5 Ways Auto Scheduling Meetings has Changed My Life

“Sure… what time works for you?”

We all know what song in dance these 6 little words will start.

Email from prospect: Sure we can have a chat… Does Monday at 3:00 still work?

Email from us: Sorry, I just booked up then. How about 2:00?

Email from prospect: No I can’t do then… Does Tuesday from 8:00 – 10:00 work?

Email from us: I can squeeze in 9:45. How about then?

Email from prospect: Sure, send me a calendar link

Email from us: Great! Just sent

Email from prospect (after cal invite is sent): I’m meant 9:45 PST…

Oh the fun we have spending an hour over the course of three days to schedule a 15 minute meeting!

 

Luckily for me, the Collabspot team has built a new (and FREE) tool for Sugar users that allows you to just send a link and have your prospect pick a time that works for them.

In honor of our beta release of Collabspot Scheduler, I wanted to share 5 ways that automated meeting scheduling has changed how the Collabspot team works and collaborates.

Let’s dig in!

 

No more going back and forth scheduling meetings

For sales teams the most obvious benefit of automated meeting scheduling is the ability to schedule calls and demos without a long back and forth about when is best to meet. You can easily send prospects, partners, and coworkers your Collabspot Scheduler link and have a meeting on the calendar in minutes, not days.

We add the link to the bottom of emails, in our email signatures, and on our sales pages to maximize efficiency. Prospects simply pick a time and the meeting shows up in my calendar.

scheduler-3 booking page.png

Collabspot Scheduler will even automatically block out times that I’m not free in my calendar.

 

Never Forget to update Sugar

The Collabspot sidebar and calendar syncing functionality both help me ensure I keep Sugar, updated, however, sometimes meetings with new leads slip through the cracks.

 

Now I don’t have to worry about those new contacts getting into Sugar and old contacts being updated in Sugar.

Every contact that clicks my scheduling link will be prompted to fill out their name, and email address which automatically gets pushed to Sugar where a contact is updated and/or added. It will even update accounts, cases, or opportunities that the contact is related to. So I don’t have to remember to go back and add this meeting for it to be included in Sugar.

scheduler-5 confirm booking loading.png

Stop Screwing up Time Zones

Collabspot has customers and partners all over the world from NYC to Australia, so figuring out timezones is a constant struggle.

Nearly everyday I find myself thinking “Ok so they are in England, so that’s 6 hours ahead so I can make a 6:00am I suppose… oh wait I’m in Cupertiono that week…”

With Collabspot Scheduler, your prospects calendar automatically adjusts to their timezone, so they see your availability in your timezone.

No more timezone math!

 

Always gather phone numbers

Nearly every call that I conduct with a new prospect involves a conference call line. This makes it really easy to get multiple stakeholders on the phone, but doesn’t do anything for me in terms of gathering contact information like phone numbers.

Collabspot Scheduler grabs the email address, phone number, and any other information you request from everyone that signs up for a meeting with you.

The tool will sync this information back to Sugar so you have it in your CRM as well.

 

Give your prospect autonomy

Sometimes prospects don’t want to sit on a conference call with you for an hour and a half. They just need 15-minutes to get information, ask a quick question, or place a order. Instead of us choosing how long a call is, we can let prospects choose the desired call length with Collabspot Scheduler.

This gives prospects more autonomy and allows them to keep control of their schedule.

 

Everyone loves it!

Our favorite thing about Collabspot Scheduler is that everyone loves it. It’s easier for prospects and partners and virtually removes data entry for our sales team.

Win-Win!

We’d love for you to join us with the only scheduling tool that integrates directly with Sugar for FREE when our Beta is released later this month.

Fill out this form, and I’ll make sure you’re one of our first users.

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8 Productivity Hacks for Evernote users inside Gmail via Collabspot

Collabspot has gone great strides to bring productivity inside Gmail. With its latest partnership to bring Evernote and Gmail Integration, it brings endless possibilities for Evernote users to increase productivity and acheive a lot more inside Gmail. 

