Cold Calling: How To Put An End To Voice Mail Jail

As you prospect, do you long for a real live person to answer your phone calls?

Are the phrases, “I’m not able to answer your call in person right now…” “I’m in a meeting right now or talking with another client…” and “If you want help with this, please press #2, #1,…” starting to wear on your last nerve… like nails on a chalkboard?

Are you feeling trapped by the very technology that was supposed to serve you?

Well, you’re in good company.

Our informal survey shows the overwhelming majority of sales professionals share your frustration. One of the most frequently asked questions asked by our clients is, “I leave a lot of voice mail messages without getting any personal contact–ever. Do you have any tips for me?”

Yes, I do!

There are simple, yet effective steps to take that will get you around voice mail so you can make contact with a human!

Whether the recording indicates it or not, many systems will reroute your calls to a human being if you press the “0” Operator button on your phone.

Then when your prospect’s operator/receptionist answers, you can honestly say, “I was connected to the executive’s voice mail and I’m looking for a real, live, breathing, speaking human to talk to directly. Is the executive or the executive assistant in today?”

Chances are that you’ll get an empathetic chuckle from the receptionist. Those folks understand how annoying pre-recorded messages can be.

If your prospect isn’t readily available in person, the operator often knows that and will be glad to offer to reroute your call to another human being within the company, such as the executive’s assistant, who can tell you the whereabouts of your prospect.

Equally as import as circumventing voice mail jail is knowing what to say when you succeed and make contact with your prospects operator/receptionist!

In many companies, the operator is authorized to page the prospect for you or to connect you to direct line-if you do one thing in particular…

What’s the key to “authorizing” the operator to search for your prospect on your behalf?

You must ask for your prospect by first and last name and pronounce both correctly.

Here’s an Insider’s secret peek into the mechanics of the executive suites that will equip you to understand what’s going on in their world. Really good executive assistants, with the approval of their executives, talk with receptionists and give them specific guidelines for handling inbound callers who ask for the President’s office.

There are so many calls each day that they must come up with a system of handling them. Or never get any work done! Executive assistants direct receptionists to divert inbound callers who say, “I’d like to be connected to the President’s office please.” The preferred method of handling such callers is to politely reroute them to voice mail jail.

With your new knowledge of this Insider’s secret you’ll want to call and say, “I’m calling to speak to Jack Doe or his assistant, Mary.” You’ll find you receive a different kind of treatment when you use these words. Because of their “in-house” system for handling inbound calls, the operator/receptionist will be more likely to give you the inside scoop as to their whereabouts.

Then, because your words indicate that you “know the rules” the receptionist is far more likely to be forthcoming with information that will help you, information such as whether or not the executive is in the office and the best time to call back to reach them in person.

Those executives and their assistants are early risers!

They frequently slip into the office between 7:00 and 7:30 AM. Executives take advantage of the still of the morning to work through the ever-present to-do list without interruption.

Knowing this about the habits of executives, many a successful sales professional will make prospecting calls during those times and connect with their high-level prospects on the first ring.

Use these tips to circumvent voice mail, be relentless in your pursuit for a human, and get ready to smile as you make personal contact with a real, live, person who wants to do business with you!

Forward this article to friends-they’ll thank you for it!

E-mail Protocol – 12 Simple Rules to Stay Connected

Electronic mail is a quick, easy, and convenient way to
instantly link up with people around the globe. To ensure
our messages don’t confuse or alienate others, it’s important
to practice basic e-mail etiquette. Here are twelve simple e-
mail rules to keep you connected and make sure every
communiqué is clear, polished, and professional.

Rule #1 – Be concise. Follow the KISS rule (keep it short
and sweet). Get to the point in a clear manner. Keep
paragraphs short – three or four sentences at most. If you
find you need to send an e-mail that is longer than a few
short paragraphs, revise the message or consider picking up
the phone or paying a personal visit instead.

Rule #2 – Watch your words. Before sending any e-mail,
check your message. Ask yourself, “What is my purpose for
sending this e-mail?” Anger, enthusiasm, and anxiousness
are all emotions that can trigger an itch only an immediate
heated reply can scratch. Always consciously choose your
words and be sure every communiqué accurately and clearly
conveys your message. Be careful about what you say and
how you say it because your words can come back to haunt
you. Words, especially the written word, can live and be
remembered forever. Don’t say something in the heat of the
moment that you can’t take back.

Rule #3 – Follow a format. Every correspondence you send
is a reflection of you and your organization. Therefore, at a
minimum, each e-mail needs to have these elements – a
greeting, a skipped line before and after each paragraph, a
closing or call for action, and a signature (which identifies
you and provides alternate ways to contact you).

Rule #4 – Spell check. While spell check can accurately
check for misspellings, it won’t recognize all errors. Before
you hit the send button, check every e-mail for spelling,
punctuation, and grammar. An e-mail filled with multiple
errors is not only difficult to read and understand; it tests the
patience of the recipient, who may decide your message has
no value and simply is not worth reading.

Rule #5 – Send messages to your outbox first. Disable the
“auto send” feature in your e-mail software and, instead,
have messages sent to the “outbox” first. This gives you a
second chance to review your e-mail for content and intent.
If your e-mail is a reply, you will now be able to reread the
original message to be sure you didn’t misunderstand the
message. When in doubt, seek clarification before
responding.

