Efficiency — noun, plural efficiencies.
The state or quality of being efficient, or able to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort; competency in performance.
There is an old saying that says “Time is money.” In the business and sales worlds, this is particularly true. I landed my first office job at the age of twenty. I worked for one of the biggest technology companies in the United States as a customer service representative. One of the first things I learned in training was how to be efficient, and it mesmerized me to learn how many actions could incre
ase my productivity and consequently, my income.
It is common for big companies to want to save money wherever possible. For example, when I go to Subway, I typically receive only one or two napkins with my meal. In my past restaurant job, we condensed butter at the end of the night. When I began working at the technology company, I was shocked to learn that our greeting had been shortened to 6 seconds on the phone, and this alone saved the company over $40 million a year. The following are a couple of small things that have helped me increase my productivity through my career selling over the phone.
Get Yourself in the Mood
I begin with this tip because it can define the rest of my day. For me, getting in the mood means enjoying a 32-ounce mug full of happiness (coffee) during my first hour in the office. In addition, I have a Beyoncé quote positioned right in front of my face that reads, “I’ma keep on running ‘cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” This may sound cheesy, but when I do not feel like making that fourth phone call to the same client, it gets me through.
I also play some cool jams while sending emails. Sometimes I play something from my childhood, or sometimes something extra lively, like Edith Piaf’s “Milord.” That song gets my juices flowing every time! Find something that motivates you. It’s important that these things are credible to you, as they are your affirmations. They can do wonders to improve your work flow along with your efficiency.
Converse with Flow
I know that at first it can feel intimidating to be personable on the phone, but building rapport can make or break your call results. It is important to find a tone that works for you so that you sound confident and your conversations flow easily. Your efficiency improves when people feel comfortable enough to interact in the conversation. You can control the discussion by asking questions when necessary.
Along with finding your tone, it is important to realize that phone calls do not all have to flow the same. When I call someone, I ask a few questions to gauge whether or not they are familiar with the goods or services I am offering. I am then careful not to tell them about something they already know, as this will only frustrate them. I move on.
Do not try to fix something that is not broken! By adapting to each person you call, you can significantly increase your productivity. Flexibility can be tricky, but it works to your advantage. I think about it as an investment: by not giving everyone the same speech, I get the luxury of being able to spend 30 minutes on a conversation with someone who does not have any knowledge at all. Sometimes, less is more!
Set Your Voicemail up for Success
Your voicemail can be a useful tool as you connect with prospects. Make your voicemail tone sound as inviting, upbeat, and authentic as possible. A great voicemail makes people look forward to speaking with whomever is on the other end.
I vividly remember a client who emailed me back with his assistant’s phone number telling me I should talk to her and she would pass on any information. When I called her, her recording was so dreadful that I almost hung up. But when she picked up, her voice was warm and positive. We ended up closing the deal, but it really made me think about how many people might turn away business on the impression of a voicemail.
Another useful tip I have learned is to utilize the prompt that allows you to include a callback number when leaving voicemail messages. This feature has not only increased my call backs, but it communicates my point with a touch of mystery.
Get Familiar with Your Auto-Pilot
I am sure many of us have heard that multitasking is not actually possible. While multitasking well is tricky, I have devised a great workaround that pertains to emails. I have created templates that I can send without a lot of critical thinking. My software allows me to see which email I need to send. So, while I make my first few phone calls, I scroll through all the contacts to whom I need to send the same email, and I cut and paste. This way, emails get sent, and for the rest of the day I can focus on making phone calls.
As you progress in making the most of these efficiencies, you should notice an increase in your overall productivity as well as an improvement in your mood. These tips should help refuel you to continue setting the world on fire.