B2B Sales 101: Winning the Hearts of Administrative Assistants

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Making Nice With the Gatekeeper Gives You A Better Chance of Getting Through to the Boss

They call them the Gatekeepers, the Silent Sentinels, the Frontline Facilitators. Administrative assistants are the backbone of every organization. From the legal office receptionist in your small local town to the corporate assistants in bustling cities, these individuals work behind-the-scenes, quietly executing executive tasks and injecting their influence into every department they touch.

Assistants can grant access to opportunities, including coveted face-to-face time with high-level leaders. With a swift click on a calendar, they can make a sales rep feel incredibly lucky or disappointingly flat.

What’s the best way to ensure you’re one of the lucky ones? Why, by cracking the Gatekeeper Code, of course.

Techniques to Avoid

The Fast-Talking Bypass: When an administrative assistant answers a direct-line phone call, try not to hurriedly ask for the person you originally dialed. If that person were available, you would be speaking with them. Take the time to introduce yourself, ask the assistant how he or she is, and then inquire what the best way would be to get in contact with the boss.

The Voicemail Veto: The assistant you refused to leave a message with will be the same one listening to your voicemail. Try not to put a bad taste in the assistant’s mouth by demanding to be sent to voicemail. You don’t want his or her translation of your message to be tainted by negativity. When an assistant says, “Can I take a message?” go ahead and leave one. Save personal, confidential messages for in-person, direct communication.

SEE ALSO: LinkedIn is Better For B2B Networking

The Electronic Snub: When emailing, ask the leader if they have an assistant they’d like you to work with. When you know of an assistant, go through that person when sending out scheduling inquiries. To review: when an assistant is an option, use them first. Sending a scheduling inquiry directly to the boss will clog up the inbox and cause you further delays. Assistants schedule meetings, and while they may need to get approval for your meeting, they can certainly get in front of their boss quicker than you.

The Title Tantrum: When your clients are other businesses, it’s important to remember your title doesn’t mean nearly as much to them as it does to you. You may be the director of your region, or the CEO or founder of your business, but to the person on the other end of the line, you may as well be another stranger on the street. Do not expect your title to speak for you. Basic human considerations, such as saying please and thank you, will win more hearts than an air of entitlement.

The Liar Liar Pants on Fire: Lying to an assistant to get on an executive’s calendar is like nailing a lid on your coffin. Once the assistant catches on to what you’re doing (which, believe me, will absolutely happen by the time you arrive to meet with the executive), you’ll be forever stashed in the “untrustworthy” bucket. This is not a nice place to be when trying to schedule follow up meetings or project implementation sessions.

SEE ALSO: 6 Tips For A Perfect Sales Presentation

The Communication Choke: Leave a message, shoot off an email, and then please, please, please, just wait. No need to later call the assistant, then call the executive’s line, then send an email to the assistant, then send another email cc-ing the boss. You may think you’re pursuing all possible avenues, but to assistants, you’re undermining their ability to do their job. Give them a nice, polite window of time and then follow up—without tattling on them to the boss.

Techniques to Embrace

The Sweet Talker: There is absolutely nothing wrong with using an A-game sales mentality with an administrative assistant. They are people, too, and often susceptible to the same ego manipulation techniques executives are. Be polite and inquisitive, speak clearly, use eye contact if you’re in person, complement them, and thank them for their time. Making yourself memorable (in a positive way) is key.

The Personality Player: What is your personality power? Do you have a great sense of humor? A quick, dry wit? Are you wonderful at reading people? Can you tailor your mannerisms to meet someone else’s preferences? There’s a reason you are wonderful at selling your business. Capitalize on your passions, strengths, and uniqueness, and let the assistant see you do it.

SEE ALSO: Prepare for Your Next Meeting With LinkedIn

The Resourceful Renegade: Never underestimate an assistant’s ability to assist. They are the eyes and ears of their organization and often fully understand the operational tasks, requirements, and responsibilities of their leaders. They can also steer you in the right direction when you’ve called the wrong place. Try asking them for help. They can provide golden nuggets of information regarding staffing size, technology needs, or current vendor relations. Even if you don’t get to the boss that day, these tidbits of knowledge are invaluable.

The Candy Shoppe: You will occasionally find an assistant who doesn’t like chocolate. Take the risk. The gift will be remembered long after your face is forgotten. Sure, you may not want to be known as “The Vendor Who Brought Me a Basket of Chocolate-Covered Strawberries,” but leaving a good impression increases the chances of being called by your actual name someday by the executives who approve your invoices.

