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How to Make It Past the Front Desk - Tips for Sales People Visiting Offices

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!


It's Dirty Work, But Somebody's Got to Do It

Ah, sales people. To some of you, that sends a chill down your spine. To others, it is just a way to make a living. Whether you are the person that must deal with sales people, or you actually are a sales person, we all know the deal. A person knocks on your door, sends you random emails, or calls you and tries to sell something. That is annoying enough, but if you work at an office, sales people often like to "drop by" to sell a product or offer a service. 9 times out of 10, it is a nuisance for everyone involved.

My co-workers and I were discussing today some of the many sales people that walk through our door. Usually, they walk through the door and then we march them right back out. Every now and then, we might be feeling generous and take their brochure. Sometimes, they may even get to meet the actual person who could hire them or buy from them. Those folks are few and far between though. So you may ask: why do some get past the front desk, yet others don't? Well, my friend, I will share with you some tips. If you are a sales person, you can give some of these ideas a try to see how it works out for you.

Books to Help You

Know a Name

My co-worker and I are kind of like "the gatekeepers" at the front of our office. We are actually not receptionists; we are not lucky enough to have one of those. Instead, we are the two unfortunate souls stuck sitting in the front of the office. So this means, we are like powerful little front office dictators when sales people visit us. If you are a sales person, always try to impress the person at the front desk. The first thing that impresses us: know whose name to mention when walking through the door.

If you walk through the door and ask to speak to our IT Manager, yet you don't know his name, we know you do not have an appointment. If you are going to show up unannounced, yet not bother to even google us online to find out the name of our IT Manager, you are going to be out the door in about 1 minute. Even if you don't have an appointment, act with some confidence when mentioning the manager's name and you might be able to fake your way into the office.

Personality and Appearance Go a Long Way

OK, so you are a sales person and maybe it is not your dream job. Maybe you are fresh out of college and this was all you could get. Perhaps you got laid off and now you are stuck at this crummy sales position. Sure, I feel your pain. However, that does not give you any reason to mope into the office and not give it your best shot.

When approaching anyone at the front desk SMILE. Pretend you are happy to be there. Make a little small talk. Don't be too cocky though; we can smell the fakeness on you from a mile away. Also, catch a vibe from the people at the front desk when you walk through the door. Are they happy? Do they look busy? Many people stuck at the front desk in a number of offices now are doing about 5 jobs at once. If the front desk folks look tired, frustrated, angry, etc., this is probably not going to be your day. Don't come off too strong and just leave your card if they seem somewhat receptive. If you are too pushy, we will call security on you. If it has been a really bad day, it actually brings us a lot of joy doing just that.

Now, here is a moment when I am going to sound shallow. Unfortunately, appearance does count. If you come in dressed nicely and looking professional, it is going to help you. I have a confession - I do enjoy it when a really hot guy walks through the door, too. Is it wrong to say that? Yes. Am I being 100% honest with you right now? Yes. My job is not the most exciting one in the world, so it helps when some cute guy comes in and makes my day less mundane. So look your best. You don't have to be the best looking person on the planet, but at least look as nice as possible when you are going door to door trying to sell anything.

Did Someone Say Chocolate?

Bring Food!

My co-worker and I totally agree if you bring us food, we are more than happy to welcome you through the door. You can even have an annoying personality, but we are still not going to call security and turn you in. If you work for a catering company and you want to work with our company, bring in samples of your food. Chances are, we will call our person that handles the catering and bring her up on the spot. Even if she is not available, we are happy to be amateur food critics and let you know how the food tastes. We are totally delighted to put in a good word for you with anyone you'd like. We just really like food!

Even if you are not with a catering company, food still works. Bring us some chocolates or some cookies. Earn some brownie points with us by bringing in brownies. Trust me, we are much more likely to pass your information on to the person in the right department. Keep bringing us food and we'll keep helping you out. Seriously, we work at the front desk. We totally accept bribes.