As a rule, always wait at least 24 hours before responding to
a heated e-mail. This is often enough time to cool off and
think clearly. Reread the message and ask yourself if you
misinterpreted the e-mail. If so, at least now you can hit
“delete” instead of “send.” Remember to always
communicate with integrity and respect.

Rule #6 – Avoid writing in all caps. Text written in all caps is
hard on the eyes and is difficult to read. More importantly,
all caps in an e-mail SCREAMS at the reader. Better to write
in upper and lower case. If you need to draw attention to a
word, consider using bold or italics for the emphasis.

Rule #7 – Reply to all sparingly. When you respond to a
mass e-mail (a message sent to multiple recipients), determine
whether everyone listed needs to receive your reply. If a
reply to the sender only is sufficient and appropriate, hit the
“reply” vs. the “reply to all” button to cut down on multiple
and unnecessary mail.

Rule #8 – Stay current. Just like voice mail, be sure to keep
your auto-reply message up-to-date. An outdated auto-
reply is as bad as dated voice mail – information that serves
no purpose.

Rule #9- Office e-mail is never personal. Unless you own
the company, any e-mail sent via your office computer is the
property of the employer and is subject to their purview.
There is no such thing as personal e-mail at work. Be aware
and watch what you say because every message represents
you and the organization.

Rule #10 – Stay organized. Attempting to save every e-mail
creates clutter. Get in the habit of saving only necessary e-
mails and discarding the rest. Be sure to delete messages
from your inbox, deleted, and sent message boxes. This will
cut down on the clutter and free up much needed computer
space. Review periodically so you don’t feel overwhelmed at
the sight of months’ or years’ worth of messages. If your
box is full right now, commit to reviewing at least 15
messages from each box daily until you are all caught up.
Also, be sure to regularly back up all mail boxes, just in case.

Rule #11 – Answer e-mail. I can’t tell you how many times
I’ve sent an e-mail requesting specific information only to
receive a reply with half, if any, of my questions answered.
This now requires sending a second message to get the
necessary answers. When responding to an e-mail with
multiple questions, type your response right next to the
questions in a different color font than the original message.
This clearly shows your reply and enables the reader to
easily match the response to a question and ensures you
have answered all of the sender’s questions.

Rule #12 – Be patient. With the proliferation of text
messaging, PDAs, and Blackberrys, many people send an e-
mail and expect an on the spot response within moments of a
message being sent. It’s unreasonable to expect others to
drop everything to instantly cater to your every whim.
When sending e-mail, be patient and allow a reasonable
amount of time to pass before you expect a reply.

Electronic mail can open up doors to you from around the
world. Apply these twelve simple e-mail rules and your
messages will be clear, concise, and always connected.

Don’t Let Your E-mail Account Cost You a Job Opportunity

1. If you are looking for work, it is common practice to include your e-mail address on your resume just like you would include your telephone number and mailing address. But if you don’t handle your e-mail account correctly you could be shooting yourself in the foot.

2. A “silly” e-mail address can turn off a prospective employer.

3. Something as simple as listing more than one e-mail address can cause confusion.

4. It is inappropriate to use an employer’s e-mail address on a resume – that is kin to stealing company assets.

5. Having an e-mail address with a strange extension (e.g., .org) might make something think you are self employed or using an employer’s e-mail address

6. The worst dangers of all: Blocking your incoming e-mail, failing to read your email, or failing to empty your email account.

Dealing with e-mail today means dealing with spam – lots and lots of spam. As a result of all the spam, many e-mail providers now offer ways to block incoming e-mails. But if you are not careful, your attempt to block your spam could block your ability to get e-mails regarding your resume. Here are some things you need to consider regarding your e-mail account while you are looking for work:

1. Don’t set your e-mail filter to allow only your friends to send you e-mail. This will result in only those individuals who you have pre-approved getting their message to you – since it is impossible to know what e-mail address a potential employer is going to use, your e-mail filters will likely block incoming e-mail from potential employers.

2. Do turn this type of filter off while looking for a new opportunity.

3. Don’t set your e-mail filter to block an entire domain. Sure, you might be tired of getting questionable mail from AOL, Hotmail, or Earthlink accounts, but your next employer might use one of these domains to contact you.

4. Do check to see if you are blocking entire domains; if you are, unblock them. Remember if you send an e-mail to a Hotmail account, you can be certain they will reply through Hotmail so note where you send your resume and be certain that you can get a reply.

5. Don’t worry that changing your filter settings will allow messages with objectionable content to get through. The filters regarding objectionable content will generally not affect your ability to get replies.

6. Do check your e-mail account daily just as you would your voice mail. A reply from an employer is opportunity knocking – you don’t want to miss the opportunity because you forgot to check for messages.

7. Do check to see what you’re blocking and call your e-mail provider for help if you get confused.

8. Don’t let e-mail sit in your in-basket for days on end, you’ll never know if the opportunity of a lifetime was missed.

9. Don’t let your e-mail account fill up with junk so that your account is full and important e-mail can’t get through.