The classic screening line from the Guardian of the Gate is:
"May I ask what this call is regarding?"
If you are calling based on a referral, you can reply:
"_____ asked me to call _____."
"This is a personal call." (if the referral is personal, not professional)
Otherwise, the best overall reply is:
"I was informed that I needed to get in touch with _____ directly."
The reply may sound nebulous at best—but amazingly, it often works. A truly astute Guardian of the Gate, however, will follow with:
To which you reply:
"I was advised to only discuss this matter directly with _____."
How true! Who advised you to do this? I did. Here and throughout this book. You have read it, so consider yourself advised. Stick to your guns, even during that uncomfortable long pause that you may be forced to endure. Sure, it all sounds like a game and in a way, that is exactly what it is. Whoever has the most marbles in the end wins. You have just been loaded up with some tiger eyes, so take care to shoot them straight and fast. And keep shooting until you hit your target.