“What’s the best time to call?” is one of the questions I get asked frequently and earlier this week I posted my answer to The Lunch Pack’s Burst of Learning group on LinkedIn. (It takes less than a minute to read and can be found here: http://lnkd.in/__b3NS)
While writing that post, I began to think about the frequency of other comments on phonework. Then during my time at Oxford Learning’s Niagara Falls conference http://www.oxfordlearning.com/ this past week, I found a contender for first place: “But I don’t want to be a pest”.
This is usually said in relation to the phonework of follow up. You have received a query from a prospective client or had a detailed conversation with them, and you need to follow up for further discussion.
Here are some thoughts that I hope will help eliminate your “pest” concerns:
1) When a prospective customer contacts us for more information, it is vital that we follow up in a consistent and professional manner. To do otherwise is a clear message of disinterest on our part. Remember the adage “Actions speak louder than words”. When we avoid, procrastinate or ignore our follow up work because we are preoccupied with ourselves, with the notion of being a pest, we are still communicating with our prospect – and what we are saying is “We don’t want your business”.
2) Follow up is what the vast majority of our prospects expect. In fact, whether they recognize it or not, they are judging us on it. They contact us for information and then they get back to their busy busy lives. They are trusting that we are professional enough, and interested enough, to keep the conversation going. If we don’t they either decide they don’t want our particular service or product or … they move on to the competition.
3) We are a “pest” when we don’t listen. By this I mean, if we continue to call someone who has already said “no”; if we call someone every quarter when they clearly asked us to follow up in a year’s time; and … if we continually call someone who is outside our target market. Do your research. Listen carefully. Do your follow up.
One more tidbit. This past week I flew Porter Airlines www.flyporter.com for the first time. They are a stellar example of providing an unexpected and delightful experience that builds loyalty. If you have never flown Porter, here are a few highlights:
1) A meal on the flight from Halifax to Toronto – with good healthy ingredients.
2) Free stuff – beverages and a wide variety of snacks at no cost at all.
3) Mostly cheerful staff – which makes being a customer a cheerful experience.
4)And Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto (also known as the Island Airport) is, well, beautiful. Seating is in groups of four with some privacy, ideal for the business traveller. And while you are waiting, the cafeteria-style restaurant offers lots of healthy food choices with … more free stuff – free coffee and tea, bottled water and snacks.
I felt taken care of and that I mattered as a customer. And I haven’t felt that when on a plane or at an airport since …????