“How was your day?”
“Great. The day just flew by.”
I’m sure at one time or another you’ve heard that reply. It just flew by. The best response would be, “Excellent. I got a lot done.”
You may think you’re productive at work (and you might be) but there are always ways to get more done during the day. Every once in a while you need to step back and ask yourself, “Am I working as smart as I could be?”
If you’re prospecting — making 75 to 100 cold calls a day — you need to be contacting the right people: decision makers. There will be times when you won’t know exactly who the ultimate decision maker is (“it’s a group decision,” they’ll say, “we all decide”) and you’ll have to weave your way through the process. Most of the time, however, you’ll know exactly who to speak with, yet Shirley the gatekeeper will steer you away from Bill and palm you off on a lower level executive. Don’t argue with Shirley. Take the information down and move on to the next call. Arguing with the gatekeepers only drains your energy, and just like clich? “the customer is always right” the secretary is always right. Bill, once he finds out about your conversation, will always side with Shirley no matter what was said and how it was said.
Don’t Hang Up and Re-Dial
If you’re calling on the same company to several decision makers don’t hang up after the first voicemail. Instead transfer to the next extension. If the company uses Audix (see previous blog on Audix & Cisco Unity Mess) type * “T,” type in the extension number and (hopefully) get somebody live. I’ve transferred several times on a single call before. You might say, “well, you’re only losing a few seconds by hanging up.” True. But if you’re hanging up on a daily basis and not transferring to another number, then over a period of time–days, weeks, months—you’re wasting a lot of time—those seconds soon add up to hours.
Rejection is part of the game. Don’t over analyze a bad call. Learn from it, jot down some quick notes, and move on.
Don’t Document Everything
When taking notes use acronyms. LM (left message), CAH (call after hours), KIM (keep in mind), etc. Get the gist of the conversation down quickly. “CB Q4, Bdg” = “Call back Fourth Quarter when she’s budgeting.”
Ask Shirley for Key Contacts
Shirley the gatekeeper is also your ally and can assist you in prospecting. Yes, you heard right: Shirley. There are a lot Shirleys in Corporate America who understand all about cold calling and know how difficult the job is and want to be helpful. So don’t be afraid to ask for their assistance.
“Shirley, I’m a little new at this. Do you have an organizational chart you can email me?” “Shirley, you sound like you know the company well. Do you have the names and numbers of the regional managers?”
You’ll be surprised how many Shirleys will help you out. You just have to ask.
The Internet and Email
Use the Internet to prospect and peruse the business news of the day. Get in and get out. Try not to get bogged down with the social pleasures of MyWaste and Facejob. The same goes for email. Address the business-related emails first. You can “friend” Aunt Sally when you get home.
A Quick Start and the Office Environment
When you get into the office get right to it. Don’t dilly-dally with the typical office chatter (“How was your weekend?”) and set the tone for workday. There’s nothing better to a good start to your day. You’ll also be setting a good example for the rest of the office.
Remember, working smarter and more efficiently is a work in progress. As time goes by you’ll discover subtle ways to fuel your productivity and make more deals. The time to start is now.