If All Else Fails, Sympathy Works

Every now and then, I will admit, I have a soft spot for a sales person that is just hopeless. I know it is a bad economy, and he or she has been going around all day trying to find business. I understand it must be awful. If you don't have a lot of charisma and you're painfully shy, I might feel bad for you. It doesn't happen a whole lot. After all, our building actually has a no soliciting policy, so I get frustrated when I am busy and interrupted by a sales person. However, if you are hunched over and scared of me, I might pity you. I certainly won't call security on you.

I once felt sorry for a very pregnant and tired sales woman. I took all her brochures and put in a good word for her. I figured she really needed the business if she was still going door to door at offices when she looked to be around 9 months pregnant. Of course, do I know that for certain? No. For all I know, she'd stuffed a pillow up her shirt and she was using the whole pregnancy look just to get our attention. Whatever! It worked.

I am not saying fake a pregnancy, but I am saying do what you have to do. Try a few techniques and see what works. Don't walk in with an overly cocky attitude or you will be meeting one of our lovely security guards in no time. Also, do a little research on our company and throw out a few names, and that will at least keep you in the lobby longer than someone walking in unprepared. Even if this isn't your first choice in jobs, keep in mind, most of the people sitting at the front desks aren't loving life either. Not too many people are working at the job they really want right now, so make the most of what you have and good luck!

Copyright ©2011 Jeannieinabottle

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Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on May 23, 2012:

emilybee - I know what you mean. When I interview for a job, I also pay close attention to the front desk workers. Do they seem too stressed? Are people nice to them when they walk by? What are the receptionists talking about? I did not accept a job once because the receptionist was on the phone the whole time complaining about how little everyone helped her and how mean the staff could be and how she was interviewing for a better job the next week. Ummm... yeah. Not a good sign. You can learn a lot about a business from watching the front desk. Thanks for checking out my hub!

Stephanie Henkel - Yes, it takes a really special sales person to get past me, especially if I am really busy. I work at a place where I have to be overly sugary sweet to every customer and co-worker. If I am having a bad day and some sales person comes in uninvited, this is the one person I can kick out and I am happy to do it. Free food and free mugs help a lot in preventing me from kicking someone to the curb. :-) Thanks for dropping by my hub!

Stephanie Henkel from USA on May 22, 2012:

Good tips! The front desk receptionist is the office's gate guard. She/he knows who might have a few minutes to give to a sales rep, and she can make a quick judgement for or against that happening. Your advice to make a good impression on the receptionist is right on!

Of course, everyone loves food! I have also had sales people stop in with little samples of their wares, like a free logo mug. Bribery is low, but it often works!

emilybee on May 22, 2012:

This is a great hub, too. You know your stuff! Your tips are right on. As a person currently looking for a job and going on a few interviews lately, I know the power in the hands of the front desk person. It always pays to be polite to them :) I totally agree about knowing peoples names, I hear many people asking to speak to the HR person and I feel proud that I took the time to Google the business first and that I made a much greater first impression :) Great tips :)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on October 14, 2011:

Seriousnuts - Thanks for the vote up! Sales people can be so annoying. They come off as aggressive and most front desk people aren't going to tolerate it. We deal with grumps on the phone all day, doing everyone else's work when they don't want to do it, and fix problems all day. When a sales person walks through the door, I simply have no patience for them. Hopefully, some sales people will read this and stop being so annoying.

Movie Master - Thanks for the vote up! I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Yes, food always help in any situation. Free food is a good idea for anyone trying to bribe someone at a job.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on October 14, 2011:

Hi Jeannie, a wonderful, entertaining hub as always, really enjoyed it, the best tip is taking in food, yep that would have worked for me too!!

Voting up, best wishes MM

seriousnuts from Philippines on October 13, 2011:

Those are very useful tips. Though I am not a salesperson, I'm sure I could find these tips handy in the future. I remembered when I was still applying for a job, some companies won't even let me past the reception. I am thinking that if only I had thrown in a few names, I would definitely get past the security guard. Being a salesperson is a very difficult job, I often encounter them and I have to admit they could get very annoying. They usually come at the wrong time. Great hub - voted up.

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