SEE ALSO: Your Sales Tactics Are Boring

The Graceful Defeat: Sometimes the fish just don’t bite. Every now and then, you’ll be turned down. Maintain your professionalism and ask if you can follow up in six months. Reach out through LinkedIn, both to the executive and the assistant. Send a holiday greeting to remind them you’re still around. Sometimes the business isn’t wanted, but the person behind the business is. Keep all avenues open by accepting your product may not be wanted now, but may be wanted later. When the need arrives, who is the executive more likely to turn to, a never-heard-of, dull sales caller or the nice vendor who sent a card at Christmas?

When your goal is to communicate with the executive, never pass up the chance to win the heart of the assistant. Money has been made and agreements signed soon after hearing the words, “Remember that woman who brought us Starbucks a few weeks ago? What’s her number again?” Guarantee your digits are dialed by solidifying your relationship with the one person who records, maintains, and organizes such things…the assistant.

Source: http://www.brijj.com/group/head-vp-gm-sales–link–B2b-Sales-101-Winning-The-Hearts-Of-Administrative-Assistants?eid=3769634

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3 Questions That Will Motivate Your Employees BY LAURA GARNETT

Forget money or touchy-feely stuff. These three clear questions will change the way staff approaches work.

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We all want to be motivated — and, as entrepreneurs, we love the idea of being able to motivate others. That’s great in theory, but it’s not always clear how to accomplish this within the day-to-day grind of a fast-moving business. What’s a busy entrepreneur to do?

It’s a widespread problem: According to Gallup’s most recent engagement research, 71 percent of Americans are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work. Those workers are less likely to be productive.

The traditional methods — higher pay, for example — produce mixed results. As Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic writes in Harvard Business Review, “If we want an engaged workforce, money is clearly not the answer. In fact, if we want employees to be happy with their pay, money is not the answer. In a nutshell: money does not buy engagement.”

So if the evidence is convincing, that higher pay doesn’t motivate, what does? The science tells us that intrinsic motivation, when there is interest or enjoyment of a task, is what really drives satisfaction at work. Dan Pink, author of the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, says there are three key drivers of motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

The problem is that most people don’t know how to create intrinsic motivation for themselves, much less be able to ask for it from their bosses. On the flip side, as bosses, trying to motivate can seem like an endless rabbit hole that’s far easier to ignore than to dive into. Instilling mastery and purpose seems too touchy-feely, and granting employees autonomy seems scary.

Motivation is a goal that ultimately falls into the hands of an individual — there’s only so much you can do as a boss, after all — but it’s important to create an environment where full motivation is possible. It’s your job to be the catalyst.

With that in mind, I have created a few easy questions that can make the task of motivating employees more standardized and manageable. Try asking your team these questions once a month — and create a regular dialogue that keeps the topic of motivation front and center.

1. What has been the most exciting work experience for you this month and why? 

2. Do you consider your current role your ideal job? What more could you be doing that would benefit the business — and make the experience more enjoyable for you in the process?

3. Do you feel that you get purpose from our mission and vision? If not, tell me what gives you purpose — and how you can leverage that mission for our business.

Use these questions as a catalyst for conversation. Let your employees know that its OK to not feel motivated; you can’t improve motivation without talking about it. Let them know that you are there to engage in the conversation and support them in doing their best work. Encourage them to come to you each month with ideas on how to increase their interest and motivation. To stay away from the touchy-feely, ask for specificity. Request that they bring projects, ideas, and a personal mission statement that aligns with the company’s.

If an employee is consistently unmotivated and dispassionate, it will soon be apparent to both of you that there isn’t a fit. However, more often than not, the conversation will catalyze employees to motivate themselves with the company goals in mind — which, at the end of the day, is your goal too.

Read more: http://www.brijj.com/group/entrepreneurship-and-venture-capital–link–3-Questions-That-Will-Motivate-Your-Employees?eid=3769242

5 Essential Lessons From Entrepreneurs

Mike KacsmarMike Kacsmar, EY

There’s a lot to be learned from entrepreneurs, — the men and women who lead, who change, who empower business, the economy and communities alike. Our team has spent the past few months speaking with entrepreneurs and sharing their insights with you through EYVoice. While they’re among the most diverse group of people you may ever meet, our conversations proved that there are a lot of commonalities among them. Here is a summary of what we learned:

Who you surround yourself with matters. Entrepreneurs tell us that more often than not, your employees are in your corner, so treat them well. “Employees want to make a difference,” said Steve Dabrow, third-generation owner of Chelten House Products. “Give them the opportunity and support to do so.”

Follow your heart … and your gut. Entrepreneurs achieve success by following their passions and doing what they know, deep down, is the right thing to do. This is true whether they’re talking about business plans, hiring strategies or product lines. Ben Lerer, Co-founder and CEO of Thrillist Media Group, may have said it best when he told us, “As long as we stay true to our gut, we’ll keep going in the right direction.”

