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How to Boost Your Small Business With Powerful Telephone Techniques

By: Kevin Nunley

Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and promotion packages. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at DrNunley.com Reach Kevin at kevin@drnunley.com or 801-328-9006.

Tom knew he had to move fast.

"My small operation has done well. But now two larger competitors have moved in. They're killing me with lower prices and telemarketing."

Tom should resist the temptation to cut his prices. A panic driven price war is just what his adversaries are hoping for. They know they can last longer than he can.

Tom should build upon the relationships he's developed through his years in the community. He should mine past customers for new business. After all, Tom is the one people know and trust.

His competitors can only offer a lower price. Studies show that more and more people will pick trusted service before they will gamble on an unknown business with a lower price.

Tom can also put powerful telephone selling techniques to work. His competitors are using telemarketing to gain an edge on him. He can beat them at their own game, more effectively and much more cheaply.

Here's how you can profit from five very wise telephone techniques that will help you increase your clients and sales.
  1. Plan your call in advance. What are you going to say?

    Make some notes on a pad in front of you. You don't need to script every word, but memorizing the general structure of your call and key points you want to make will make the sales call smoother and much more enjoyable.

  2. Tell your story. What is there about you and your business that would interest lots of prospects. In Tom's case, it's his trusted, personal service to the community. People know him. They don't know his larger competitors.

    "I've worked for several people in your neighborhood," Tom tells a prospect over the phone. "Maybe you know Mrs. Jones on 2nd Street or Mr. Magumba down the block from you." That's a story that would get his prospect's attention.

  3. Whether you are calling a residence or a business, try to reach the boss--the person who can make the decision to buy your service or product. In the meantime, tell your story to as many people in the organization as you can. The boss may want second opinions before she buys, and she'll be reassured to find that others in the group already know about you.

  4. Leave creative messages. Many of the calls you make will be intercepted by answering machines, voice mail, and secretaries. Don't miss the chance to leave a message that will make the prospect want to call back.

    "George! This is Tom James of Creative Solutions. I've got a way you can cut your production costs by 20%." Prospects want to know why you are calling, and a good reason why they should call you back. Provide both in your message.

  5. Take notes on your calls. When George calls you back you'll want to be able to immediately remember who he is, when you called him, who you talked to, and what you said in past conversations and messages. If you've been making dozens or hundreds of calls, this can become impossible without notes to refer back to.

    If a prospect calls you back a week later, and you realize that you haven't the foggiest idea who they are, give yourself a moment to refresh your memory.

    Say, "I'm glad you called. Hold on just a second while I get to my desk." Put the prospect on hold while you check your notes. You can go back to the call fully prepared to deliver your message.
Don't take the telephone for granted. It's one of your most powerful sales tools. Expensive mass media, like TV and newspapers, can't match the telephone's ability to touch prospects and customers in very personal ways.

Don't be afraid to promote your business over the phone. People want and need your product or service. Reaching prospects through the phone, and sharing your enthusiasm and belief in your company and yourself, can be a superior way to build your client list.

© 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996 DrNunley.com.

Other Articles by Kevin Nunley

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