I was interviewing a salesperson for one of my clients, and he brought up a customer of his who he was having some trouble getting on the same page with.
He felt like they weren’t connecting with each other. She was impatient with him, and he wasn’t sure why.
He asked me what he should do.
I said, “Call her.” She’s a friendly.
He said “OK, and…”
Me: “And talk to her.”
Him: “About what?”
Me: “About how she’s doing.”
Me: “Yes, she will appreciate it.”
Me: “Yes. You’ll have a nice conversation.”
He was dubious. But he went and did it.
I didn’t know this until I was doing this client’s live full-day workshop, and this salesperson raised his hand to tell the story:
“Alex, I just want to tell this story to the group. Alex told me to call this customer, who I wasn’t connecting well with. And I did it.”
He had my attention.
“She picked up the phone, and I told her it was me, Andy, calling.”
Customer: “Hi, what do you need?”
Andy: “Nothing, how are you doing?”
Customer: “Fine, what do you want?”
Andy: “Nothing, just checking in. I was thinking about you and wanted to reach out.”
Customer: “OK, what’s wrong?”
Andy: “Nothing’s wrong. I don’t need anything. I’m just saying hello. How have you been?”
Customer, stunned: “Really?”
Andy: “Really. How’s your family.”
Customer: “Nobody asks me that. Nobody calls me like this.”
Andy: “I know. That’s why I wanted to.”
Customer: “Wow, that’s nice.”
They had a lovely conversation, he relayed. He never brought up business or products or services.
Two weeks later she called him and gave him quite a bit more work. I asked Andy if he thought she would have called him like this if he didn’t make his incredibly high-impact call.
His answer: “No chance. She wouldn’t have even thought of me. She only gave us this work because I was in front of her.”
He gave her the back scratcher with his company’s name on it. And when she got the itch, she picked it up and used it. He called her. And then when she needed him, she called him.
That’s the power of the phone call.
Nobody calls anymore
We assume our customers get phone calls from their suppliers and partners all the time. But think about your own days at the office. How many one-on-one phone calls do you get from your own suppliers?
You might have conference calls.
Or the supplier may call when there’s something urgent or terrible happening.
But what about proactive “How are you, how’s your family?” calls?
How many in the last month? Probably not even one, right?
We assume our customers are fighting off phone calls all day. This is not true. Your competition, because they are also human, deal with the exact same fears you do. And they are not reading this book.
Want to stand out? Pick up the phone.
All the good that happens: Here’s a list of all the goodness that you create when you pick up the phone:
1) You are standing out from the crowd with this customer, because the competition is not using the phone like this.
2) The customer will be happy to hear from you. Once they get over their shock about you not needing anything from them, you will have a very pleasant conversation.
3) You will have an opportunity to ask the customer what they are working on in a relaxed setting. And they will answer, arming you with information you would simply not have otherwise.
4) You will be able to tell the customer about other products and services you can sell to them.
5) Your proactive phone call will demonstrate to the customer that you care, and that’s really all customers want. We human beings want to know that the people we are working with care about us. It’s not a whole lot more complicated than this. When you avoid the phone, you are demonstrating the opposite of this!
If you call a customer regularly, they will send you more business. Why? Because you’re present. You will be top-of-mind. And the competition? The back-scratcher will have your name on it, not the competition’s.
There is no downside to calling customers. Only great value to them, and to you.