Calling clients, do you love it or loathe it?

Whether you like it or not, I am afraid the phone is a big part of our success, either in your own business or in any career where you have clients. Face to face contact is always my preference but is not always possible from a time perspective to stay in touch with everyone regularly in that way. Story by Kirsty Spraggon.

This past week, I have had the pleasure of coaching numerous people in numerous industries around ‘cold calling’. Yuck! I hear some of you say…well yes, that’s what I thought, too. It sounds so wrong. Perhaps instead we should be calling it ‘new client calls’ or ‘potential friend calls’. That sounds so much nicer.

At the same time, I had by chance been making my own client follow up calls. Some were cold and some warm. What I found incredibly interesting was how differently we felt about this task; while I was excited… my clients were terrified or simply loathsome about the very idea of making their calls.

So what I wanted to share with you this month was what my process is, in the hope it will help anyone who may suffer from a little call reluctance to actually enjoy the process and to achieve some great results.

The first thing to understand is that you are NOT cold calling and you are not calling to ‘close a sale’. You are calling to ‘open a relationship’ to just open the door a fraction and get your foot in it. So that over time, it will open fully and they will invite you in.

It is so important that you let go of having an agenda and that your intention of making the call – is simply to open a relationship.

Recently I was making a series of client calls. My coaching client was sitting in on the session and when I finished she turned to me and said ‘now I would feel depressed after all that’. I asked her why? And her response was ‘because you didn’t make a sale’.

I hadn’t realised that this is what most people are expecting when they make calls. I guess that is what we have been conditioned to expect and pushed to do when ‘cold calling’ through traditional selling techniques.

Somewhere along the road I had learned to understand and appreciate that all relationships take time and are not about the agenda of trying to close an immediate sale but rather opening that door.

So after an hour of calls I felt fantastic, excited in fact that I had had such a great morning chatting to clients and reconnecting with them and opening those doors just a little further.

If we understand the incubation period we respect this idea. Many sales sessions focus on the fact that a sale often comes on the fifth to seventh call. This is not because you have finally ‘closed them’ it is because they have finally had a need.

Statistics show us that a client will take on average anywhere from 9-18 months from the time they first meet us or come into contact with our brand to the time they do business with us.

All we need to do is stay in touch long enough and provide enough value that when they have a need for our product or service, we are top of mind.

That really is all you need to do, that is the big secret, the golden idea, that’s it! Please understand that, it’s so important I will say it again….

All we need to do is stay in touch long enough and provide enough value that when they have a need for our product or service, we are top of mind.

So, basically I meet people and I stay in touch. I meet people and I stay in touch…that’s it.

I meet people and I stay in touch…

In terms of losing the agenda: Understand that not every client will convert to business either. Some will be in the incubation period longer, some may never have a need and that is also ok. Golden tip number 2 – other things come out of our relationships, than simply a sale.

I have one particular client who is more of a friend and we have never used each other’s products or services as we have never had a need, but over the years we have referred each other $100s of thousands of dollars in referrals and even if we hadn’t, I love her to bits and the relationship itself is invaluable to me. So reframe the calls in your mind, from the end result being a sale which will leave you feeling disappointed, to ‘opening relationships’ which will mean you have a greater chance of a successful call occurring.

So let go of the agenda and let your intention be to open a relationship. For more information on handling initial calls with clients, check out my free audio on this topic which is downloadable from my resource center at www.kirstyspraggon.com under audio’s.

Quick Tips For Making Calls –

  1. Get in state – you need to be happy and upbeat this comes through in your voice. My favorite way is through music put ‘pump up the jam’ on the ipod and I challenge you not to be pumped up.
  2. Smile before you dial – an oldie but a goodie, no explanation needed.
  3. Don’t over prepare or over think it, you will just stress yourself out.
  4. Be confidant they want to hear from you and that you are a professional
  5. Depending on who and why I am calling, I may jot down a couple of things I want to remember to mention so that I can be present with them on the call and not thinking about what I need to say.
  6. If you have a bad call, clear the air and decontaminate immediately. Take a break, call someone you know is always fun to chat with or put your favorite song on.
  7. It is important to think long term not short and therefore following up is key.

Show More

Kirsty Spraggon

Kirsty Spraggon is a relationship building expert that assists you to increase, your sales, networks and connections for life & business success. Her show @kirstytv has just hit 100,000 views on youtube. For more information visit kirstyspraggon.com