When you know you ought to be making calls to clients who you haven’t spoken to in some time, how often do you put it on the back burner?
Many people find these ‘lukewarm’ calls really uncomfortable and will look for ANY excuse to put them off.
So what are the worries? Commonly these: “I don’t know what to say.” “Will they think I’m trying to get business?” “What do I say if they ask me why I haven’t been in touch for so long?” And more.
A few simple guidelines will remove the fear and make you much more comfortable to pick up the phone.
1. Ask yourself, “If I were that person, what would make me welcome the call?” So it has got to be ostensibly for their benefit and not yours. “I just wanted to catch up” does not pass the test, whereas “I thought you might be interested to hear….” probably does.
2. Be comfortable to address the elephant in the room and acknowledge that you should have been in touch before. This stops you being on the back foot.
3. Prepare thoroughly for the call. Know what you want to have achieved at the end of it, how you are going to open and what you can offer. Is it an update on some piece of relevant legislation, some market research, an invitation to an event?
4. Be totally honest because you will only get yourself into a tangle otherwise. So, when the secretary asks whether he is expecting the call you will have to say “No”, unless for example, you have previously sent an email or a letter saying you will call, in which case your answer can honestly be “Yes”. So consider how you can fertilise the ground before the call so you are not put in a position of having to give unproductive answers.
The most important thing you can do to help you make more calls is to prepare thoroughly for each one. The focus of this preparation must be on making your call interesting to the other person, rather than to you.