Try the "Trojan Horse" method. Tell the Secretary/gatekeeper (usually a Female) that you are offering "free-samples" (whatever you`re selling), or complementary something. Try this: "Hello! "FREE CANDY" is my name! And I would like to send you (sorry! What is your name)...bla..bla." Sounds crazy right? - It`s not!
This should at least "disarm" that person. Offer the gatekeeper something that is especially directed at them (most secretaries feel they "run the joint" anyway - as MOST DO! And welcome ANY due compensation they can get). Then ask to speak to THE MAN behind the double doors.
It`s like throwing a STEAK to a watchdog.
Unless your free samples (products) are expensive.
I am a lot like you! And WE are a lot like most OTHERS. Therefore, a little "stagefright" is normal (that`s what we`re really talking about). But heck! As I get older - the less I care! Are these people (prospects) ever going to show up at my door saying: " Hey! That was a so-so attempt to circumvent my superior armor - what were you thinking! - I am greater than you". Answer: NO!
Generic opening? Well, if you`re selling COOKIES. Rinnnng..Rinnng..Rinnng. ( Them: Hello! - I Can`t be bothered with you Incorporated). YOU: Free COOKIES are coming your way Lucky Lady! (Them: They ARE?) YOU: That`s right! What is your name? (Them: Mrs. Much More Pleasant than I would be without the FREE COOKIE TALK).
Think of yourself as Dr. Phil trying to creat an "AWAKENING" within the heart of some pure & lonely PHONE DRONE! Have fun with it.
Here is a great article from a blog I happened upon a few months ago. While it is not directed to Hospital gift shops per se, it does give one shop owner`s perspective on being approached by vendors. I found it very interesting, because the auther is not only a shop owner but also a designer of handmade goods, so she understands both sides of the coin, so to speak.
I hope this helps.
Get the decision makers name. Call after work hours and leave a message on the voicemail saying that you will be in area and will stop in the office at 10am the next morning. Show up and say that you have a meeting at 10am with the decision maker. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn`t!