1. Treat them as an ally. Make friends, but professionally. Don't try to be over-familiar, but build rapport and show respect.
2. Find out who you are talking to. They may be the Consultant's wife, or have an influence on the decision-maker
3. Relationship Build. By building a relationship with the gatekeeper over time, they will fight your cause, particularly if you remain polite.
4. Gather Information. On a first call they can be very valuable sources of information - contact names, decision-making processes, emails, addresses, mobile phone numbers. They will help you prepare for the main call.
5. Ask for help. They can advise you with the best approach if you are struggling to get hold of your key contact - the best time to ring, or what to say which would interest them.
6. Sound professional and focussed. If you have some key contact information and need to get past try: Gatekeeper: 'Hello, Susan White speaking' You: 'Hello, could I speak to David please,(pause) David Black'. This may give the impression you know David although you have not been over-familiar.
7. Prepare. Prepare to deal with common obstacles such as: 'Is he expecting your call?' 'What is the call concerning?' 'Can I help?' 'Is this a sales call?' 'Can I suggest you put something in the post and he'll phone if he's interested' 'He is very busy right now' 'He won't be interested.