This blog post will highlight Top 8 ways how the Collabspot powered Evernote and Gmail Integrtation delivers producitivity and get things done quicker for Evernote users. 

 

1. Search for your notebooks from Gmail

Now you can search for any notes or notebooks from your Gmail. No need to switch back to the Evernote to find your notes and notebooks – your data is accessible from Gmail sidebar. Simply enter the keywords in the sidebar search bar and Collabspot will search and display related notebooks from Evernote.

 

  Search for notebooks

 

                                 

2. View notes within a notebook on Evernote from Gmail

 

Finding notes when you need them can be time consuming. With Collabspot, you can search and view any note on any notebook without leaving your Gmail. Just using the Collabspot sidebar in Gmail, select your notebook, click on show notes by notebook and it will display all the notes within that Notebook.

 

 

Search for notes by notebooks

 

 

3.  View related notes right inside Gmail

 

Want to quickly find notes related to a contact? Just hover your mouse over an email address in your Gmail Inbox and Collabspot will automatically display the related notes associated with that email address in the sidebar.

 

 

View related notes inside Gmail

 

 

4. Search notes in Evernote from Gmail by tags

 

Do you often forget the name of a note, but remember its tag?  The Collabspot search feature enables in searching and locating your notes by their tags name too. Just enter the tag name in the search bar and Collabspot will find and display all notes for you with that tag name.

 

Search by Tags

 

 

5.  Search Notes by Email Content

 

Whenever you open an email, Collabspot automatically searches for notes associated with the content of your email. This is the same feature used on the Evernote Web Clipper: Related Search.

 

 

Search by Email Content

 

 

 

6.  Save email from Gmail to Evernote (Sent and Received)

 

Collabspot allows you to be in control of the emails you  save in Evernote. Here are some things you can do:

 

1.        Convert emails to Notes. 

2.        Associate the converted emails to Notebooks. 

3.        Associate Collabspot suggested or custom Tags with each email 

4.        Create a Reminder with each email on Evernote.

 

 

Copy email from Gmail to Evernote

 

Collabspot also enables in automatically sending and saving sent email to Evernote. Before sending an email;

  • Click on the Collabspot icon along with the send button in Gmail
  • Select note title, notebook, tags and reminder and click send.
  • The email will be sent and automatically saved in the selected notebook.

 

Automatically Send and Save Sent Emails

 

7.  Set email reminders in Evernote

 

Want to know when to follow up on an email? Save emails in Evernote and set a reminder with each note or email so you don’t forget to follow up on an email or note. 

 

Add reminder to emails

8. Use Email Templates to quickly send Emails

 

Do you often send emails that have repetitive content or are which are quite similar? If yes, you can create and use email templates to quickly send email to your Gmail contacts. Just select and add your email template and your email message is ready to be sent. ( you need to create email templates using the same link before adding / using email template)

 

Email Templates

 

Do you have any Evernote – Gmail Productivity Hack to share?

 

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Integrate Evernote inside Gmail with Collabspot

Stay on top of your tasks and increase productivity by bringing Evernote inside Gmail

 

Collabspot is setting the benchmark for Productivity in Gmail by bringing commonly used business, personal and productivity apps inside Gmail. This time, Collabspot has joined hands with Evernote to provide Evernote Integration with Gmail. The integration with Gmail and Evernote enables Evernote Free and Premium users to quickly view, edit and manage their notes, notebooks and tasks right inside Gmail.

 

Evernote Integration with Gmail

Evernote Integration with Gmail

 

With the Collabspot powered Evernote and Gmail Integration, Evernote users can perform bunch of tasks on Evernote, from their Gmail sidebar. These include;

 

  • Search and view Evernote notes or browse by notebooks
  • Use the Collabspot sidebar to automatically display all related notes to the content of the opened email
  • Use the Collabspot sidebar to automatically display all notes related to the email address of your contact
  • Copy sent & received emails to Evernote and create reminders in Evernote
  • Use Collabspot shared Gmail templates in one click

 

This will result in minimal switching between Gmail and Evernote for tracking and updating personal and official notes and notebooks. Evernote users can save time on repetitive tasks and quickly perform common tasks on Evernote. The Gmail integration with Evernote can be set up for all Evernote Free and Paid users.

