Pardon the Interruption
Last week’s tip encouraged you to talk to someone instead of just sending an email. When doing walking over to talk to someone, the best thing to do is to start out by asking if it’s a good time for them, if you can have 5 minutes of their time, or if there is a better time to talk about ABC or XYZ. Just like we don’t like getting interrupting when we have proposal to get out the door, they don’t like it when they have a client deliverable due. By asking permission to interrupt first, allows you to empathize with their busy schedule. In my experience, they either welcome the discussion or request a later time. If they request a later time, ask for a specific time and put it on their calendar!
Talk to Someone
In today’s age there is a lot of email and we have all be programmed to cover our @ss when it comes to proposals. We don’t want to get blamed with sh!t hits the fan. The easiest thing is to send an email to show that it is in writing. However, some principals and technical staff get literally hundreds of emails a day. Most are good are responding within 24 hours, but often times we don’t have long to wait for a response. If you have the luxury of working in the same office, get your butt moving and head to their office. If you work in a different office, pick up the phone. Not only will you get the information that you need, but you will continue to build the relationship. Now to make it beneficial, make sure to read next week’s tip.
Can I Call You?
If you send an email to someone, can they call you back? Do they know your phone number? A lot of firms spend lots of time and money developing creative email signatures, but often times the phone numbers (and email addresses) are left off or buried deep into the design. Other times, there is no standard signature for outgoing messages and/or replies, but rather just a name. That drives me crazy! Make your email signature brief, easy to read, and include any and all phone numbers so I can reach you even on your reply or forwarded email signatures.
Take Time to Celebrate
As AEC marketers, we have the hardest job in the industry. Often times we are too busy working on the proposal to enjoy the shortlist, win, or any other of our accomplishments. Taking time to celebrate with your team, your spouse, your friends or even online, will refuel your energy, motivation and desire to win the next one. This week think of one victory–big or small–and celebrate it in a meaningful way for you. For me, that’s a special drink, a massage or shopping trip!
Organize Your Inbox
Almost every email service allows you to make folders within your inbox. Create folders for pursuits, other assignments, TO READ, etc. File the emails that are just for information allowing you to refer to them later, if needed. Set up auto-filters to transfer certain emails directly to designated folders. I use this method for meeting request responses, newsletters I subscribe to, and items to follow-up on. Keep only those emails in your main inbox of those you have to act on or respond to. This will help eliminate clutter in your inbox, while still be able to reference stuff, if needed. Set up your email inbox folders and auto-filters this week.
There is an awesome website that will help clean up your email inbox. Unroll.me will talk to your email service and provide a list of all your subscription emails. Unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want.
Make Time to Read
No, I don’t mean People or US Weekly. You should be allocating at least 30 minutes a day reading publications, blogs, newsletters, etc. related to your industry and markets. At the very least subscribe to your local business journal, ENR and Marketers Take Flight (shameless plug!). Spend a few minutes in the morning and afternoon scanning headlines and reading articles that are similar to your clients, projects, and geographic locations. This way you are reading what your technical staff and clients are reading. It is also imperative that you find a few marketing, graphic design, social media, and business development related newsletters to sign up for. There are so many free resources, there is no excuse. Sign up for one newsletter in each category this week.
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Be mindful of your lunch dates.
You might be brand spanking new to the industry and/or the working world. You might feel more comfortable eating lunch at your desk or with the receptionist. However, if you want to move up have lunch with the lead engineer, principal, controller, etc. Once a week (or month), invite someone in a position above you out to lunch. Jim Rohn, foremost business philosopher, claims that you are the average of your five closest friends. I also believe that is applicable to the workplace. If you are closest to be co-workers at or below your current job level and you want to get ahead, you have to increase your average. This is be building relationships with leaders and upper management in your firm. Set up at least one lunch date today. TOP OF PAGE
Ask lots of questions
Don’t think that by asking questions, that you somehow look less qualified. If you are the job, then your qualified. Asking questions will give you knowledge to get ahead. I have always asked tons of questions about our projects, clients, competitors, etc. What I found out was that our engineers and architects LOVE talking about their projects and explaining design and engineering processes. It’s so much easier to write resumes and project descriptions when I have full explanation from all sides. Ask at least five questions this week. TOP OF PAGE
Always do what you say you are going to do.
This is a very quick way to develop your brand as reliable, loyal and honest. The people who can be relied upon to always get the job done, are quickly recognized and asked to more important assignments. This may seem overwhelming at first, but will pay off in the end. Just be realistic in your timeframe for completion to help with your overwhelm. Start today. Complete everything you agree to doing.
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