As promised, I am back from Hawaii relaxed from enjoying time on the beach in the sun and motivated beyond belief from all of the great ideas that I heard at the Ninja Selling Retreat. (Go to www.ninjaselling.com for more information on future classes and retreats.) It is amazing to me that I have been to 5 retreats now and each time I come back with great new ideas along with reminders to revisit things that I was doing and stopped doing somewhere along the way.
The first year that I did the Ninja Selling classes I doubled my business so I am here to tell you, the system REALLY works. Best of all, it allows you to be yourself and have a life. As I reflected on what I did that year to double my business I listed out the top 10 things that really had an impact. Rather than just list them out in one post I am going to do it in 10 posts, one each day Monday through Friday for the next 2 weeks. This way you get the information in easier to digest portions and I can expand on each one a bit more.
Tip #1: Stop emailing and start calling and sending handwritten note cards
I know, email is easier and faster, but it is just NOT the same when it comes to connecting with people. Picking up the phone to call my clients was one of the main things that had an impact on my business that year. I was always really good at keeping my clients informed on where we were with things, but I did it all via email. What I found when I picked up the phone was that we had a chance to bond that we didn’t before. It also gave my clients a chance to ask questions that hadn’t been showing up in email. It also gave me a chance to listen for ways that I could ‘wow’ them an help them in some way. Maybe they were not sure how to send a wire transfer, needed more boxes, etc.
Making those phone calls can also help to smooth out the bumpy parts of a transaction. My normal M.O. before was to email my clients almost exclusively until an ‘issue’ came up and then I would call them. The phone call would almost always be strained, I would not feel connected to my clients at all and often times it didn’t even feel like we were on the same team. I found that when I had been talking to my clients on the phone all along that those ‘tough’ calls were easier to make and were better received because the bond was deeper.
A couple of pointers on making calls:
~ Always use the 5 step calling process which is: Greeting / FORD or common ground / the reason for the call / FORD or common ground / Good bye
~ When dealing with a husband and wife or multiple people in a transaction always call both parties every time you make a call, even if you just leave a voice mail for the second person letting them know that you talked to the first person and leave them a recap of the conversation. This way everyone is in the loop and there isn’t any question as to weather or not the message is relayed correctly.
~ When you are calling people that you know to reconnect and you may not be working with right now many times agents are nervous about what to say. Be honest! If you haven’t called them in a long time say that. Just call them up and say that you were thinking about them and can’t believe it has been so long since you chatted and that you just wanted to touch base and see how things are going. (The more you know about them the better, because you can always ask about the kids, or their golf game, etc ~ or just use some humor and let them know that you feel like a complete goof for not having kept in better touch, but that you really are looking forward to catching up.)
~ Facebook is awesome for making FORD calls. People post some really amazing things on there. If someone you know posts big news such as they are having a baby, just went on a big vacation, ran their first 5K race, got a new job, etc ~ don’t post a comment on facebook ~ call them! I have done this many times and gotten some wonderful responses from people about how much they appreciated the call and the recognition.
~ Always be listening for change in their lives
~ Take notes on the call and record them in your contact manager
~ Flag your calendar for a follow up call if possible. If they mentioned that they are going on vacation call them 10 days after they get back to see how it went. Call the Mom’s on your list after the first week of school to see how it went for everyone, etc.
Above all else, just make the call! Start with 1 extra call a day. That is it, just one more call than you would have done otherwise. That alone can change your business and your life.
The other part that goes hand in hand with making phone calls is hand written note cards. Now before the excuses start pouring in as to why you can’t do this I will tell you that I have some of the worlds worst handwriting and I still send them out and they work wonders. So stop by Papyrus or Barnes and Noble on the way home (two of my favorite places for note cards) and pick up a couple different boxes of note cards. Preferably the smaller ones because then you don’t have to write as much. People love to be acknowledged and they appreciate the professionalism that a note card represents.
I ran into a client of mine outside of an open house a while ago and we stopped to chat and say hello. I sent him a note card the next day saying how nice it was to see him and wishing him a great summer playing softball with his buddies. He sent me an email letting me know how much he appreciated the card and being a business owner he recognized the level of professionalism that it implied. A year later he called me to help him find his vacation property which was worth much more than the card and the stamp that is for sure.
For any of you guys that might be reading this and are feeling that sending a note card is not very ‘manly’ ~ send the card! My husband, Gary, is a manufactures sales rep and sends note cards to his accounts on a regular basis. (I got him some manly ones with a golf ball on them and his name so he wasn’t sending out cards with flowers all over them.) Yes, the guys like to give him a hard time about it every now and then, but they also comment that no other perhaps ever sent them a card or been more professional. Bottom line there have been many times when he got the business over someone else because of his note cards.
So your final task in this tip is to start sending out one note card a day. You can even make it easy on yourself and send it to the person that you made your one extra phone call to saying how nice it was to catch up with them and you are handled.
If you have questions on either of these, don’t hesitate to either post a comment here on the blog or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you much success!