Prospective clients – the art of replying to calls

You already learned why response time is important in contact with prospective clients. Perhaps you feel like an expert in customer communication. But what about the actual callback? Find out about how to change prospective clients into new clients with a right way to reply.

Know your own offer

Most customers will come to you via a website. Your future customers have probably scrolled through the offer and though they are not experts, they will ask. There aren’t many things more annoying than a salesperson who doesn’t know their offer. Think about it. If you can’t even elaborate on the subject how can a client trust you to know the ropes and do the actual job?Perhaps you do know your stuff and can say everything about the offer, but the website is not updated.

Is Dole still running? source: mentalfloss.comThis may or may not affect the way the customer sees you. Trust me on one thing, however, if it does change the way they think about you, it’s not going to be for the better. Make sure your website reflects your current offer.

The price must be right

This technicaly also means ‘know your offer’ but in a financial way. It’s good to have a clear pricing available on your website. In that way, the people that don’t want to pay as much as you charge will not waste your time. However, some clients like to bargain. You need to know if and when you are willing to give the client a discount for your services. Cautiously consider the amount of work you need to perform, costs of materials and paycheck for your co-workers before kindly offering a discount. Otherwise, you might end up spending more than you make.

Qualify the client

Some of your callers are not necessary prospective clients. You don’t have to arm for the attack of the competition’s spies, but assessing the caller’s motivations and true interest in the cooperation is important. Especially before you invest too much of your precious time in the undefined relation.Ask your prospective client several questions that will help you test the waters:

  • What is the size of the project?
  • How much time would you like to dedicate to the project?
  • What is the most important factor for you in the service?
  • Is the price satisfactory for you?

And finally, let them decide on their own whether they want to use your service. Or at least give them the impression they can decide. After all, if you’ve asked the above questions, you already know if the caller is a prospective client for you or not.

Treat every contact seriously

As a business owner it is natural that you get excited by some contacts more than others. This is tricky. Don’t let the illusion of success go to your head. Planning a big and expensive project can completely obscure smaller commissions. Treat all your contacts seriously, with equal attention and respect. Even if you are busy with other jobs, decline politely.

Don’t hate your competition

Speaking of turning down a job offer – be classy about it. If you’ve been in a business for a while, you probably have a lot of competitors who do not make your Christmas cards list. Then again, somewhere along the way, you must’ve encountered decent people you don’t hate.Nobody expects you to recommend them to your clients, but if you find out that they actually offered their skills for a client you declined, don’t try to damage their reputation. Slandering other people in the industry can give prospective clients the impression that you are not about fair play. And, unless you’re a divorce lawyer, people generally don’t appreciate that. Always remember – you were the one to decline the offer.And what if you were eager to take on another job and yet the client decided to opt for the competition? Act in a similar manner, only this time also find the time to think about this situation like a true businessman. Consider why the customer chose a competitive offer and what you can do to convince the next one to stay with you.

Be friendly with your prospective clients

Especially the shy callers need to feel that you’re a friend and not a merciless business shark getting ready to devour them. Let’s face it. Not everyone loves talking on the phone. Perhaps you don’t like it either. Especially nowadays, when we have the convenient option to hide behind e-mails and other communicators, it might seem dispensable. Using a phone for business purpose is twice as stressful because we have to talk to a stranger and try to negotiate the best financial conditions for us, while not offending the other person. Unfortunately, we all know phone calls are a must in successful sales, so why not making it more enjoyable for both client and yourself?

Use some phrases that will help your customer feel pleasantly surprised:

  • Ask me anything you want to know. – this will encourage your customers to ask whatever they had in mind.
  • Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with. – this one works especially well if the client hesitates before asking a question.
  • I will send you an e-mail to confirm our arrangements. – this is a nice way to show you care about the client and to… close the deal. If the client receives your e-mail with details of the meeting and arrangements about the project they will feel obliged to meet.

Customer communication is a craft. Although not everyone is a natural, practice makes perfect. Try including the above practices into your business strategy and see for yourself.

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