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In the Beginning…

January 16, 2011
Mary Jane Copps

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As part of her 25th and last season with her daytime talk show, Oprah, along with Hollywood powerhouse Tyler Perry, did two segments on a subject rarely discussed in public – male sexual abuse. In the audience for those two segments were 200 men, many of them speaking about this tragedy in their lives for the first time.

What has this got to do with The Phone Lady you ask?

Well, all of those men were approached about the subject and their participation in the show by telephone. Think about this for a moment. Someone they had never met, that they couldn’t see, called and talked to them about the most intimate details of their lives. The result was personal transformation and healing as well as groundbreaking television.

The telephone is an amazing communication tool. Many of you think of it only as a way to increase sales, which it can do, but above and beyond that it provides a direct, inexpensive, intimate way to continually and productively communicate with others.

Are you using it? If not, why not? It is a one of the tools of success you should not be ignoring and if you are, its time for change.

I began this blog as a way to share with you my belief in the importance of telephone communication. I know it to be an essential element of any business’ strong foundation. Over the past year or so I’ve shared with you a wide variety of telephone-related adventures, and I’ll continue to do that. But with this post I want to begin to take you, step-by-step, towards believing in and using this tool yourself. You will be amazed at what will occur when you pick it up and make things happen!

Earlier this month I worked with a client who was holding a gala event in late February. My job was to work with her contact list, make calls, get out emails and increase the number of people attending the event. This is the kind of project I love because there’s a well-defined time frame, a simple message and a measurable result.

Much to my dismay, the client’s contact list was in shambles. Names were incorrect, over half were no longer at the company indicated and, most awkward of all, several of them were committee members and volunteers for the event I was calling about! Needless to say, they were surprised, and in some cases annoyed, to get my phone call.

Given that the telephone is part of your business’ strong foundation, creating and maintaining an organized and accurate list of clients and potential clients is your first priority.

Years and years and years ago, when computers had price tags in the thousands of dollars, I ran a company that had over 12,000 contacts maintained on index cards. And I remember potential clients asking me what system I used because I always called at the agreed upon time and was diligent about not letting anyone slip through the cracks. Although, given the complexity of that paper system, I’m sure a few did. When we finally took those index cards and computerized them into a custom-designed software package, it was amazing and no excuses were accepted from me or my sales staff for overlooking an opportunity to speak with a potential client.

And there’s no excuses today. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems have come a long, long way. You can buy software at a reasonable price or you can use online systems for minimal monthly fees. You can utilize Outlook, which is likely already on your computer. Or if your needs are extremely minimal, those index cards still do the job.

If you are committed to growing your company – whether you are a telephone convert yet or not – you need to have access to accurate information on your customers and potential customers. Make this a priority!

On another note, I want to share with you a magazine I enjoy. It is rare for me to pick up a magazine and read every article, but not Success magazine. If your focus is on building your business, continual learning and inspiration, then you want to investigate this publication. Here’s a link to get you started: SUCCESS Magazine

Finally, you may not hear from me next week. For the past year I’ve been challenging myself to not only think outside the box but “do” outside the box – the box being the limitations I put on myself based on rules or guidelines I have always followed. Those of you that know me well know that I’m a long-term planner and while this does contribute to my success I’ve become curious about how it might limit me as well. So … next Sunday I am setting off on a minimally planned vacation to Cayman Islands. My oldest stepdaughter lives there and a girlfriend and I are hoping to visit – but we are flying standby! So anything’s possible. This time next week I could be curling sand between my toes on a warm beach, or strumming my fingers on the arm of a chair in an airport, or even back home writing about telephone communication. I’ll keep you informed!

Happy dialing!

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