Occasionally I run courses in Sales and Marketing for photographers - and typically during these courses one of the most challenging topics for the group is the best use of the telephone; both inbound and outbound. It is also one of the easiest to fix and can lead to outstanding improvements in new business generation with the minimum of outlay. It just takes a bit of organising (and a little courage).
The way inbound telephone calls are handled and the use of the telephone in outbound sales calls can both have a dramatic affect on your business. Together they can really make a huge difference.
Inbound calls and the ABC of greetings.
Do you have a dedicated incoming line for business enquiries? If the answer is no then you should consider it. Technology can help and it does not need to be expensive. There are companies offering virtual numbers forwarded to any number you wish, even your mobile and with CLI (Caller line identifier) you will always know that this is a business enquiry. When you recieve a business call how do you answer the telephone, do you have a system? These are first impressions, prospects are deciding whether or not to do business with you from the very first word. Telephone greetings should use the ABC - amiable, brief and candid and be taken in a business like environment and you should always give your name which lends authority. If you can't always do this then consider a telephone answering service. These professionals can answer the telephone with your business name, take a message, send an email or text , or even transfer the call to you depending on your circumstances. The small cost of this service can repay you many times. Whichever way you choose to deal with this issue, if your customers and prospects get recieved well on the telephone it will help increase your referral rate, increase the number of prospects you convert to customers and keep your customers, as your customers, for longer.
Outbound calls, or the dreaded sales call.
Let's face it. Sales calls are not easy and until you get the hang of them they are not particularly pleasant either. They also fall into the important but not urgent category, which is why, because most of us are our own boss, they don't get done! However, sales calls can turbo charge your business practically overnight and have the added advantage that they are in your control. If you need more customers in a particular month you simply get on the 'phone - advertising does not give that precision and costs much, much more than a few calls. Books have been written on telephone selling but in essence all you need is:- a positive attitude, a list of the people you should call (past customers are a great place to start) a good idea of what you are going to say that includes an offer and a sales close (the option close is one of the simplest) a clear desk, a pad, pen, telephone and the courage to get started... Commit to one a day for the first week and work up from there. The first one will always be the hardest and you will probably mess it up, don't worry, just smile and move on to the next one. Good Luck!
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Hilton London Metropole Hotel ...
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