adams the general manager."

Salesperson: "Great! Can I speak to Bob, please?"

Receptionist: "Sure, I'll transfer you."

Salesperson: "Thank you."

Even if you are unable to speak to Mike Adams during this particular phone call, at least now you have the name of the person you need to talk to for the next time you call. Receptionists don't screen calls as much when you have the name of the person you want to talk to.

Other things to remember, Say thanks, please, be assertive,
Always mention the gatekeepers Name at least twice. People like to be recognized. Try this the next time you are at a restaurant - introduce yourself to your waitress/waiter and use their name, and use their name more than once during the meal.. Not only will your service be excellent, but watch how quickly you get your food, and the portions will be bigger than usual.

Though some may believe it to be so, this is not being altruistic.. it is being Nice, people appreciate having others who are courteous to them, and it makes their day, and they repay the kindness. Simple courtesy goes a long way.

And Most importantly.  Don't lie. You may get past the GateKeeper, but when she finds out what you did, you've got an enemy on your hands with a lot of influence.





Karen Mattonen started a career in Human Resources when she served as a Recruiter for Snelling Corporation. Leveraging her tenure with Snelling, Karen founded Advanced Career Solutions in 1997 focusing on the  HVAC and Mechanical Construction industry. Her reputation for excellence is echoed in the satisfaction of clients and candidates she has serviced nationwide. Furthermore, Karen is esteemed for sharing her expertise in Recruitment Education, Ethics and promoting self-regulation for the Recruiting industry.

She has a new and future-oriented vision of what recruiting can and should become: a profession we can be proud of for its ethical standing, professional conduct and ability to build great organizations. Her doing-well-by-doing-right philosophy is shaking up the status quo in an industry that needs to be shaken. She does this with conviction, leadership, and a distinctive voice that cries out for change.

Outside of the HR community, Karen Mattonen has been cited by Microsoft as a resource in how to use Microsoft Outlook as an ATS. She has also served as the Marketing and Public Relations Director for the 3rd largest city in Utah.

Her passionate and tireless advocacy has led her to create HireCentrix - The Pulse of H.R, Regulation, Retention, Recruiting and Risk Management  Hirecentrix is a company dedicated to providing training to the HR, recruiting and staffing industries, which includes a special focus on the ethical and legal dimensions through offering a full service resource for individuals to share and communicate, obtain current and accurate information, acquire and provide education and learning within the quickly expanding, diverse and rapidly changing Recruiting and Human Resource climate.

Karen has achieved accreditation as a California Accredited Consultant (CAC) through California Staffing Professionals. She has also gained her Certified Staffing Professional Certificate (CSP) through American Staffing Professionals. (

Click here to reach Karen via email.






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