The most difficult part of making a sales call is often that first step of making it past the receptionist. She gets dozens of calls a day, she is used to dealing with salespeople, and she is paid to keep you out. So, what are the best methods to evade the “hang up” before you even get to think about speaking to a prospective client?

Here are a few tips with the help of Marc Wayshak’s article, “3 Must-Know Strategies for Getting Past that Monstrous Gatekeeper in Sales.”

Know Exactly Who You’re Calling
Receptionists do not have time for vague inquiries such as, “Can I speak to someone in such and such department?” In her mind, you have already flipped the defensive switch and you are going to be shot down so quickly you won’t even have time to process what happened. The calls that are worth being put through to the higher ups have callers who know with whom they wish to speak. Be confident. Don’t come off as a salesperson looking to score any sale you can.

Give Yourself an Air of Mystery
Just because you shouldn’t be vague about who you wish to speak to doesn’t mean you should be as open as possible about yourself. Remember, the receptionist is trained to keep the salespeople out. Being indefinite about who you are and what company you work for will help throw her off the salesperson scent. Wayshak gives the example that when you’re asked where you are calling from, you shouldn’t tell her the details about which company you work for and where. Instead, you politely give a general answer, like Columbus. It’ll keep her guessing whether you’re someone she should be turning away.

Strike When the Guard is Sleeping
Being a receptionist is generally a nine to five job with little to no pressure to go above and beyond by staying late or getting in early. Your prospective client on the other hand is generally a person who has important projects that may need to be worked on before or after hours. That is your opportunity to let yourself in with no resistance. If you call outside of business hours, you may just be rewarded with a call that goes straight to the hardworking prospective client himself.