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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20 Tips to Solve the Biggest Problems with Time Management

By , Published February 6, 2014

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You can’t “manage” your time but you can learn to better manage yourself.  “Time management” takes discipline and commitment. There are many hindrances to time management but they all relate back to how you regulate your life and productivity levels. It is a matter of the daily choices you make and how you set your priorities. If something is that important to you, then you will get it done; otherwise, you will make excuses. Your success depends on getting the most out of each day.

We seem to think we have so little time to effectively manage our days and have some semblance of work life balance. You too want to get more things accomplished while the clock keeps ticking and more tasks seem to pile up. It can take all of the discipline you can muster to tune out the influx of information coming at you. Time can be an elusive mystery when you are in a constant struggle to find more of it, so it is up to you to invest in your time, in your life, in your business.

“People are always trying to find ways to save more money, but saving time may be the true mark of success.” Geoff Williams

Get a handle on your time, your interruptions, your distractions and your data overload. The first step toward success is to be cognizant of the level of disturbances which you allow into your day. It could revolve around the daily notifications you receive regarding text messages, emails, news alerts, phone calls or any other immediate disruption that diverts your focus from the task at hand. Learn to be fully engaged with whatever you are working on and give it 100% of your focus, otherwise, it may only get half done or be done inefficiently. Decide what is most critical and stop multi-tasking. It diminishes your productivity, may change your brain chemistry and increase your error rate.

Another substantial detraction from your efficiency level is the organization of your office space. When you create a more structured environment you become more efficient and effective. You are no longer scrambling to locate important papers, files, emails or even your keys. Your time management increases as does your personal and professional productivity. Your setting is not just about physical space but mental as well. If you reside in chaos or mayhem, it does transmit into your work habits and daily living.

Being busy, doesn’t equate to being productive. You could be wasting your time and energy doing menial tasks or simply procrastinating. Focus on real work that gets you closer to your goals. Ask yourself, “Does this serve my goals? Is it getting me closer to completion?”

“When we’re busy, we see that as being productive, when productive is really narrowing down what we need to do.” Cathy Sexton, time management specialist.

Time Management:

When you learn to manage yourself, you will better manage your time.

  1. Turn off notifications
  2. Set priorities and goals
  3. Don’t procrastinate
  4. Time block your day and schedule
  5. Organize your data
  6. Institute systems and processes
  7. Develop a routine
  8. Set boundaries
  9. Use your calendar for appointments and To Dos
  10. Use action steps for items on your To Do list
  11. Stop multi-tasking
  12. Keep your workspace orderly
  13. Use news aggregators for your RSS feeds
  14. Automate social postings
  15. Schedule time to engage in social media and stick to it
  16. Check email at specific intervals
  17. Learn to say no
  18. Get appropriate amounts of sleep
  19. Know your most productive time of day
  20. Delegate

“He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.”  Victor Hugo

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What steps are you ready to implement in order to become more productive and manage your time? Sound off!!

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/strategy/20-tips-solve-biggest-problems-time-management-2-0769181#RuLuuB8ay2vbmYFE.99

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Read more at http://www.business2community.com/strategy/20-tips-solve-biggest-problems-time-management-2-0769181#RuLuuB8ay2vbmYFE.99