The telephone is a multifunctional weapon in your marketing arsenal. Your commitment to outstanding telephone service speaks loudly about the way your conduct your consulting business.
Handling the telephone correctly must be viewed as both personal and professional priorities. Personally, you should commit to returning all phone calls. You must recognize that each call is a marketing opportunity. Be a good listener, a polite conversationalist and always deliver a marketing message. Many professionals set aside time each day to return phone calls. If you truly understand the marketing power of the telephone, you will look forward to returning all calls.
Your professional policies concerning telephone procedures need to be defined and clear to all personnel in your consulting practice. You must decide how the telephone will be used. All telephone contact should have a scripted starting point.
Outgoing calls should be made according to a basic formula whereby the caller and the company are identified immediately. Grammar should be flawless and callers need to be trained to listen. They are not only listening to the conversation, those callers are listening for marketing openings. You need to be aware that you are speaking with a prospective consulting client on the other end. You can be certain that client is listening and forming an opinion about the caller and the company. Representatives of your consulting company need to be aware of that.
Incoming calls needs to handled accurately, efficiently and promptly. The old adage still holds that every call should be answered before the third ring. Today’s business environment utilizes automatic answering services. Business persons still like a “real person, real time” response system. However, if this option is not in your budget, you are even more obligated to stay in touch and on top of your voice mail.
If your consulting business provides live telephone answering, make sure those persons are trained. Proper message taking is becoming a lost art. Messages should include a date, time, properly spelled name, the company name and accurate message content. There is no sense spending money on poor telephone procedures.
Your consulting company will need to decide how the telephone fits into your marketing plan. Will cold calling be part of the plan? Will follow calls be used to compliment direct mail?
Whatever marketing role the telephone fills, make it clear to all telephone representatives that your have procedures and that these procedures are to be followed. The telephone is a valuable marketing ally, and solid consulting practices stay on top of their telephone procedures.