I challenge you to banish the word “gatekeeper” from your sales vocabulary.

Replace it with the word “helper.” Because that’s what assistants, receptionists and secretaries do. They help. That’s why they ask, “Can I help you?” when they answer the phone.

Instead of trying to slip past them, why not take them at their word? “I sure hope so,” you might say. “I need all the help I can get.”

Here are five kinds of help you can ask for:

  • “Can you help me make sure I’m trying to reach the right person? Because I sure don’t want to waste your boss’s time if there’s someone else I should be speaking to.”
  • “Can you help me understand what’s important to your boss? Before I speak to her, I want to make sure I can offer something of value.”
  • “I have an idea that might help your organization save money/win customers/increase efficiency/etc. Perhaps you can help me figure out the best way to get that idea in front of the right person in your organization.”
  • “Before you put me through, could you help me confirm the spelling of your boss’s name and how he pronounces it?”
  • “I’m sure your boss is extremely busy, so perhaps you could help me schedule a five-minute phone call at a time that’s convenient for her.”

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