Recently, I took a call from a new client who, at the start of our conversation, mentioned how pleased she was to always get a live body on the phone when calling for assistance. We have many communications options available to us — phone, email, Skype, social media — but it takes some time to understand how different people like to communicate. For some, an e-mail is the best way to reach them while others prefer the immediacy of a call.
Our project management system, CurrentTrack®, is terrific and its merits stand on their own, but our service level is a major component of the value proposition we make to our clients. It takes a commitment on our part to understand how best to communicate with the many people we interact with on a daily basis. In this instance, our availability on the phone earned us their business.
Working in business development, I try to make myself as accessible as possible. In addition to our company accounts, I’m easily found on all the major social networks. I also include my cell phone number in my e-mail signature. And, most importantly, I always answer my phone. I’m an “Inbox Zero” kind of guy; I won’t file away an e-mail until a response has been sent or an action taken — and, boy, do I want that Inbox clean by the end of the day. I want prospects and clients alike to know I’m here where and when they need me.
Outbound calls, in a sales capacity, can be particularly challenging. Businesses receive many calls a day from solicitors, so it’s tough to reach the person I’m asking for, even if they’ve already expressed interest in my product. I’ve tried to discover a magic formula combining phone and e-mail contact methods to get me through to my contact — but there doesn’t seem to be one catch-all solution. Instead, I try to locate the person’s preferred avenues of communication. Perhaps they never answer the phone, but are very quick to respond to e-mails. Some people get most of their work done in the morning and have more time to chat in the afternoon. I’ve learned never to call on ad agencies on Monday mornings, they almost all have a status meeting to discuss what they’re working on for the week ahead (coincidentally, our Master Task List is a great report to pull to inform those discussions!). Most of the time, it’s just a matter of timing; they’ll be ready when they’re ready, which is why I’m here for them when they are. So, tweet me, Facebook me, send an e-mail, give a call, or send a raven.