Oooh … Reach Out … reach out …

Reaching OutWell, that may be a song title, but here are some thoughts on time management so you can reach out to your potential customers and clients.

Over the years, I naturally gravitated towards the parts of my various responsibilities that I enjoy the most. Most of us are prone to this at times. No matter what your job is, I would argue that most of us gravitate away from cold calling.

If reaching out is a part of your job or you are simply asked to do it, you should develop a call plan. What you want to avoid is an erratic combination of cold dials mixed with emails, completing expense reports, or finishing up a proposal.

Those who have been successful at inside sales or political canvasing say that they typically allocate a few set hours to making the necessary calls. Usually that consisted of a morning and afternoon session. They noted that having a focused couple of hours meant a huge increase in the amount of calls that were made in the course of a business day. If they made their calls piecemeal, their unfocused effort usually netted about a 50% lower call output. The census is that you need to carve out a specific time in your schedule, and place it on your calendar so you don’t have an excuse to just do it.

Realistically, most of us work in an environment with constant distraction.  Then as you are about to make your calls, you have to respond to an account or client and before you know it, it’s 20 minutes later and you haven’t even made a call yet.

While these are all things we deal with throughout the day, they can be addressed pretty simply. If you know that visitors stop by to chat, if you are wearing a head-set, leave it on or if you have an office, keep the door shut. To avoid reading email, shut Outlook or Gmail down during the Reach-out period and remove the email pop-up notification. Research and business news are absolutely necessary, so set that aside for the first or last half hour of your day.

Here are a few other things that will help your efficiency:

* Have your email templates pre-written depending on the interest level of the prospect. Leave the customized email writing for after your call session
* Don’t waste your time digging around to find the right collateral. Have all the info at the ready before you dial.
* Set your day up based on time zone. East coast calls go out in the AM, West coast calls in the PM.
* Use the first and last half hour of the day for the administrative tasks such as developing contact information, scheduling calls, and creating new prospect emails.

These steps are not complicated. The point is to remove all distractions that can disrupt your flow and you can more efficiently make the call necessary to promote your business and enjoy the results of your efforts.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Business Process Improvement, Customer Service, Selling Skills, Time Management

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