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October 2008

How do I improve sales? Communicate with your clients!

October 30, 2008

Oct30communicateforbett_2 Any communication expert worth their salt will tell you the secret of sales success is to know your audience.  You should know what they like, what they don’t like, their struggles, their passions and their success stories. But, how’s an SMB to get and keep up with all of this information?  Well, you can’t do it alone and today, you don’t have to!  Today’s technology makes it easy for you to stay in touch with your customers.

New technology, like Intellicast, offers an automated solution for small and medium business owners.    With this business service, you can send automated messages to your clients via phone and they can respond through an automated system or choose to speak to a live person.  So, how can an SMB company like you use this product?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Inform customer that their order is ready for pick up
  • Notify customers that their order has shipped
  • Remind a patient of an upcoming appointment
  • Welcome new customers with a quick, personal message
  • Conduct customer surveys to gather valuable information

The bullet points above are all different reason for contacting your customers.  By finding pertinent reasons to communicate with your customers, you become “sticky”.  The more pertinent customer touch points you can find, the more likely you are to increase retention of a customer.  As you all know, the longer a customer sticks around the more money they will spend, if they are happy.  Ultimately, by communicating with your customers, in an easy to use fashion, you are securing your bottom line.  How does this work?  How can simply talking to customers make you money?  Here are a few desired results from using technology to create customer touch points in order to increase retention and sales:

  • Tell the customer what you know and you become the subject matter expert!  This makes your company trustworthy.
  • Asking for your customers’ opinion makes them feel important and involved in the sales cycle which will generally shorten the cycle and bring in revenue faster!
  • Welcoming new customers makes them feel special!  It sounds emotional, and it is.  The goal of any marketing or advertising is to make the reader/viewer feel an emotion and act on it. Making customers feel special will help you sell more.
  • Keeping customers informed makes them feel like you are a partner and not just someone taking their money!

If you are currently using a communication vehicle with your customers and would like to share your success, comment below. Or, if you have questions on how you can go about communicating with your clients more often please let us know!

Conference Calls – Why Bother?

October 07, 2008

Oct7confcallswhybother_2You are on conference calls almost every day.  Giving status updates, meeting with potential clients and collaborating with team members can now be done over the phone or web.  But you notice that some times your team isn’t really listening and your potential client requests an in-person meeting after the teleconference.  So, why bother with conference calls at all?

There are tons of advantages to using conference calls and you can use teleconferencing to effectively keep in touch regardless of your industry.  But first, let’s go over a few advantages of conference calls.

Time saver
Instead of having your team drive to one central office, they can simply jump on the phone.  Asking questions and calling on specific people will keep everyone much more focused.

Money saver
Almost all of us are on a tighter budget these days and conference calls help you save money that you would normally spend traveling.

Technology guru
In today’s world of mobile internet and email that talks to you, there are tons of tools to help you communicate.  Using updated conference call technology shows that you are “with the times” and knowledgeable about the tools at your disposal.

Team building
When you have an interactive conference call instead of a one-way communication that dictates company strategy, employees feel more like a team.  People love for their ideas to be heard.  By encouraging brainstorming and open communication you are fostering an environment where your team can flourish.

So, now that you know how conference calls can benefit you, let’s go over some actual applications.  If you are just beginning a leadership role it is important to understand the “how-to” of conference calls.  Here are a few examples.

Sales

  • Product training
    Have an expert from your operations team on a conference call to explain a product or service that your team is selling.  A refresher is always a good way to keep a profitable product “top of mind” for your sales people.  It’s a good idea to have a few questions about the product ready to ask.
  • Motivation Meetings
    Is it near the end of the quarter? Do your numbers need a little push?  A daily motivational meeting is a great way to pump up your sales people, especially if you are managing remote teams.  Read a quick quote or recognize last week’s top performers.
  • Strategy Swaps
    All sales people handle their territories a little differently.  So, have 4 or 5 members of your team come to the conference call prepared to share their #1 tip for getting new business.  Your newer reps will benefit from the veterans’ experience and your veterans might learn a thing or two.

Operations Meetings

  • Project Updates
    Set up periodic conference calls so that your project team can discuss potential obstacles and available resources affecting their time line.  A project manager is a great person to lead this type of call and will benefit greatly from the entire team hearing how the other members are progressing.
  • Safety Guidelines
    New safety rules should always be communicated to employees clearly.  Before new guidelines are implemented, have your operations managers on a conference call.  Make sure they understand the changes so they can clearly communicate them to employees.  This is also a great time to decide how the new rules will be communicated to the rest of the company.
  • Disaster Recovery
    All teams should be prepared for the worst.  In preparation for a disaster, have conference call phone numbers and codes ready at a moment’s notice.  Give this information to designated disaster recovery personnel and do a quarterly drill to make sure everyone clearly understands their role.

These are just a few ideas of how conference calls can be used.  If you are using your conference call in a unique way, share it with us in the comments section.  Or, if you are in another industry and need some ideas on how conference calls can benefit you, leave a question in the comments and we’ll get back to you right away!