Don’t Call Them Gatekeepers!
With tomorrow being Administrative Professionals Day (formerly known as Secretary’s Day), let’s focus on the people who work to make the lives of executives and managers easier.
National Professional Secretaries Day was created in 1952 through the work of Harry Klemfuss of ad agency Young and Rubicam. His goal was to recognize the importance and value of the position and encourage more people to work as secretaries.
Well, a lot has changed with the position since then. We decided to survey administrative professionals to ask their opinion on things like titles, responsibilities and what works (and doesn’t work) when contacting them in the hopes of reaching their bosses.
When it comes to titles or how they like to be described, nearly 40 percent said Administrative Assistant. Executive Assistant and Administrative Professional were next on the list, far ahead of the rest of the pack.
Rest assured marketers do a lot of things to annoy Administrative Professionals when trying to reach their bosses. Lying about knowing the boss ranks number one. Not listening, dropping in unexpected, and refusing to mail or email information followed closely behind. And, amazingly, marketers still use “Honey” or “Dear,” which is obviously inappropriate in the vast majority of instances.
Respondents told us marketers need to do the following to increase their chances of obtaining an appointment:
*Quickly and clearly explain why we should work together
*Be polite and honest
*Know the person in charge or have already talked to the boss
*Send information first or be willing to send info after the call
In what will surely get the phones ringing, administrative professionals responded that the best time to reach them is in the morning from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.
They told us their optimal split between email, telephone and in-person communication with marketers was email for more than 60 percent of the communication, telephone around 20 percent and in person roughly 15 percent of the time.
The major takeaways ring true yet again:
Listen, be professional and honest, respect the time of others, and tell your story with clarity and brevity.
And, don’t forget Administrative Professionals Day.