Embrace your mistakes. Few of the world’s most recognizable entrepreneurs knocked it out of the park on their first try. For some, it took many tries before they hit on a strategy or idea that would really make people sit up and take notice. But the key, most agreed, is not to dwell on mistakes as tragic events. Instead, embrace them as opportunities for growth. “Every decision we’ve made along the way has brought us to where we are today. We have learned invaluable lessons, and I don’t think (we) would want to miss out on those,” said Natasha Ashton, Petplan , Inc.’s Co-founder, echoing what we’ve been told by many.

source: EY.com

source: EY.com

You’re not in it for the money. I often ask people, what made you become an entrepreneur? It’s rare that anyone tells me that they did it to become rich. Entrepreneurship isn’t a retirement plan. It’s an inbred trait that you either have or you don’t. And those that don’t force it are the ones we’re honoring each year at our Entrepreneur Of The Year galas. One solid way to explain it comes from Daniel Lubetzky, who founded KIND: “I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision to become an entrepreneur. I think I’ve always had the mindset and inclination to start things. I like to think about issues or problems in the world and try to figure out if I can create a solution … that is both economically sustainable and socially impactful.”

Know when to take advice — and when to leave it. Good entrepreneurs recognize that they don’t know it all, and find advisors that can fill the gaps. We’ve heard tales from those who gave great accolades to everyone from parents to board members, and even the professor who really forced an entrepreneur to press “pause” and rethink his strategy before moving forward. But we also heard from those who made consulting or hiring mistakes that resulted in misguided plans and recommendations. The takeaway is the same: listen to those who know what they’re talking about and don’t be afraid to move past those who don’t. “A CEO’s most important job is being a great people picker,” David Weinreb, CEO and board member of TheHoward Hughes HHC -0.43% Corporation, told us. “Over the course of my career, I have made it a focus to build a Rolodex of best-in-class people in their specific disciplines.”

Tell me: If you’re an entrepreneur, what are your greatest lessons learned? And if you’re not an entrepreneur, what has an entrepreneur taught you? How have you carried these lessons with you?

Our Website: Infinite Myriaads Corporate Training Programs Providing Company in Mumbai

7 Essential Habits of a Healthy Entrepreneur

Scott Christ BY SCOTT CHRIST | February 19, 2014

mage credit: Shutterstock

mage credit: Shutterstock

So there I was, exhausted at the end of a long work day, frustrated by a particularly stressful drive home and contemplating pouring a stiff bourbon and withering away on the couch for a couple hours.

Then something happened.

My habits took over.

You see, I had “programmed” the habit of exercising every day at 6 p.m. into my brain.

And once the clock struck six, it was as if a magical pumpkin whisked me into my closet to grab my workout gear and head downstairs to burn off some steam.

Turns out entrepreneurship and taking care of your health are quite synonymous.

A big part of that is because both require habitual actions. And according to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, these habits comprise 40 percent or more of the daily decisions we make.

Here are seven things entrepreneurs can do to stay on top of their business AND their health.

1. Learn something new every day. Healthy entrepreneurs are lifelong dreamers. They work hard, play hard and think harder. They love to read, listen to audio books and absorb as much knowledge as they possibly can. Not only do they educate themselves about topics relevant to growing their business, they also seek knowledge about what it takes to be healthy. They know healthy behaviors have a direct impact on their business.

2. Set goals and create systems to achieve your goals. Healthy entrepreneurs These folks also understand that knowledge without application is the quickest path to failure. They go beyond learning — they apply. Because they realize the day-to-day journey and seemingly tiny steps are the only ways to achieve their end goal.

3. Spend your “downtime” wisely. The average person spends around 3 hours a day watching TV. Don’t be that person. To stay healthy, focus on staying busy building your business, taking care of yourself and your family and trying to change the world. One recommendation is to meditate or take time to write down your goals.

4. Make exercise a priority. A healthy body will help cultivate a healthy mind. Yet the CDC says 80 percent of adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say that adults should get 2.5 hours a week or more of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two strength training sessions per week. Even if you’re crazy busy, find 10 minutes here and there. It will help with alleviate stress and get those endorphins pumped up to take on startup challenges.

5. Eat less junk food. Think of food as fuel: The higher quality fuel you put in your tank, the better you’ll perform. You don’t need to diet or cut foods out to eat healthy either. Just eat more real food — stuff that comes from nature — instead of processed junk and fast food. By doing so, you could help improve your energy endurance (no sugar crashes) and mood, among other benefits.

Related: A Healthy Work/Life Balance Is No Unicorn

6. Sleep more. All entrepreneurs experience the grind of late nights, early morning meetings and last-minute deadlines. But healthy entrepreneurs know that sleep is vital to their success. Whether you rise early and tackle your important projects first thing in the morning or you’re a night owl, find a consistent sleep routine and stick to it. And never underestimate the power of a good power nap to recharge your brain.

