I often hear people in the B2B (Business To Business) sales and B2B collection industries complaining about getting past the receptionist on the phone to the decision maker. This is a big problem that many people have so you are not alone. Receptionists are basically blockers for the company. This means that they are the first person that you will speak to when you call or visit the company.
If you are someone who the decision maker does not want to speak with then they are told to not let you speak with them. This includes mainly all sales and collection calls.
The way you get past the receptionist on the phone all depends on the person and what type of business you have with the company. If you are in sales, just pitch them what you would pitch the decision maker. Do not sound like you are reading from a script because everyone hates that.
You want to develop a good rapport with the receptionist in order for them to put you through. If they hang up on you oh well, do not get discouraged and move on to the next call. The more people you contact the better you will do.
As far as collection calls go I take a different approach. If you are doing consumer (personal) collection calls you must read and understand The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). When you call on a commercial (business) collection account there are no FDCPA laws to follow.
I start by asking for the person in accounts payable. If the receptionist tries to get more information I tell them exactly what is going on. This information would be the company they owe, the amount, etc. Normally that does it and they pass me off to the appropriate person. There are some cases that are a bit more challenging but that comes with the territory.
The most important thing is just to be able to read the person you are speaking with over the phone. Is this person easy going or are they stiff? Are they willing to chit chat or do they just want you to get to the point? All of these things you will be able to tell when you are in the field for a while.
So my advice to people who are just getting into either B2b sales or B2b collections is just to stick with it. You will run into several objections which you will learn to overcome as you go along.
You cannot get upset about rejections because you will get a lot of those. Then once you make a sale or collect your first past due account it will all be worth it. Also, take advice from your fellow workers who have been in the field for a while.