As a business professional, you know that increasing your production and your efficiency can lead to a lot more business. But how do you accomplish this task effectively? Here are a few different ways that you do just that.
The first step in increasing production in anything, whether it is a new product or a service is to get and stay organized. Successful professionals, no matter their business of choice realize that the only real way to know what is going on in your world is to keep it nicely ordered. One way to accomplish this task is to make use of specific time management tools. There are many tools on the market today. Find tools that work for you and master them. I personally use iCal, iPhone, Things for my to-dos and Tungle.Me for scheduling appointments.
These tools are a great way to not only stay organized, but also get into the habit of planning every day. You have a list of goals, correct? Well, by doing little tasks during the day, and planning for the next one, you will find that it is much easier to keep yourself on track, and have the ability to increase your production.
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork so that you’ll be able to ramp up production, the question becomes what is the most efficient way of doing it? There are a number of ways, but they all begin, really, with increasing your client pool, and the size and number of your orders. Start with a conversation with your current clients. Are their needs being met? Could an increase in your product lead to better sales or a more cost effective final product for them? By actually taking the time to talk to the client – really talk, mind you, it is fairly easy to find ways to fulfill their needs better.
Of course, supplementing your client pool with new possibilities is also a great way to find reasons to increase your production levels. The key, of course is to get through to the person making the decisions – and that means getting past their secretaries or administrative assistants.
As a rule, secretaries or administrative assistants are the company’s first line of defense against people wanting to sell them product or services. They are trained to filter out those who seem too pushy, or too eager. Most potential clients are lost not because the product is bad or the service unusable, but rather because the secretary is handled in an unprofessional manner.
Before making the phone call, do a bit of research on your potential client. What do they offer? How can your product or service coincide with what they are trying to do? Also, be sure to get the name and title of the person that you wish to ultimately speak to. Nothing causes a disconnection quicker than someone who hems and haws about who they wish to talk to. Next, when you make the phone call, remember to be very professional, very polite and friendly to the person who answers the phone. Ask their name, introduce yourself, and ask them for help. Many secretaries or administrative assistants are a great resource for learning the “trigger words” or “hot phrases” to their bosses. Above all, though, be honest – at this stage you’re not necessarily trying to complete the sale, just start a conversation with the right person. If something arises out of it great. If not, that’s okay as well. The connection has been made, and if you play your cards right it will come to fruition later.
Sometimes you run into a secretary that is a brick wall. She or he will provide no information, no avenues for discussion, just a cold and professional voice at the other end of the line. While you might not be able to close or even start the conversation today, how you handle yourself in this moment will either shut the door forever or leave the possibility to the future.
Remember to – remain professional and polite. The impression that this person has of you can greatly influence whether or not you are accepted as a viable option. Second, if you are told that the person is busy, ask for a specific time to call them back and offer to try and contact them through email. Be sure to follow through – both via the phone and email. That way, they will know that you are a serious professional.
Once you’ve made it through the gatekeeper, and with a polite and professional attitude you will, the next step is to present what you have to offer to who is in charge. This is the time to tailor your presentation to their needs, their aspirations, and yes, to their company. Remember the research you did earlier? By using that information, you chances of landing a new client, and a returning one increases exponentially. Remember, everyone, even the most hardened business owner wants to know that they can be the center of your professional world. A personalized presentation can do just that.
Finally, whether or not the potential client becomes a real client, follow up is an essential part of the whole process. Send them an official thank you note through the mail, and give the secretary a call to thank her for her help and expertise. This little bit of effort accomplishes two main things. One, it presents you as a professional, and two it allows you to remind them of the possibility of working with you in the future.
What's been your experience?