Telephone Success Strategies for Small Businesses
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Telephone Success Strategies for Small Businesses
The other day I was in an auto parts store buying an oil filter. It was on a Saturday morning and there were only two workers on duty. The place was packed and the line to purchase goods was long and most of the people were getting impatient.
Suddenly, the phone started ringing and the worker seemed very irritated. Finally, after about 10 rings he got frustrated and answered the phone. He was rude and brief while he reluctantly answered the caller’s question. As soon as he could, he slammed down the phone and resumed his behind-the-counter duties.
This episode occurs millions of times a day around the small business world. It’s not only confined to the retail world but the professional world as well. Too many small businesses see phone calls as interruptions rather than opportunities.
You Pay Good Money to Make Your Phone Ring!
A ringing phone is the result of your marketing efforts, which you pay good money to develop and implement and the fact that your phone rings indicates that you’re marketing is working. Don’t squander your hard-earned marketing dollars (and reputation) by underestimating the value of each phone call.
The following are several inbound and outbound telephone marketing practices that you can use to make your phone one of your most powerful marketing weapons.
|Stress the Value of Each and Every Phone Call 1. Know Your Costs – Calculate your cost of an inquiry by dividing your total cost of advertising by the average number of calls you receive. For instance, if you spend $5,000 monthly on advertising, and get about 500 calls, each call cost you $10.
To further stress the value of each phone call, attach a $10 bill to the handle of each phone unit to remind your employees how important each and every phone call is to your business and that each call could result in cash.
2. Recognize Good Work – Give a “golden phone award” to the employee who gets the full contact information of the most inbound callers. Spray paint a phone gold and give it out at an employee meeting with a free dinner for two or weekend at a local hotel.
3. Train Employees – Include telephone training in your sales meetings. Ask employees (rather than you) to give the training. Supply your employees with access to professional telephone training systems for reference.
|Get Each Caller’s Full Contact Information The value in any business is its customer and prospect list and the fastest way to build that list is to ask for contact information.
1. Customer Information – Ask to know if the caller is a prior customer. If they are then say, “Mr. Customer, we are updating out customer list. Would you mind giving me your address and phone number so that we can update our records?
2. Prospect Information – If the caller tells you that they are not a prior customer then handle the phone call and at the end of the call say, “Mrs. Prospect, I’d like to send you a free report that you’ll find very interesting. It will help you … If you give me your address and I’ll send it out to you today.”
3. Email Address – To get a customer or prospect’s email address (critical!) offer the customer a second free gift that you can email to them right away and then ask for their email address. Getting prospect and customer email addresses is important because it will allow you to market to them absolutely free.
Have A Reason to Call Prospects
Have you heard – – cold-calling doesn’t work – – but “warm-calling” does. Warm-calling happens when you call someone who has already had some type of experience with you. Whenever you call a prospect, have a valid reason to call.
|1. Direct Mail Follow Up Send a direct mail piece to a prospect or customer and follow up by asking them about, “the free report you sent them three days ago” or the “newspaper article you recently sent them.” You can even call them up in advance just to let them know your direct mail piece is coming (this is better done with voice broadcasting).||2. Use a Familiar Name Try to get the name of someone familiar that you can use to open the conversation. For instance, “Hi Ms. Prospect, my name is Denise and I’m calling from Spa City USA. I was speaking with John Richter yesterday and he mentioned that I might want to call you… (Hint: always get permission from the referrer to use their name)|
About the Author:
David Frey, President of Marketing Best Practices Inc, a Houston-based small business marketing consulting firm, is the senior editor of the Marketing Best Practices Newsletter, a free weekly newsletter featuring small business marketing best practices. More Marketing Ideas
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