|12 Golden Rules to Effectively Handling Enquiries...
Chris Newton, the founder of Results Corporation, regularly posts on our Blog.
I think this post is spot on for today's tough business climate.
Here it is in full...
12 Golden Rules to Effectively Handling Enquiries
The more I show clients how to handle enquiries from new prospects over the phone, the more I find myself coming back to the same dozen 'sobering' truths ... truths that help you understand the mindset of the caller.
These truths may at first appear negative. They're not. They are simply a realisation that everybody – including your prospect - sees life through their own 'eyes'. And having an insight into how they 'see' (and feel) can help us to better relate to their needs. So let's consider the following:
1. The enquirer, regardless of what they say, isn't just after 'information'. They HAVE a problem or a need. Often a problem/s so complex they don't fully understand it themselves. They crave to have it solved, and they're looking for a solution.
2. Just making the phone call can sometimes be a big thing for them, because they have their own uncertainties and insecurities to contend with. You need to be empathetic and make the process painless.
3. They've probably been disappointed by past efforts to find a solution. So expect them to be distrusting until they know you are 'real'.
4. They ARE going to buy. Whether it's from you, or a competitor, whether it's today or in six months' time, they WILL 'buy' something.
Your task is to educate them to why your solution is best for them (That is of course, IF your solution is indeed the best one for their particular circumstances. Otherwise, you should guide them ethically to an alternative.)
5. They will have pre-conceived ideas of what's 'expensive'. BUT on the other hand, when they find their 'answer', they will pay whatever it takes.
So it's your 'duty of care' to ensure you ethically educate them to your solution, AND to show that your solution isn't expensive, but is good VALUE.
6. They will initially have little or no concept of what your business does, and will tend to pigeonhole you with other firms who appear to deliver what you do.
7. They may nod in agreement at things you say in the initial discussion, but in truth, they'll understand and absorb only a tiny fraction of what you have said. Which means you need to go slowly, never assume.
And most importantly, through questions, do a regular 'temperature check' on their understanding. CRITICALLY important.
8. When it comes to the Information Pack, brochure, or perhaps even DVD you send them, remember they have no basis for appreciating the VALUE, or of the decades of research and development behind this information.
So unless positioned correctly, there is a very real risk it will simply sit unopened for weeks, until they've lost interest. And when you try to follow up after their interest has waned, you become a 'pushy' salesperson, not a professional with the answers to their perhaps years of frustration.
What's the solution? You must position the value of the pack correctly UP FRONT before you send it. Again, they won't give any priority to the pack unless you position it correctly on the phone.
9. Remember that the person who has the information IS IN CONTROL of the transaction. If you give it (the Pack) over to the prospect prematurely, without first gaining a firm commitment that they'll review it, you lose the control.
10. Getting that firm commitment means getting their undertaking that they will go through it in a pre-agreed timeframe, in preparation for a follow up discussion.
11. Even after all the above, they'll often say 'yes', but then nothing will happen. In 95% of cases, you WILL have to follow up. When you follow up, even after all the great positioning, there's a chance they'll say they can't go ahead 'just now', for any number of reasons.
Often these reasons are NOT the real reasons. You need to get as many of these potential issues on the table and out of the way as possible, before you hand over the information.
12. Remember that none of this is 'manipulative' or unethical. It is simply acknowledging the foibles of human nature, and helping (ethically leading) people to come to an informed outcome.
Some of these 'golden rules' may not apply to your transactions with new prospects. However, that said, I'd be very surprised if you didn't get some real distinctions out of these 12 points for you and your own frontline people.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Chris's article is an excellent, and timely, reminder of how important it is to pay attention to something as vital as enquiry handling.
When was the last time you checked, reviewed and improved your enquiry handling process?
If you could improve your lead to sale conversion rate from say 3 in 10 to just 3.3 in 10, what would that do for your results in 2012 (it would be 10% more sales at no extra cost, and probably would deliver 50% to 100% more net profit)?
Finally, there are still a handful or places available for the Leeds seminar on 29th November.
This is a great opportunity for you (and key team members) to get inspired and to take your marketing results to the next level for 2012.
Leeds Seminar - 29th November
Date: Tuesday, 29th November 2011
Time: 9.00am for 9.30am start - finish at 1.00pm
Price: Just £69 plus VAT when you book and pay at least 7 days in advance (normally £149 plus VAT)
Places are limited (just a handful of places are left) so the sooner you confirm your attendance the better.
And when you confirm now you get the early booking price of just £69 plus VAT, a saving of £80
To book your place, please ACT NOW and call us on 01933 373000, or email us with your contact details and best phone number to contact you on and we will call you back.
Come and learn – for a fraction of the normal price!