You can find cold calling tips in many different places. You can learn cold calling from a book, an online course, and even from cold calling experts at networking events. But what happens when you encounter another cold-calling obstacle: the gatekeeper?


What is their deal anyway?!  Well, their deal is to protect their boss from what they feel are unnecessary disruptions (phone calls, drop-in visits, junk mail).  They can be a real obstacle to meeting decision-makers.  A gatekeeper is someone who holds one of the most important keys to success in business: information. And because they know how vital it is, they’re not going to let anyone get past without speaking with their boss.

But, don’t worry! You can still get through to your target by cold calling the right way. Here are a few tips:

Do Your Homework

Gatekeepers are usually very good at weeding out people who are not serious about bringing value to the organization. Before you even pick up the phone or walk into their office, make sure you know as much as you can about them and their company. This will show them that you’re not just some random person trying to get in touch with their boss for no reason.

Gatekeepers are people too, and you will need to build a relationship with them. Ask them about their story, what do they do there, how long have they been there, what they do for fun, what are their goals and how can you help them? Take scrupulous notes and refer back to on your next visit. The gatekeeper tells you they have no time for fun because they are always running to their kids soccer games when not working. Next visit/call, ask them how soccer is going and bring them something (candy, trinket, bagels, soft pretzels, you get the idea)?

Always be branded with a nametag on your right side when cold calling in person. That way when you extend your hand to shake theirs they will see your name & company. Consideration should be giving for special circumstances (covid) when offering a hand to shake.

Start Off Strong

Gatekeepers usually have a lot of objections they use to keep people from getting through to their boss. Be prepared for these objections and answers ready. For example, if they ask why you are trying to speak with their boss,  have a good answer ready.

Be Persistent

Gatekeepers can be very frustrating, but don’t give up! Keep trying until you get through to their boss. Sometimes it takes a few tries, but eventually, you will get through.

Be Memorable

It’s also a good idea to take a (branded) candy jar to leave for their desk or in the break room, depending on what is appropriate. Then take refills on your future visits.


If you are still unable to get through, don’t be afraid to ask if they can take a message for you or if there’s someone else you can speak with who might be able to help you.

If the gatekeeper refuses to put you through to somebody else to speak with,  and there is nobody else, and you really want to speak with this person, then you’ll have to look into cold calling over email (or send a trinket via mail that will get their attention). This isn’t cold calling at its finest, but it’s better than nothing. Be sure to tell the gatekeeper that you will follow-up with their boss via mail or e-mail and ask if it’s ok to mention that you spoke to them, specifically using their name…when I was speaking with Mary/Jon s/he mentioned how busy you are so I wanted to reach out with a quick message to say…..

And don’t forget: always follow up with the person you originally wanted to speak with. Thank them for their time, even if they weren’t available. Whether it be by email or postal mail.

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About Bill McDevitt

Hi! I’m Bill, a small business coach and founder of Top of the World Coaching. No matter what stage your company is currently in, I want to help you grow and develop as an entrepreneur, franchise owner, or business executive.

I’m passionate about helping business owners and executives succeed. I am skilled at coaching business development, growth, and profitability to all levels of entrepreneurs and executives.

Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a budding entrepreneur, I can help you attain your goals by implementing a strategy that works. Your success is my success. Let’s work together to develop a strategy that will improve your company’s ROI. This will let you spend more time focusing on developing your business instead of working inside your business.

If you want to reach out to Bill McDevitt (Field 1 Post Trusted Sales Partner), please contact him by clicking here.

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