We have all been there, leaving a message for a client when you are trying to write their script, them calling back when you are not available and so on and so on. It can be frustrating. How do you avoid it? Try these 8 ideas from OVERCOMING OBJECTIONS by Carl Henry (its a sales book, but I found that they work for me in Copyland!):
- IMPROVE YOUR TIMING. Make calls when you know your client will be in (but how do I do that I hear you ask) First thing in the morning, mid-week. So that would be Wednesday morning between 8 and 9 am are the times that I get the best results. I tracked them for 2 months and found that calls made on a Wednesday morning got 80% return or answered straight away. Mornings for the rest of the week resulted in 60% returns. What are the worst times? Monday morning and Friday afternoon – avoid them at all costs!
- ALWAYS HAVE AN ALTERNATE CONTACT. That means you get from your sales team members not only the office number, but their personal mobile cell number, or someone else to contact in the office if they are not available.
- KNOW HOW TO TALK OVER THE PHONE TO RECEPTIONISTS AND SECRETARIES. These people not only field calls (often called the gate keepers), but they prioritize them. Make friends with them, a bit of banter goes a long way to see your message gets returned.
- THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Find out from their staff when they will return, and you could ask them what is the busiest time of day for them so you can avoid it.
- HOLD TIME IS WASTED TIME. I don’t know how many HOURS I have wasted on hold to be finally put through, only to find that the client doesn’t want to talk to me at all, or about the ad, or they are unprepared. How do you combat this?
- MESSAGES, MAKE THEM MATTER. Send them an email or in the message you have left the following details: Who you are, Why you are calling, What you are calling about SPECIFICALLY, and When you will call them back – or your deadline to get their already agreed to commercial on-air. You can, if you are talking to their secretary, use a little light humour – but be professional.
- REMEMBER THAT TECHNOLOGY CAN BE YOUR FRIEND. From message banks to SMS messages, voice mail to email – use them, and use them often. I have left the same messages or sent the same messages to all of these to reach one client and when they finally got back to me – they had only seen one of them. Let them know of the other messages so they can delete them.
- FINALLY: MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE. Establish regular ‘in-office’ hours that you can be reached on – I have even included these on my email signature at one time to make sure that clients knew what time I was going to be there – then I changed them for a month to say midnight to 6am – did anyone notice? No one at all. So be upfront in any messages, say you will be available from 9 to5, and at lunch from 1 to 2. Then they know EXACTLY when you are available.