Signup for Free now and find and get things done faster on Evernote. 

 

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10 Tips to Improve the Performance of Your Sales

 

“80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of salespeople give up after 1 follow up. – The Marketing Donut

 

“Each year, you’ll lose 14% of your customers.” – BusinessBrief.com

 

“We talk at a rate of 125-175 words per minute, listen at a rate of 125-250 words per minute, but think at a rate of 1000-3000 words per minute.  The processing gap creates opportunities for distraction and failure to listen attentively.” – The Mann Group

 

We would all like to think we’re great listeners that know exactly what our customers need. In reality, that may be far from the truth. Don’t just read these 10 tips; put them into practice in your business to start improving your sales performance today.

 

Tip # 1 – Everybody is a $alesperson

 

 

All employees have the opportunity to be salespeople regardless of their position or job description. Whether it’s Fred the customer service rep or Julie from accounting, here are a few tips on how to make selling a part of every person’s job. It is adapted from Patricia Sigmon’s Six Steps to Creating a Profit (Wiley).

 

  • Give employees an easy to follow instruction guide. This guide can be as simple as a bullet list that gives your company’s messaging about their products and services. It helps to tell your company story and illustrate the value they provide. In this guide, encourage your employees to engage prospects regularly in a conversation about your company’s offerings. The goal is to subtly spread your message, not overselling your product.
  • Make sure every email has a proper signature that has your company logo, links to your website, and information about your products and services. This should go out in every email automatically.
  • Keep an eye out for great talent in your organization. Maybe you have employees with a gift for social media or a writer that can create incredible sales letters. You can uncover some of these people by brainstorming with employees about what they can do to help generate more sales.

 

Tip # 2 – Listening to improve sales

 

One of the biggest challenges of selling is to get your customer talking, not you talking to the customer. Without listening, how will you know how you can help the customer? By letting the customer dominate the conversation, you can learn more about which products and services you can provide for them.

One of the best ways of doing this is a technique called active listening. It requires listening to the person with an understanding for what they’re saying. After they’re done speaking, you respond to them with a brief summary of what they’ve said.

 

 

By doing this you show your prospect that you fully understand what they’ve told you and you can use those clues to help you close the deal. You will also be demonstrating your respect for the prospect, which can build rapport.

Most of us, when we hear something interesting, will start framing a reply or planning what we’re going to say next based on what we’ve heard. The problem is, you’re doing this while the other person is still talking and you’re not listening to what they’re saying. One way to avoid this is to keep your mind on the speaker and mentally echo what they’re saying in your head.

 

Tip # 3 – Closing is a process, not a request

 

If your goal is to help a customer make the best decision, you’ll find that closing requires more than just asking for their business. When you are talking to your prospect, always listen for their pain points and opportunities to help them out. Ask them questions so you better understand their pain. These questions may or may not come from a checklist, but probably from listening to and understanding the person’s pain and how you can help.

 

 

During the closing process, you will transition the prospect by listening to them. Over time, you will gradually move the conversation from “what if” to “when” if the right decision is to buy from you.

 

Tip # 4 – Forget the elevator pitches

 

Elevator pitches have become popular, but in reality they’re a great way to bore your prospect. Do you really want to force them to listen to a 2 to 3 minute spiel about how great you, your company, and your products are? (It’s all about me, me, me!)

 

 

When you stop and think about it, do you like listening to people go on and on when they get to their elevator pitches?

Instead of forcing your prospect to listen to your bland, boring, and never-ending elevator pitch, give them an opportunity to talk instead. Ask them about what they do and listen. You’ll be surprised at how much more you can learn.

 

Tip #5 – Introverts are better sellers

 

 

We all know the stereotype of the fast talking salesperson who appears in movies, television, and other media. However, in the real world people that have a hard-sell attitude can quickly turn off customers. We know that one of the keys of selling is listening, and introverts are far better at this.

Introverts are more interested in hearing what other people have to say. Since they avoid small talk, they are actually able to naturally develop a deeper connection with the prospect.

