Get On The Phone to Get More Business
The other day I called my webmaster with a technical question. During our chat, he said he wanted to book me for a keynote presentation for a conference he is involved with. I was thrilled that I stumbled into that business without even trying.
A while back, I was waiting to deliver a team-building program to bank managers at a large financial institution. A company executive spoke before me, discussing a new program where each manager must make phone contact with their accounts every month. The idea behind it is that if you are consistently making calls, with some contacts your timing will be perfect and you will trip over business. The account managers in this organization are having great success from this simple, yet significant, action.
In working with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years I have noticed that those that are consistent and disciplined about connecting with clients and prospects regularly do have stronger businesses. It is a marketing flaw of many small businesses that when they are busy with business the marketing efforts get cast aside until it is a slow period. Recognize that if you are consistent in your marketing efforts and simple phone connections there will be no slow periods.
Sounding savvy and being successful on the phone is a business skill you can develop just like you can develop the ability to write a cover letter or ace an interview. The more you do, it the easier it gets. Make your phone calls more effective and close more business by using the following ideas.
Stop Getting Ready To Get Ready
Before you make a phone call, you do not need to color coordinate your index cards, put a name in your data base or have every piece of information you may need in front of you. All you have to do is dial. While the phone is ringing or you are on hold, get yourself organized.
You are on the phone because you want business, right? There is an even more important reason you are on the phone- to cultivate and solidify your personal relationship with that client or potential client. That is why you are talking to someone. Through your conversation, you can develop rapport that will build familiarity and trust. The trust you cultivate will result in that person wanting to do business with you.
Keep Good Notes
When I call someone, I keep notes on the conversation. Some of them are related to actions and closing business, like "packet sent", "call back next month", "attended my public speaking program". Other notes are more personal. Write down the information people share with you. If they tell you their son is in little league, write it down. If they say they were born in Chicago, make a note about that. Personal information will help you create rapport.
Connect on a Personal Level
Use notes so you can ask questions about those things that are important to your contact. "I know from our last discussion your company is doing some reorganizing. How is that affecting you and your department?" "You mentioned you were finishing your bachelors degree at night. That must be keeping you busy. How is that going?"
The idea of regularly contacting clients and potential clients only works if it is done consistently. Schedule time every week, if not every day, to contact your clients and potential clients. Block time on your calendar and keep this important appointment with yourself.
If you have a conversation with someone and you promise to send out information or get back to them with the name of your gardener, do it right away. Acting urgently keeps the positive energy flowing and tells people you are reliable and dependable. If you take your sweet time to do what you said you would do. Other people will take their sweet time about getting back to you.
Ask for the Business
While you are calling to build rapport do not forget that you are calling to close some business. Make sure you ask for it. Let people know you want their business and their referrals.
Contacting people keeps you on their mind so they call you first when they need what you have to offer. Remember, the more time you spend cultivating relationships and contacting your clients and potential clients by phone, the more business you will close and the more successful you will be.