Talking To Administrative Assistants Tend to get all high and mighty when talking to executive assistants? Your bad behavior could come back to haunt you.

Cut out the middleman. Go straight to the top. Start with thedecision-maker. In general, that's good advice when you'retrying to make a sale. However, if you're a homebased businessowner attempting to circumvent an administrative or executiveassistant to get straight to the head honcho, your approach maybackfire.

Administrative assistants today have a great deal of influenceover their managers' view and perception of callers. Those whomisrepresent themselves over the phone stand to lose any chance offuture contact with the company. Business callers who understandthe pivotal role of administrative assistants and work with themrather than against them will be far more successful in reachingmanagers. Here are some suggestions:

  • When you reach assistants, ask for their name. This showsrespect for them as business colleagues.
  • When asked about the purpose of your call, answer honestly.Evading the point or lying only sends red flags. Even if you do getthrough, your intended contact and the assistant will likely beirritated by your tactics, ultimately making this a one-timeconnection.
  • Ask the assistant for the most appropriate method of reachingthe executive. He or she may recommend an alternative such ase-mail or fax, or refer you to a different contact altogether.Thank the assistant for the information and take the advice.
  • Maintain a pleasant demeanor with everyone at the company, notjust those at the executive level. Your phone manner may well becommunicated to the ultimate decision-maker. And thatdecision-maker just may be the assistant.

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