Introverts are more likely to study and like sales systems, which can be a major contributor to sales success. While extroverts love to engage with people, they are more likely to fight the system because they enjoy seeing unexpected things occur. Introverts, on the other hand, generally like to use less energy and therefore like to use systems to help leverage their energy to get the best results for the effort they put in.

 

Tip # 6 – Cold calling helps you grow

 

Most sales people do not like cold calling. Some would do almost anything to avoid it.

However, picking up a phone and talking to someone you don’t know to see how you can help them is a great way to strengthen your emotional muscle. It will help you learn to deal with rejection and establish rapport with new prospects at the same time.

 

Here are some tips for successful cold calling:

  • Always treat the gatekeeper with the proper respect
  • Make a dedicated time each day for cold calling
  • If you get voicemail, leave a short voicemail message and assume that your call will never be returned
  • Always use your product’s benefits, not features during the call
  • Keep in mind that cold calling on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons will typically have the worst results

 

Tip #7 – Use customer experience to build your brand

 

Most companies become obsessed with branding. In the end, it’s your customer experience that can build (or destroy) your brand.

This is not a new idea. Companies like Starbucks, Costco, and Ritz-Carlton have been using their customer experience to build their brand for a while.

 

 

“Today, there’s no argument that discovering what customers really want, then delivering it through fantastic customer experiences, is a hallmark of strong brands,” says Paul LaBelle at Tibco Blog.

Some top drivers of customer experience are:

  • Communicating with your customers in plain English while avoiding jargon
  • Making sure your customers feel valued
  • Quickly resolving any problems customers may have

 

Tip # 8 –  Take care of your loyal customers

 

Getting new customers can be an expensive and risky proposition. On the other hand, your existing customers have already purchased from you and selling additional items is comparatively easy.

 “Getting loyal customers to buy from you costs nothing and is automatic. Therefore, your priority should always be to transform existing customers into loyal ones; new customers are only a priority when you're just starting out,” says Geoffrey James at inc.com.

If you focus primarily on getting a new customer and at the same time lose an existing one because you ignore them, you will have the same number of customers in the end. However, you will have lower margins because of the additional cost required to get a new customer over retaining your existing one.

 

 

In the end, by adding one new customer for every one you lose, you will actually lose ground and suffer from reduced profits and increased marketing costs as a result.

Make the time to take care of your customers and be sure your products and services perform well for them. Since you already have a relationship in place, it is less expensive to sell additional items from your product line to those that already love your products.

 

Tip # 9 – Sales training does not make top performers

 

If anyone ever tells you that going to a sales training will make all of your sales staff top performers, beware! While good sales training is certainly worthwhile, it’s only going to provide marginal improvement.

 

 

In order to get the maximum return on investment from sales training, it is important that sales managers continue to coach their staff after the training is over.

Unfortunately, most training efforts fail to reach their objectives, in large part because of the absence of any kind of reinforcement or coaching. In fact, one of my former bosses whom I have quoted before, Neil Rackham, conducted a study that indicated that post training, if there was no coaching or reinforcement activity, there was a drop-off of 87% of the knowledge acquired. That’s a waste of 87 cents on every dollar spent on formal development efforts,” says Scott Edinger with Forbes.com.

Some action items from Scott also include developing “a clear line of sight between sales actions, sales goals, and business outcomes” and coaching by asking, not telling.

 

Tip # 10 – Remember that customers love to buy, but not to be sold

 

We all like to buy things, but none of us really likes to be sold. This is why when salespeople try to manipulate customers into buying things, it often alienates and causes resentment.

The main point in selling is to help the customer make the best decision. Doing so will help add pleasure and influence the customer’s inherent desire to buy.

 

 

The key to this is finding out what your customers want. You can do this using customer interviews, where the customer will tell you things that they would probably never mention while people are trying to sell them. You can schedule an appointment and do the interview by phone or in person with structured questions so you can document the results.

