February 24, 2010

The 1 Ton Phone

If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.
-John Maxwell

The fear of the phone is so very common amongst business owners. There is no shame in knowing that you KNOW you have to make calls to get business, yet you avoid the phone like it's got the plague. We all understand, we have all done it.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who was saying how they only had a couple of customers that month and didn't want to spend a lot of money on an advertising campaign. She then asked me what I would do. I said I'd get on the phone, start calling people, see what's going on. She said she hated doing that and was going to run the ad campaign... Oh well.

Referrals can be the life blood of your business, but how do you get one and from who?

The people who give you referrals are the ones who know and like you. Lots of business owners put their social lives on hold in order to advance their business. It is a huge mistake. How can you get to know new people and have those you know like you, if they never get to spend time with you? The solution is to call them. Don't call to talk shop, call to see what's going on in their lives, call to see if there is anything you can help them with. Do they have a fundraiser going on? Any special events for their kids? I'm telling you from both a parent and a business owner's point of view, buying a few chocolate bars or an $8 roll of wrapping paper goes a long, long way in developing relationships!

Want to call people but have no idea what to say? Try keeping a log. Just a few notes on what's going on with them. See if they are on Facebook or Twitter, it will give you a better idea of what to talk to them about. In the log try to keep track of kids, pets, spouses, any issues they may be having. If they mention in January that Jane is working on her final project for graduation in June, that gives you a great reason to call back in June!!

If you need to set appointments for presentations? This is BY FAR the hardest reason on why you need to call people. Calling someone out of the blue, or even someone you know well and putting yourself out there opens a huge door on our self-esteem. There's lots of outcomes and I think I've heard them all. From rude, to excited, to unwilling to can't wait, you never know what's going to happen on the other end of that phone. But it MUST, MUST, MUST be done. Try working out different approaches, some people wouldn't' listen for a second if they thought you were trying to sell them something, but if they thought they were listening as a favor to you or to see if they know someone, it can be a different story. Try and figure out what approach would work for them and if nothing else, just try, try, try again.

Using the phone to build your business is like any other tool or skill you need to be effective. I don't think any of us were born with a great ability to set appointments, get referrals or build relationships. We have to practice at it. Start small, try 5 phone calls a day. Just keep working at it. Like all other skills, it will grow with time, and soon you will be great at it!

Have a Blessed Day,

Brandy Deming


1 comment:

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