Telephone Success Strategies for Small BusinessesBy: David Frey
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
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.
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.
Listen Carefully While On the Phone
People call you because they want something. Let me say that again, people call you because they want something. They might want a price, an explanation, to report a problem, to speak with a manager etc. Whatever the case may be, they want something.
The key to selling is to give people what they want. What better time to listen to what somebody wants than when they call you up? If you listen well enough, your prospects will tell you just what you need to know to sell them your product or service.
Or your prospect's inventory is being stolen, a possible response may be, "What is the dollar cost of inventory that is missing per store? How many stores are experiencing this same problem? Then this problem is costing your business $XX dollars"
Now solve your prospect's problem by keying in on the solution to their pain. "Ms. Smith, most of our customers experience back pain just like yours, some even worse. Most have found relief within 30 days or less using (product or service)."
Turn Price Checkers Into Value Seekers
One of the most common challenges to telephone marketing is how to handle price checkers, people who call you up just to get a price. This is especially dangerous if they have not yet received enough information to determine value.
It leaves you to compete price alone. This leaves you at a disadvantage unless you sell a bottom-end, cheap-as-dirt product. If you do, hopefully you have a cost advantage over your competitors.
Perhaps the most detrimental result of giving out your price over the phone is that you have just taken away the single most powerful motivation for people to come into your business and speak with you personally. You've just set yourself up to be price shopped.
Always Ask for An Appointment
A phone call without an appointment is like building a website and not getting visitors. Why work to make your phone ring if you're not going to try and get an appointment? You should ask for an appointment on most every call.
Use Benefit Oriented After-Hours Voicemail
There's no better time to market to somebody then when they are waiting to speak to you. Instead of telling the person waiting on the phone about how great you are, help them to solve their problems. Here is a typical message that I hear often: "Thanks for calling ABC Pools, our store hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Please call back during our normal business hours. Thank you." Click.
Your telephone can be a powerful marketing tool if used correctly. With some know-how training you'll be able to see results immediately. A great website for learning more about how to use your phone to make profits is www.BusinessByPhone.com owned by Art Sobczak, an author and expert in telephone marketing.
© Copyright 2002, David Frey
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.