Who gets past gatekeepers?
A survey asked gatekeepers how they determined who gets through to a decision-maker. The top answer was, "People I like."
Source: Business coach C.J. Hayden
Treating gatekeepers with respect is in the salesperson's best interest. This person is very close to the decision-maker, and has a lot of valuable information.
So work with him or her to establish a friendly rapport. Use a conversational, yet confident tone of voice. If you were standing in the lobby of his or her office, the gatekeeper would first size you up based on your appearance and the way you sound.
Early in the conversation, ask for the gatekeeper's name. Use it, put it in your notes and greet the screener by name on your next call. You will seem much less like a stranger on subsequent calls.