 

Conclusion

 

As you have probably learned by now, listening is one of the most important skills when it comes to improving the performance of your sales. Once you listen to get an understanding of what your customer wants to buy, you can then align your business model to meet those needs. You start with a good understanding of what a real customer needs and how they go about finding a solution and meeting those needs. Once you have this information, you can use your great customer service and training to turn your new prospects into loyal customers and reap the rewards.

 

Image Courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos

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15 Tips to Manage Email Effectively

Columnist Marilyn Vos Savant once wrote “email, instant messaging and cell phones give us fabulous communication ability, but because we live and work in our own little worlds, that communication is totally disorganized.

How many of us have felt overwhelmed by our email inbox at times? It’s no wonder – in 2013, we received over 100 billion daily emails (and, believe it or not, not all of them were relevant to our needs.

[Tweet “Consumer and business email accounts totaled nearly 3.9 billion accounts last year”]

, according to technology market research firm The Radicati Group. There is a lot of traffic streaming to our inboxes. So what steps can we take to manage our email messages effectively? We’ve got 15 tips that will help you maintain your sanity.

 

TIP #1 – Use labels, folders & tabs

Tip 1

You’re first step is to create a system for organizing the numerous messages you receive. Programs such as Gmail allow users to label messages in order to store them by an activity, interest, sender or other relevant tag. You can also create folders to organize work-related and personal messages. Google also created a tab system with Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums categories so messages can be routed for a more organized viewing experience.

It’s important to establish an organized system that allows you to categorize messages. This way, you can prioritize which messages you’ll view first and which ones can wait until “down time”.

 

TIP #2 – Filter your messages

Most email programs enable users to set rules, or filters, which automatically file messages in the folders you set up in tip #1. For example, Gmail users can use Labels to filter messages by sender, topic, organization or other personally useful terms, such as “Read Later”. You can apply a label while viewing your inbox or while reading the message. Labels only apply to existing messages and must be selected by the user.

To manage the inflow of messages, you can set up a filter that will automatically route messages that fit certain criteria, such as from a specific sender, to a folder that can be opened later. This feature makes it easier to keep your general inbox clear and enables users to quickly find filtered messages.

 

 

TIP #3 – Archive “no response” messages

Many of us receive confirmation notices on orders, registrations and other activities. These messages should be routed to an Archive folder for safe keeping. Although many people tend to delete these messages, it’s a good idea to hold them in your archives for a while. Once a few months have passed (or whatever your chosen timeline), you should view the Archive folder contents and remove unnecessary messages.

 

 

TIP #4 – Give it a gold star

Gmail and other programs allow users to attach a star to messages. This designation highlights a message or messages as important among those within your inbox. You may want to use stars as a reminder to return to the message at a later time.

You can also select a message as “important” by attaching a colored tab to your message. This tells Gmail that future messages in a specific conversation should be highlighted among the other messages. Once messages have been labeled with stars or colored tabs, you can filter your inbox view to show only those messages, allowing you to focus on timely and relevant messages.

 

 

TIP #5 – Disable desktop notifications

While it may be helpful to be immediately notified of an incoming message, most emails you receive don’t likely require instant attention. Unless you are “on the hook” for a lightning-fast response, keep the notifications setting off. These alerts can distract even the most disciplined worker.

Alternatively, you can set reminders in your task management or scheduling program to notify you when it’s time to check the inbox. In this way, you will be notified on your schedule and not when every email is received.

 

TIP #6 – Deploy the Task List

Tip 6

Those who use Gmail will be familiar with the Task List. This can be a handy tool to organize which messages require follow up and remind you of certain activities. The Task List feature allows you to enter a date and notes related to an email message. Tasks can be moved up or down in priority, sorted by due date, and printed to take with you to meetings.

 

 

TIP #7 – Enable auto-archiving

Gmail and other systems allow you to automatically archive reply messages you’ve sent. By turning on the “send and archive” feature in your email settings, you can immediately designate threads to your Archive folder when you send a reply. This helps keep your inbox fresh – no need to hold on to a thread as a reminder of a previous conversation!

Keep in mind, however, that it is good practice to review your archive folder occasionally to make sure you have not missed a key message. (This also applies to your Spam folder.)

