Gatekeeper asks "What's this call regarding?"

22 replies
I tried to find a post that's related to this on the forum but I couldn't find one so now I ask the brain trust.

What are some of your favorite responses when the gatekeeper asks, "What's this call regarding?" or "What's your call in reference too?"

I realize many of us are marketing different products and services so if you would like to share please state what you market and how you would respond to the gatekeeper in your attempt to speak to the decision maker.
#asks #gatekeeper #what this call regarding
  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    Why did you get that question in the first place?
    What was said that led up to that?
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    • Profile picture of the author rundmc56
      Originally Posted by vndnbrgj View Post

      Why did you get that question in the first place?
      What was said that led up to that?
      I have the the decision makers name. I ask if he's in. A good percentage of the time I go straight through but every once in a while the gatekeeper will say something like "Can I tell him what it's regarding?"
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    Tell them you are the

    "King of Rock, there is none higher, sucka Mc's call me sire"

    Now put David on the phone without delay.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      I've had very little experience with this. Almost never do they ask me what it's about. I say my name, and act like they should have heard of me.

      In one long cold calling jag, I had 3 people ask "What's this regarding?' I said to each of them "Do you want to hear the whole story?". In 2 instances, they just got him on the phone. In the third, I got his voice mail.

      I have no idea how well this would work in 100 attempts.
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      • Profile picture of the author Matthew Iannotti
        9 times out of 10 they ask you for your name and your company name only.
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      • Profile picture of the author rundmc56
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I've had very little experience with this. Almost never do they ask me what it's about. I say my name, and act like they should have heard of me.

        In one long cold calling jag, I had 3 people ask "What's this regarding?' I said to each of them "Do you want to hear the whole story?". In 2 instances, they just got him on the phone. In the third, I got his voice mail.

        I have no idea how well this would work in 100 attempts.
        "Do you want to hear the whole story?" I like that. It's creative. I really don't get asked, "What's the call regarding very much?" but when I do, coming up with a cute line to get pass through can be challenging. When you do a lot of prospecting numbers I would imagine most marketers would get a few of those gatekeeper questions now and then.
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      • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I've had very little experience with this. Almost never do they ask me what it's about. I say my name, and act like they should have heard of me.

        In one long cold calling jag, I had 3 people ask "What's this regarding?' I said to each of them "Do you want to hear the whole story?". In 2 instances, they just got him on the phone. In the third, I got his voice mail.

        I have no idea how well this would work in 100 attempts.
        Thanks. I read that in your book. I tested it and 12 people put me through over my 4 hour calling session.

        Sometimes having the name prompts them to ask you what it's about.
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  • Profile picture of the author socialentry
    if it sounds important, the girl will get scared and she'll pass you through.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    This happens frequently to people who are new to calling. You sound nervous so the gatekeeper challenges you.

    It lasts a week or two if you call consistently every day. Then it literally magically disappears. The problem is a head trash issue. As soon as you start getting comfortable on the phone, and stop seeing gatekeepers as blockers and start seeing them as helpers, it gets much easier.

    When I show people how to use the Little Unsure technique (post #5, and I uploaded a 2014 example a few days ago near the end of the thread), most times the gatekeeper will send them through because they set the conversation up the right way. But when they don't, I recommend repeating what you just said: "I help companies with (whatever it is you do). But like I said, I don't know who that would be there..." and trail off.

    The gatekeeper WANTS to transfer your call, as long as you give them sufficient reason. Almost any reason. It's more how you say it than what you say.

    I made some dials into a new niche (for me) recently. The very first gatekeeper I spoke with blocked me. There wasn't anything I could do about it; she was determined to block the call and take a message. OK. You are going to run into gatekeepers like that occasionally, and it is no big deal. Didn't happen again the entire rest of the session. The other gatekeepers are going to want to help you. Make it easy for them. Relax on the phone. Relaxing your voice is the #1 thing you can do to help yourself. Then keep it brief. Do not pitch the gatekeeper. It's not so much what you say, it's how you say it.
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    • Profile picture of the author joe golfer
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Relax on the phone. Relaxing your voice is the #1 thing you can do to help yourself. Then keep it brief. Do not pitch the gatekeeper. It's not so much what you say, it's how you say it.
      This is a great point. It's a subtle thing. My tone is relaxed and friendly, as if I am already a business partner. My tone of voice and inflection is that of someone they have done business with for 10 years.

      Think of calls you get from salespeople you've never met. You make snap decisions about them in milliseconds. Your mind is moving much faster than the words are they are speaking.

      You are making a judgement based on tonality, inflection, pacing and mood. If the salesperson is all hypey and hard sell, you make a decision about them immediately. No Soup For You! If they sound hesitant, like they don't really believe in themselves or the product, or they would rather being doing something, anything else, No Soup For You!

