One day I went in to see a dentist who was on my prospecting list. He never advertised with us before. I went up talked to the receptionist being friendly but not phony. I even made her laugh a little bit. She told me to wait a few minutes she'll see if the dentist has a few minutes or would like to schedule an appointment and told me to have a seat.
There was another sales person that came in a few minutes after me. I don't know what he sold. He went up to the receptionist and he was extremely rude. In fact, I was kind of shocked at his rudeness. He was arrogant and cocky. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being confident, especially in sales. This guy was just over the edge of confident.
The receptionist was obviously very outwardly bothered by his behavior. She asked him to have a seat. He sat down a few seats away from me. He was giving me the eyeball with a smirk on his face. I just ignored him and was looking through my sales material.
Meanwhile, the receptionist went out of sight. A few moments later her and the dentist popped into the waiting area. After some quiet discussion, between them, he went over to the other guy.
He says, "Hello, my name is Dr. <his name>" I'm thinking, "You've got to be kidding me, I was here first." The other guy stood up and went to shake the dentist's hand. His whole demeanor changed. Because now he was talking to the dentist, and not a "lowly" receptionist. The dentist, did not extend his hand. Instead he went on to say: "My receptionist told me you were very rude. I don't do business with rude people. I don't care what company you're from or what you're selling, please leave and don't come back."
He looked like a dog with it's tail tucked between its legs walking out the door. I was kind of in shock. The dentist then turns to me and reaches out his hand to shake mine. He says, my name is "Dr. <his name>, my receptionist told me you were very nice and polite. I appreciate that. Follow me so we can talk."
She was beaming at me the entire time we walked back to his conference room. I sold him a very nice advertising package. I sent both her and the dentist a thank you card afterward too.
The moral of the story, be very aware of how you treat people who work for the owner of the company you are trying to sell to. Don't save your "best stuff" for the owner.
Always be nice, but not phony. I can't tell you how many times I experienced it that the "gatekeeper" was the spouse/relative of the owner. Just by me being nice to them, making them laugh a little, usually got me pretty far.
Oh, yeah, sometimes the gatekeepers aren't nice. You have to take it in stride. Understand it from their point of view. They have to deal with sales people all day every day. You're just one out of many who either call or come in.
Stay calm, stay cool. If you can make them smile or laugh, you may be able to win them over. Whatever you do, don't lose your cool and get angry, that will get you nowhere. If you keep your cool, you'll keep your dignity.