When teleprospecting, you will typically spend a lot of your time talking with gatekeepers. But there are actually different types of gatekeepers and knowing how they differ can help you with knowing how to get around them.


Front-Desk Receptionist

One of the more common gatekeepers that you will encounter when teleprospecting is a front-desk receptionist. This is the person who is usually sitting in the lobby of an office building and is responsible for answering a general phone number as well as receiving visitors and deliveries to the building.

There are a few things to stay aware of with this type of gatekeeper and the first is that they will usually be very focused on screening out salespeople and that will usually be driven by a clear instruction or objective to do so. If they get the slightest sense that you are a salesperson who is teleprospecting, they will often start screening you out (or at least not be really helpful).

Front-desk receptionists will usually have a medium-level knowledge of the organization. They will know of certain people when specific titles are mentioned but will not have a deep knowledge of what is going on inside the different departments and organizations.


Switchboard Operators

These are gatekeepers that are usually only responsible for routing calls. The good news with this type of gatekeeper is that they will usually have a low level of motivation to screen you out as their goal is to route calls and usually have not been given an instruction to screen out salespeople.

These gatekeepers will have little knowledge of the organization and the depth of their knowledge will be limited to the information that they can access in the company directory system.


Executive Assistants

A lot of the gatekeepers that you can encounter are administrative assistants who are either aligned with an executive or a group of executives. When teleprospecting at an executive level, you will often have your calls answered by these individuals as the prospects that you are calling often have their phones or call routed to their desk.

These gatekeepers will do a thorough job of screening out salespeople, but the key word there is “thorough.” Where a front-desk receptionist will screen out anyone that appears to be a salesperson, an executive assistant will also operate with the objective of filtering out salespeople, but they will try to make a more informed decision in terms of who they let in and who they block out.

In other words, they might ask questions and learn what a salesperson is calling about before determining what best to do.

The other key thing with these gatekeepers is that they often have a deep level of knowledge of the organization and what is going on, and you can often tap into that and ask good questions.


Automated Phone Trees

The last type of gatekeeper is the auto-attendant who answers and tries to route your call. These can be big time wasters when teleprospecting so trying to avoid them by getting direct dial numbers or extensions is the best way to go.