I don’t have time to plan… really?

Ok, we are in a weird time.  By now, however, you should have figured out how to adapt.  Use Zoom, Go To Meetings, whatever.  We have to stay in touch with customers.  In some cases we can meet outside and go for a walk with a customer.  Creative, don’t you think?

The important thing is we have to plan our interactions with our customers.  Make it beneficial for customers to talk to you.  Consider their WIIFM (what’s in it for me).  I’ve harped on not making check-in calls.  Those are stupid and make you look stupid.  Plan what your interaction is going to be.  For example, if you are following up on a proposal.  Do better than “hello Betty, did I get the order?”  Here are some examples of pre-planning. No contact with your customer in a long time.  Be prepared with something to offer.  Does your company provide webinars, or other educational offerings? Find one you believe will be of interest to your customer and describe it.  Have you come across a podcast, blog or article that would interest your customer?  Send a link to your customer and follow up with a call or text. You are re-kindling the relationship.

Proposal follow up.  

Your customer agreed to a follow up call and you are calling at the appointed time.  Rather than beginning the call with “did I get the order?” begin with something related to the proposal.  For example, lead times have improved, a success story from another customer/competitor using the same or similar service/product, or describe an additional benefit for them if they buy from you.

First time call. 

You may have attempted to reach your prospect several times through email or other marketing efforts and they finally respond.  Be ready.  Introduce yourself, ask for 5 minutes, remind them of your previous touches and ask your first question;  Was there something in my earlier correspondence that specifically interested you?  

Responding to a referral. 

You’ve been given this prospect’s name by a common acquaintance.  Remind your prospect of the mutual relationship and why you’ve been referred. “John Stewart suggested I contact you regarding the success he had with our new (fill in the blank).  Are you familiar with our company/product?”  Then go on to explain why John thought your prospect would benefit from meeting you. You are providing the WIIFM.

Bottom line here is that planning will make a difference.  You will look and sound professional, you won’t waste your time or your customer’s and the probability of success increases.

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