      Think about conversations you have with loyal, long-standing clients. Each person is relaxed, confident and focused. The tone is business-like, but there is trust and familiarity.

      Don't wait until a prospect is a customer to treat them like one. From your first contact, you are relaxed and professional, speaking from authority but without airs. I treat gatekeepers as if I worked with them at the company. How would you treat a coworker? You would probably ask about their weekend. Did they see that movie? How is their dog doing- is he still sick?

      Now, you may never ask these questions, but your tone reflects the same attitude you would have if you worked together. Think of it this way. When they become a client, who will you be seeing a lot when you make calls on them? The gatekeeper! If you don't think the client talks to the gatekeeper about you, you are mistaken.

      Nothing fazes you. No gatekeepers, no prospects, no CEOs--because you know your business better than them. In your world, you are the boss. They are relying on you. You are the prize. They need you. So relax. N'est-ce pas?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    What's this phone call regarding?

    It's Regarding Henry.

    LOL Sorry couldn't help myself.
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  • I think that reference would baffle anyone born after... 1985?

    "Harrison who?"
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  • Profile picture of the author Samuel Adams
    For one thing, if you are getting this question, it means there is someone higher up the food chain who instructed them to say that. This is a stall tactic, a way for decision makers and bosses to get some space away from telemarketers and sales people. And, it allows 'gatekeepers' to screen calls looking for specific names which might already be on an allowed list of people to let through. If you have taken time to get permission to call, then you're probably going to be allowed through. If not, you'll be treated like any other unwanted caller.
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    • Profile picture of the author rundmc56
      Originally Posted by Samuel Adams View Post

      For one thing, if you are getting this question, it means there is someone higher up the food chain who instructed them to say that. This is a stall tactic, a way for decision makers and bosses to get some space away from telemarketers and sales people. And, it allows 'gatekeepers' to screen calls looking for specific names which might already be on an allowed list of people to let through. If you have taken time to get permission to call, then you're probably going to be allowed through. If not, you'll be treated like any other unwanted caller.
      What you've said here is true but I was looking for techniques to increase the odds of getting a pass through.

      I've dealt with many tough gatekeepers who play hardball and I have to fold them or try again at a later date. But I've also been surprised to find out that if I engage the gatekeeper a little with humor and sincerity she folds and let's me through.

      I don't think it's black and white even with an instructed by the boss gatekeeper. After all, gatekeepers are human too...
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      • Profile picture of the author unglued
        On the rare occasion that I have to make such a call, I use my own version of Jason's unsure technique, but I set it up preemptively. As soon as the gatekeeper answers, I say "Well, I got an/a few ignorant question(s). Reckon you could help me ?"

        And I SMILE as I say it, because it matters. Your smile can actually be heard over the phone. It totally disarms them almost 100 % of the time. Then I proceed to ask just who I should speak to about whatever.

        This completely shifts the dynamic of the entire call, because the gatekeeper WANTS to help you if you ask him or her properly and respectfully. A legitimate and sincere question right out of the gate rather than a vomited solicitation usually gets this done flawlessly.

        Also, the casual way I speak my opener is exactly how I typed it above. It sounds very UN-solicit-esque, so to speak, and works nicely for me-especially delivered in my example of fluent central Alabamian vernacular.

        Most of you may understandably prefer a slightly more formal approach, and that's fine, but I like to think that this could be easily adapted to however you choose in actual execution. Hope it helps.

        unglued

        P.S. After a 3 drink lunch, Eddie Spangler's reply would be unbeatable. Maybe even bordering on immortal. ;-)
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        • Profile picture of the author goharnett
          Originally Posted by unglued View Post

          On the rare occasion that I have to make such a call, I use my own version of Jason's unsure technique, but I set it up preemptively. As soon as the gatekeeper answers, I say "Well, I got an/a few ignorant question(s). Reckon you could help me ?"

          And I SMILE as I say it, because it matters. Your smile can actually be heard over the phone. It totally disarms them almost 100 % of the time. Then I proceed to ask just who I should speak to about whatever.

          This completely shifts the dynamic of the entire call, because the gatekeeper WANTS to help you if you ask him or her properly and respectfully. A legitimate and sincere question right out of the gate rather than a vomited solicitation usually gets this done flawlessly.

          Also, the casual way I speak my opener is exactly how I typed it above. It sounds very UN-solicit-esque, so to speak, and works nicely for me-especially delivered in my example of fluent central Alabamian vernacular.

          Most of you may understandably prefer a slightly more formal approach, and that's fine, but I like to think that this could be easily adapted to however you choose in actual execution. Hope it helps.

          unglued

          P.S. After a 3 drink lunch, Eddie Spangler's reply would be unbeatable. Maybe even bordering on immortal. ;-)
          unglued has it right... ask them a question that they want to help you with.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
    Originally Posted by rundmc56 View Post

    I tried to find a post that's related to this on the forum but I couldn't find one so now I ask the brain trust.

