How often are you picking up the phone to talk with past and potential clients? The phone is a great way to communicate with people! Although it’s been around for many, many years business owners are now hiding behind email and social media sites to communicate.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Email marketing and communicating through social media can be extremely effective in winning new business. But, the key to keeping these new clients is the successful building of a relationship…and a phone call is a great way to do this.
I spoke at an event for business owners last week about attracting clients and one of the tips I gave was about the benefit of picking up the phone and talking to your contacts. Perhaps these are people that have made a purchase form you previously or simply shown interest in your business before but didn’t follow through. They may have opted in for something free you gave away or they could be a current hot lead. The thing with picking up the phone is you can have a real human conversation and no email or social media message exchange can beat that! Oh, and just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about cold calling here. I’m talking about contacting people who know who you are.
At the event, I asked how many people use the phone to build relationships, book appointments or make a sale. Only about 5 out of 60 people put their hands up. That needs to change. Another thing that needs to change is the fear that creeps up on people when they need to pick up the phone. I see that with business owners all the time and this has to change too!
So today let me give you 5 tips for making the act of picking up the phone easier and you’ll soon find out how appreciative people are that you took the time to reach out to them.
1. Be prepared and have an objective
Put a time in your diary when you’re going to make your calls. I would suggest at least 90 minute blocks because once you get the momentum and get in the groove you can make some great progress! Make sure that you prepare the list to call the day before and make sure you have a clear objective for the call. Why are you calling? What’s the purpose? Make sure you know what that is before your calling efforts begin.
2. Get educated
I’ve received calls from random people looking for me to spend money on their business when they clearly know nothing about who I am or what I do. I can’t tell you the number of people who have addressed me as “Chris Slater.” That’s always a treat. Make sure you spend a few minutes reading up on each person your going to be speaking with. Jump onto their website, Facebook page, or LinkedIn profile so that you can have a relevant conversation with them. It also shows that you’ve done your research and are interested in them.
3. Show an interest
When you get hold of someone (many calls will go to voicemail – this is normal) don’t launch straight in. Ask them how they are, be warm, make sure you’re smiling before you dial and just chill out. Breakdown any barriers and let them know that you’re calling to check in and that there is no pressure with this call. This might go for about 5 minutes.
4. Get to the point
Let’s say that your objective is to arrange to have an appointment with a prospective client. You will need to have a goal of setting this appointment within 5-10 minutes. The point of a phone call is not to have a 30 minute conversation about everything under the sun in a rambling dialogue. Be interested, listen carefully but don’t be afraid of getting to your objective for the call. If they’re not interested it’s best to figure this out in 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes. Your time is valuable too, you know!
5. Be persistent
It’s a numbers game. Don’t think that you will call 5 people and they will all answer and want to come and see you. You have to be persistent! If people don’t answer you can simply ring them back next time you’re scheduling calls.
Right now, I would love for you to start scheduling in regular times to call people in your calendar. I’m sure there are plenty of people who you could be building relationships with today that could be buyers in the very near future!
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