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. So my respect for the telephone has some very special meaning to me personally.
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 with one another and replacing it with the equivalent of what I think is “digital harassment’. Instead of getting closer to people, technology can actually help to isolate them from you. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that effective communication is only about doing it fast. Relationship building is above all else QUALITY COMMUNICATIONS. 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 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 your 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. You might as well be telling them to take a hike. Guess what? That’s a two way street. You’ll find out fast that they don’t need you either. Don’t let your phone distract you by checking it or taking other calls, stay focused on the person your 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.