    What are some of your favorite responses when the gatekeeper asks, "What's this call regarding?" or "What's your call in reference too?"

    I realize many of us are marketing different products and services so if you would like to share please state what you market and how you would respond to the gatekeeper in your attempt to speak to the decision maker.
    I usually ask for the decision maker by name too.

    'Hi, John isn't in the office now, is he?'

    'Yes he is actually.. what is this regarding?'

    'Let him know that it's Matthew calling from ABC company.. thank you.'

    As Jason said, people won't challenge you if you do it assumptively.
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    you cant hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket.

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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      If you call small businesses, often times, it's not the gatekeeper you're getting on the phone but the owner or president.

      Happens to me that I answer the phone and, realizing it's a telemarketer, I say what's this regarding? or tell them I'm not in.

      But you never know when you get something good out of a random call, so, sometimes, I try to help them, without letting them know they're talking to the person they were trying to reach.

      Often, they stick to their guns. They need to talk to the owner and no one else.

      A week ago, I told someone that the owner was not in but he might as well tell me what he wanted, because I make the decision, the owner just pays.

      She couldn't bring herself to tell me.

      Today, I had another one: She wanted to talk to the person who makes marketing decisions.

      Told her that person was not in but could I, maybe, help her?

      And, it annoys me to no end when they say, it's a business matter for the owner or some such thing.

      Anyone who answers the phones is instructed to hang up on anyone who says that.

      I make decisions for my business and for one other business.

      SEO peeps are the worst. They either won't tell me what they're about or tell me they can get me to be on page 1 for... I bothered a few days ago to tell one of them, Ahem, check this keyword... See #1, 2, 3 and 6, 7 and 9. Those are either pages from my website, my Google page, my facebook page or yelp glowing about my little company. Adjust your pitch.

      They did not adjust. So, I had to hang up.

      I do the SEO, but if someone can do it better than me for the same, I'd have no problem hiring them. So, far, it's been hard to get one to see that if they promise me things I've already accomplished, I don't need them unless they can maintain my visitor flow for less than it's costing me now.

      Rambling... the point was, what you think is a gatekeeper might be a decision maker if you're calling on small outfits. The other point, be flexible, hear what is said, and the tone it's being said in. And adjust.

      Originally Posted by Matthew North View Post

      I usually ask for the decision maker by name too.

      'Hi, John isn't in the office now, is he?'

      'Yes he is actually.. what is this regarding?'

      'Let him know that it's Matthew calling from ABC company.. thank you.'

      As Jason said, people won't challenge you if you do it assumptively.
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      • Profile picture of the author Matthew North
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        If you call small businesses, often times, it's not the gatekeeper you're getting on the phone but the owner or president.

        Happens to me that I answer the phone and, realizing it's a telemarketer, I say what's this regarding? or tell them I'm not in.

        But you never know when you get something good out of a random call, so, sometimes, I try to help them, without letting them know they're talking to the person they were trying to reach.

        Often, they stick to their guns. They need to talk to the owner and no one else.

        A week ago, I told someone that the owner was not in but he might as well tell me what he wanted, because I make the decision, the owner just pays.

        She couldn't bring herself to tell me.

        Today, I had another one: She wanted to talk to the person who makes marketing decisions.

        Told her that person was not in but could I, maybe, help her?

        And, it annoys me to no end when they say, it's a business matter for the owner or some such thing.

        Anyone who answers the phones is instructed to hang up on anyone who says that.

        I make decisions for my business and for one other business.

        SEO peeps are the worst. They either won't tell me what they're about or tell me they can get me to be on page 1 for... I bothered a few days ago to tell one of them, Ahem, check this keyword... See #1, 2, 3 and 6, 7 and 9. Those are either pages from my website, my Google page, my facebook page or yelp glowing about my little company. Adjust your pitch.

        They did not adjust. So, I had to hang up.

        I do the SEO, but if someone can do it better than me for the same, I'd have no problem hiring them. So, far, it's been hard to get one to see that if they promise me things I've already accomplished, I don't need them unless they can maintain my visitor flow for less than it's costing me now.

        Rambling... the point was, what you think is a gatekeeper might be a decision maker if you're calling on small outfits. The other point, be flexible, hear what is said, and the tone it's being said in. And adjust.
        If you aren't asking if they're the right person to speak with, this is going to happen a lot. Also with not asking if there would be anyone else involved with the decision gets you into sales cycles with people who have the interest but no authority to buy from you.

        Your post had a great point, thank you for reminding about it.
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        you cant hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket.

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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    I had a rep who used to say:

    "That's not pertinent to your position is it?"

    He pulled it off perfect, had the highest close rate in my call center. Other reps bombed with it. Could be worth a shot though
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