Best Practices for Using Microsoft Outlook from a Sales Perspective

Arrow-tip #2: Don’t use your Calendar to manage your call backs

You create an appointment item to call a client and set the appointment alarm to help you remember to make the call. Inevitably you get busy and don’t have time to make the call at the time the alarm goes off which leads to a click on the snooze button. Then another alarm goes off for the next scheduled call, but you are still too busy to make the calls – another snooze button click. Pretty soon the alarm window sounds and there are 10, 15, 100 items in the Reminder window. At that point,

the reminder window pretty much becomes irrelevant. And then if calls don’t get made, the appointments have to be moved manually to another day – a busy week or two and you may find that you have several appointments that you need to go back and update. The real issue is that unless you have scheduled a conference call for a given time, call backs are not appointments and they do not belong on your calendar. And once again, unless you have made a special appointment to make a call at a given time, you shouldn’t be using your reminder window for call backs either because your important reminders can get lost in all those call backs pretty quickly. So where do your call backs belong then? The answer is they belong in your Contacts folder.

Now you are probably wondering why the Contacts folder – isn’t calling a prospect a task or an event? Making an individual phone call is not really a task – it is part of a task. The real task is making all of your call backs for the day – so wouldn’t it be helpful if they were not only in one place, but grouped by order of importance? And even more important, wouldn’t it be helpful if you could see information related to the contact such as their phone number? What if the call back isn’t really a phone call? What if this prospect prefers to receive communication via e-mail? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just right click on the contact and select the New Message to Contact option off the pop up menu? Well, you can do just that in one of two ways.

  1. Create your own view in your Contacts folder. Technically, you can use the reminder flags without setting the alarm which effectively gives you a call back date without the annoying alarm. You could use flag color coating to group your most important calls at the top. Click on the following thumbnail to see what this view might look like:

    By Follow Up Status Flag
  2. Use the HuntressLite or HuntressPro Today’s Call List. Click the following thumbnail to see what the Huntress Today’s Call List view looks like:
    Today’s Call List 75

The great thing about either of these solutions is that you can just right click on the contact and a pop up menu will allow you to send an e-mail to the contact, a meeting request, create a task, or create a journal entry that will automatically link with the contact record. For this solution to work all you really need to do is get in the habit of checking your Today’s Call List view (or whatever name you give it if you go with option #1) each day – and that is something you could set a reminder for because at the end of the day you either did it or didn’t do it, but either way you can dismiss the alarm.

For more tips on follow-ups, check out future Arrow-tips on this blog and in the mean time feel free to send specific questions to

This post was written by MistyKhan and published on September 20, 2007 in the following categories: Add-ins, Arrow Tips, Calendar, Contacts. You can leave trackbacks on this post at this address. To follow the comments on this post subscribe to the RSS feed.


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