In this day of social media and email Ecobuild was an opportunity to meet new and existing clients face to face.  So what now? It is all too easy to return to our desks and hide behind our computer screens, to be diverted by project deadlines and internal meetings. In this blog I will be looking at how to keep the conversation going and importantly try to spur you on to ‘dive in’ and pick up the phone!

First things first – Do what you said you were going to do

Don’t let the business cards collected sit in the bottom of your free eco bag.  Sort through them, order them by priority and ensure you complete the actions you promised: whether this is to send an email with specific information, post a product catalogue, send a copy of your company newsletter… whatever it is, it is important that you follow through and deliver.

Keep motivated – set targets and schedule dedicated time.

Another important element of lead follow-up is to keep motivated. One way of doing this is to set targets. This may be to complete a number of calls per day and/or to complete the total list within a number of weeks of the show closing. Or it may be to secure a number of face-to-face meetings, or to generate a certain number of sales. You could ‘challenge a colleague’ and add an element of competition into it.

In some ways it doesn’t matter what your target, as long as it is relevant and ultimately keeps you motivated. Equally important though is to block out time in your working day, so you can dedicate time to complete the tasks. It is important to treat this as valuable time that should not be interrupted by other projects, internal meetings etc. If you find this hard and are easily distracted consider taking yourself off to a quiet space or meeting room for the duration.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone – Telephone technique

You may think you are an old hand at making a phone call to a client but there is never any harm in reminding yourself of the basics.

Always plan for the call to be a success:

Preparation – Know what you are going to say
What is your objective for the call and what is the response you are wanting? Read through your notes, remind yourself of any further information you have sent them. Make sure you have all the information to hand to refer to during your call.

Be brief – don’t waffle
Time is precious so get straight to the point. Start the call with a ‘Verbal Handshake’.    Introduce yourself in a clear manner. Remember that at the beginning of the call the recipient may only be half listening, as their mind moves on from the task they were working on when you called. Next establish and build rapport, refer to your meeting at Ecobuild and the follow-up information you sent. Importantly summarise why you are calling.

Tone of voice – sound professional
This is very important. Remember to use some of the techniques  such as: smiling whilst you talk, maintaining good body posture and keeping  your head up, standing to convey authority and keeping your head still to sound serious. Even though the caller cannot see you, these physical actions can change the tone of your voice. It is also important to vary the pitch of your voice to keep interest and not to speak with too high a pitch, so sounding young. Next time you watch the News listen to the voice of the presenter and take note of their pitch and tone.

Speak their language – relate it to the customer’s business whenever possible
Give evidence of your preparation by demonstrating an understanding of their business. Find things in common, play down your differences and focus on your similarities. Provide solutions, demonstrating you understand what matters to them.

Close for commitment – do what you said you were going to do!
Complete the call by summarising and telling the prospect what you will do next. Confirm when you should next contact them and to bring it full circle, do what you said you were going to do!

Conclusion

Don’t hide behind technology, keep it human, pick-up the phone! Dedicate some time exclusively to following-up the conversations you started at Ecobuild and reap the rewards, by gaining new contacts that could generate business. At the very least make sure you do what you said you were going to do, therefore establishing a reputation for being reliable and trustworthy.

Further reading

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdhancock/3420540107/”>JD Hancock</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

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