Good Conversation and Personal Dialogue

The phone will never be a replacement for face to face interaction but it should remain a primary tool in your arsenal of weapons to use for staying in touch with customers. When you’re not with a customer in person, the phone is the next best thing and can still provide a powerful and personal presence. By using your voice in a warm, pleasant and engaging manner, you’ll stand a good chance of nailing that first appointment.

Email is not the medium of choice for this purpose! A lot of people today believe that an email or text to a prospect or client is sufficient communication to let them know how much you care about them. You’ve got to be kidding me! Today, we are witnessing the vanishing art of good conversation and personal dialogue. . People with smarts (you, I hope) know that personalized contact is how and where good relationships are cemented and renewed. Let them experience the sincerity in your voice. This is an opportunity to exchange ideas and get an update on their status.

The beauty of the phone is that it can be a very persuasive communication tool if you use it properly. It’s convenient, fast, and compared to the cost of printing, very cheap. In fact when I first got into retail automotive selling, I was basically provided with a phone and a desk. Period. That was it. I spent the better part of the day on the phone with a telephone directory next to me. I made at least 15 calls a day, mostly “cold” calls where the prospect may not really be qualified at all. I knew nothing about them. I would call all the Browns on one day. Next day it would be the Joneses, or the Kowalski’s, or the Smiths, and so on. I could practically tell you what day of the week it was by which letter of the alphabet I was on. It wasn’t very scientific, but it was how I got started with my initial efforts to get in touch with potential customers. The phone can also be used for staying in contact with customers and prospects you already have. So my respect for the telephone has some very special meaning to me personally.

A few weeks or months after I made the sale, I’d go through my file of recent customers and start calling them on the phone. You would think that might be asking for trouble, but for me it is important that my customers know I appreciated their business. I’ll tell them if they have any problems at all with the car, any rattle, any mileage problem, or whatever, they should bring it in and ask for me. Then I’ll ask if they know of anybody who is looking to buy a car. I’ll suggest friends or relatives and remind them that I will pay $50 for any customer who buys from me that they referred. If they say a brother-in-law was talking the other night about how beat up his car is, I’ll ask for his name and number. And I’ll also ask them to do me a favor and please call him, and I’ll call him myself later. Then I remind them about the $50 thank them again and say goodbye.

However, the phone will never be a replacement for face-to-face interaction. In fact, it’s the first thing I “turn off” when a customer is in my office! If your taking calls while you’re with a customer you’re telling them that they’re not that important to you—you don’t have time for them, and YOU DON’T NEED THEM. Don’t let your phone distract you by checking it or taking other calls, stay focused on the person you’re with! Give them your undivided attention, not your phone. When I look at all the communication tools I used in my career to help me become successful, I realize they all had their place and value. But I also knew that what really made me successful were the principles I adopted that made customers feel special all the time. No magic-just dedication, ingenuity and a burning desire to succeed.