 

 

TIP #8 – Deploy third-party tools to re-deliver messages

There are apps and plugins that allow you to delay message delivery for an email you want to send at just the right time. These tools allow you to manage conversations via email in a way that fits your daily schedule while remaining active in the thread. [Tweet “Collabspot or Boomerang allow you to draft a message and schedule a future delivery date”]. You can also return a previously viewed message to your inbox when you need to revisit a thread.

 

 

TIP #9 – Minimize newsletter clutter

While it’s great to be informed through newsletters, blog posts, updates and other ongoing communications, you can easily become distracted if you open subscriber messages throughout your day. One effective email management tactic is to re-route those messages to a folder you can return to at your leisure. [Tweet “Tools such as Unroll.me are great at pulling out subscriptions and storing them in a specific folder”]. As a bonus, you can easily unsubscribe to those newsletters you find that are no longer useful.

 

 

TIP #10 – Optimize your email relationships

One way to help build relationships via email is to add a tool like Rapportive that embeds details about your contacts within your Gmail account. You can view Twitter handles, LinkedIn bios, websites, locations and other information all through your email program. This can help when you’re drafting personalized messages, and also helps to organize contacts and messages that have been exchanged.

 

 

 

TIP #11 – Auto-prioritization

Tip 11

Let’s face it: most of us use productivity apps to help streamline our day. These tools prioritize tasks. [Tweet “You can also apply prioritization to your inbox using Gmail’s Priority Inbox”] or apps such as Accompli and SaneBox. These apps review your email behavior to stage messages according to priority. If you have business associates you regularly email, messages received from those senders will be routed to the top of your inbox.

 

 

TIP #12 – Create clear, full messages

One of the reasons that email activity can take up to one-third of our daily workday is that many times email messages are incomplete or misunderstood. You can reduce the number of bounce-back responses, like “what time should we meet?” by including as much detail within your message as possible. For example, indicating “our meeting at 9:00 am on September 25 in conference room B” versus “our meeting next Thursday” will eliminate confusion on the recipient’s part and lessen the likelihood of a return message.

When you draft an email message, think like the recipient. Does this message contain everything he will need in order to act upon it?

 

 

TIP #13 – Reduce, reuse & recycle

You can apply the same principle of protecting the environment to protecting your email sanity. First, when you open your mailbox, immediately discard any messages that won’t have relevance during the next several days. Reduce the number of potentially distracting messages. Second, create templates for often-repeated messaging. Keep the subject line, message body or signature for future messages. Finally, repurpose previous messages for delivery to new recipients. You probably have some good content that can be used for different purposes.

 

 

TIP #14 – Be smart with the subject line

Tip 14

 

Being an effective email communicator can shrink your inbox. The subject line is an important element to managing email communications. Many times, email recipients simply scan a subject line then determine whether to open the message or not. This can lead to problems. To be more effective at getting your messages seen, be as specific as possible about the intent and content of the message within the subject line.

Sometimes you can include your entire message in the subject line. If so, put “EOM” at the end of the line to indicate the end of the message. Your recipients will thank you for saving them the need to open the email.

To lower the number of needless responses to your messages, tell them they don’t need to reply. For instance, use “NNTR” (no need to respond) as a way of indicating that a recipient doesn’t need to respond to your message or “FYI” as a way to indicate the message is simply to inform her of something. This will reduce her inbox anxiety and ensure you won’t receive a needless reply.

 

TIP #15 – Control when you access email

Ultimately, email management boils down to time management. Access your inbox only when you have time to send and receive messages. Email messaging may be an important part of your day, but should not distract you from the task at hand. Set specific times throughout your day to manage email communications. If you’re faced with a high-priority, time-sensitive message, consider using a chat or phone call to address immediate needs rather than having a conversation through email. By using some of the features mentioned earlier, you have greater control over when and how you’ll respond.

 

Although email is still the dominant digital communication channel, we should not use email exclusively. And we can’t let our inbox overwhelm our work productivity. Take the time to implement some of these tips and you’ll find that email management is just like managing our other tasks. Use available tools and self-discipline to keep your email activity in line.