Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Getting Past the 'Gate Keeper'

Q. I am in sales and it is so very frustrating to always get voice mail, or the "gate-keeper" assistant when I want to talk to an important contact. Usually I believe the person I'm calling really wants to talk with me and will benefit from hearing how my service will improve his business, but I can't break through. Just leaving my name and phone number doesn't seem to work.

Ans. Here's a better plan. Prepare a short "One minute elevator pitch" and deliver it to the voice mail and/or the gatekeeper. Say your name clearly at the start, then again at the end and slowly add your phone number and email. It's a constant challenge in today's electronic media world to hear your person pick up the phone himself when you call, but you have to keep trying. Repeat the calls until you get an answer. Also ask someone in the office your person's email and send one email every day repeating the pitch. It takes patience to make any sale. Always keep all your messages short and simple.

Win Arguments, Keep Cool

Move Slowly into Direct Sales