7. Create balance in your life. Healthy entrepreneurs treat health as a lifestyle. You can’t put a Band-Aid on a bad business plan, just like you can’t eat healthy for a week and expect to lose weight. Successful entrepreneurs wholeheartedly embrace healthy living: They work smarter, not harder.

Entrepreneurship and health go hand-in-hand. Each will teach you valuable lessons about the other.

Aside from family, friends, and relationships, there are few things more important in your life than your health and your career. When you passionately pursue both of these things you can experience a longer, more fulfilling life.
Sourcehttp://www.brijj.com/group/entrepreneurship-and-venture-capital–link–7-Essential-Habits-Of-A-Healthy-Entrepreneur?eid=3768380

Life Skill Education

lifeskill Living in exponential times our children have multiple challenges to face in today’s world. Not only is success measured by the scores they get in school but also by the various other achievements in the multiple fields that they have enrolled themselves for.

In our eagerness to support children’s achievement, we sometimes forget that potential is not a lofty end goal but the capacity to grow, learn and adapt to change throughout life. It is about discovering a fulfilling and meaningful life, one that cannot be measured by numbers.

In order to help the child grow and develop into a well-rounded personality one needs to focus on overall development beyond the academic curricula. We need to look at enhancing life skills such as self awareness, empathy, interpersonal skills, communication etc. These skills give the child the ability for adaptive and positive behavior that enables them to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.

The overall development of the child is not gained by learning by rote the capital of the world, the formulas and equation and definitions. Those piece of knowledge are only getting the child to gain knowledge,which needs to be supplemented with life skills.

In the article written by Thomas Friedman titled Middle-class jobs are becoming obsolete faster than ever Tony Wagner, the Harvard education specialist, in his book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” is that our K-12 and college tracks are not consistently “adding the value and teaching the skills that matter most in the marketplace.” Which is why the goal of education today, as per Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” – ready to add value to whatever they do.

In India what it seems we’re lacking is that element in education process of character, alongside all the other academic pieces which are equally important. We are hearing a lot of debate on the education system, and we have seen some changes but we still have a long way to go. Our education system still has a colonial hangover not geared to support innovators and creative people.

We can make a small beginning by getting our children to undergo some of the life skills as part of the school currcula.These programs are intensive, fully assessed and designed to equip students to go through the turbulence of adolescence ,help him steer clear of irresponsible decisions throughout his life. Good life skills enable your child to manage money responsibly, make realistic choices, stand up to peer pressure and be a good parent in the long term.

The life skills which we feel should be addressed are

  1. 1. Self-awareness –Self awareness is a way to explore our individual personality
  2. 2. Empathy –to understand and accepting the feelings thoughts and attitudes of others  contributes to the ability to initiate relationship, sustenance of relationships, ability of negotiations and compromise and most importantly the art of terminating a relationship amicably and constructively .
  3. 3. Effective communication combines a set of skills including non- verbal communication ,attentive listening the ability to manage stress in the moment and the capacity to recognize and understand your own .
  4. 4. Critical thinking enables one to analyze, evaluate , explain and restructure their thinking about information and experiences in an objective manner
  5. 5. Creative thinking –aims at sharpening reasoning skills and sparks a child own creative solution to conflict .
  6. 6. Decision making a skill which encompasses the thought process of selecting a logical choice from the available options.
  7. 7. Problem solving means the flair to understand a situation and then form a workable solution . These skills are important for REAL life!!! .The ability to approach a problem with the I can attitude
  8. 8. Coping with stress- All children experience stress. Coping with stress is about identifying the sources of stress in our lives, recognizing how this affects us, and acting in ways that help to control our levels of stress.
  9. 9. Coping with emotions involves recognizing a child’s ability to deal with manage control emotions in themselves and others, being aware of how emotions influence behaviour, and being able to respond to emotions appropriately.

As per Wagner in the article written by Thomas Friedman titled Middle-class jobs are becoming obsolete faster than ever – “Today, because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate – the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life – and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration which are vital to be parallel with academic knowledge.

So what one needs to teach the children to today is not only teach content how to think and ask the right questions and to take initiative.

As per Thomas Friedman the most innovating education system is Finland “and it is the only country where students leave high school ‘innovation-ready.’ They learn concepts and creativity more than facts, and have a choice of many electives – all with a shorter school day, little homework and almost no testing. In the U.S., 500 K-12 schools affiliated with Hewlett Foundation’s Deeper Learning Initiative and a consortium of 100 school districts called EdLeader21 are developing new approaches to teaching 21st-century skills.

These are islands of excellence, such drastic new models cannot be expected in our country in a hurry but I am sure we can evolve our own unique and effective education system. After all we have a legacy of the guru shishya model of education.

So let’s start with teaching our kids life skills in schools and build a well-rounded personality who can take on the challenges of the world and contribute innovatively.

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