Learning from Executive Assistants

Multitasking Assistant

Photo Credit: Ryan Ritchie

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

YOU: “Hi, this is David from Kindoo.  May I speak to Susan please.”

TOM (ASSISTANT): “She’s in a meeting, but I can put you through to her voicemail.”

YOU: “Great, thanks.”

Awesome, right?  Wrong!

Susan is most likely not going to return your call.  She’s probably not going to even listen to your message.

You’re no better off.  In fact, you’re even worse off because that time is lost and you didn’t learn anything.

Instead, what if you did this:

YOU: “Hi, this is David from Kindoo.  May I speak to Susan please.”

TOM: “She’s in a meeting, but I can put you through to her voicemail.”

YOU: “Great.  Say, Tom, before you do, I’m just curious, how does your company train salespeople?”

TOM: “Whoa!  I’m soooooo glad you asked.  We spend $250,000 on three, three-day in person sales meetings a year.  Death by Powerpoint (if you know what I mean).  Sometimes we’ll bring in a sales training consultant.  That’s expensive too – and people forget what they learned as soon as they leave.  And we do weekly webinars, but they’re not very well attended because our salespeople are all over the place.”

OK, Tom’s response is my fantasy.  But stay with me.

Sales Prospecting Tip: ALWAYS ask a question before you’re transferred to voicemail.

Ask questions to learn if they:

  • Fit your ideal customer profile: How big is your sales organization? Do you use Salesforce.com?  Do you have any experience with video?
  • Have problems you can help with: How many reps are you planning on hiring in the next 12 months?  How engaged are your channel partners?

Now you can think on your feet and use this info to leave a better voicemail.  Or you can use it for the next email you’ll send to Susan.

I used this technique just this morning to (a) learn what my prospect is doing for sales and partner training and (b) have a great conversation with the assistant.  She was so interested, she volunteered to personally sponsor me for a meeting with the VP of Sales.

All because I didn’t just leave a message.

Just be honest and nice.  I find that most Executive Assistants will answer because they want to help their organizations too.

Happy Selling!

Posted in Sales

Hi There!

This blog is for sales leaders who want practical tips on how to sell more effectively and build great sales teams