Networking: Section 2 - Communicating - Part 2
Your attitude toward customers
Your attitude shows through everything you do. Do you REALLY appreciate customers? What have you done to reward your customers? If you reward your customers, they will want to repeat the action that was rewarded!
Every point of contact with a customer is important. It is your opportunity to make that person glad that they risked doing business with you. Every phone call, conversation and friendly wave is a chance to reinforce your connections with your customer. If you want them to be your lifetime partners, you have to create and use every possible opportunity to show them how much you care.
Customers are not objects to be influenced so that you’ll make a lot of money. The only people who respond to this approach are those who are greedy and willingly deceive themselves. How sad.
Always ask yourself, “How can I make him glad he talked to me? What is the unmet want?” Always ask your customers, “How am I doing? How can I serve you better?” Then, listen to the answers and change your approach for the better.
“The purpose of the whole (work) is to remove those who are living in this life from a state of wretchedness and lead them to the state of blessedness.”
How to answer the phone
Always answer with a smile. Some folks keep a mirror near the phone so they can check themselves quickly before answering to be sure that they’re smiling.
Research has shown that even a forced smile changes your brain chemistry and opens the way to feeling good. On the telephone, the only thing your listener has to go by is your voice and, you can believe it, your smile affects your voice. “Don’t lift the phone without it.”
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
While you’re listening, think nice things about your caller like “good friend” “really sincere,” or “I love people like this.” Then when you’re speaking your thoughts will change your voice’s subtle tones and inflections to carry your emotions across along with your words.
One of my phone problems is frowning when I don’t quite know the answer to a question or have to say “no.” I really like to say “yes” and not disappoint anyone. When I frown, people seem to sense it and usually think I’m unhappy at them. Really, I’m unhappy with myself for not having the best answer right away. Ouch! I’m really trying to work on that.
Phone folks frequently
The telephone is a very effective communication tool. When you have something to say, just pick up the phone and get your message across. Your fire will cool if you procrastinate until the next time you happen to meet.
A letter or email may use a lot more time. It doesn’t project emotion well and doesn’t let you work things out on the spot. A phone call is almost as good as a personal meeting and saves a lot of wear and tear on your car. You can even imagine the hug in the warmth of the speaker’s voice.
Have you sold a new product to someone? Make a note of it and call them back in a week to see how they’re doing with it. Get their phone number from the check, if you have to, but try to keep track and follow up.
You can phone your best new prospects and distributors every day. They will eventually figure out that you really care about them and you seriously want them to succeed.
Return phone calls promptly. Missed opportunities may never be repeated. People call when they are ready to discuss what’s on their mind. Of course, if you are not sitting by the phone, waiting for their call, they may miss you. Still, the sooner you can get back to them, the more likely you are to connect with them.
Keep business phone calls organized
You can waste a lot of time on the telephone. Conversations ramble and the minutes of your day can disappear forever. That may be fine if you are chatting socially with a friend who also enjoys chatting socially, but it’s a poor format for a business call. Business calls should be more direct and efficient.
Make an outline of the things that you need to communicate to the person you are calling. Generally stick to the outline. Check items off your outline as you work them into the conversation. When you are done, thank them and say goodbye.
When someone calls you, you can still be organized. Prompt them for the important information. When you are done, say goodbye. (If you just HAVE to cut someone off to hang up on them, consider hanging up while you’re the one speaking. Nobody hangs up on themselves; the call must have been cut off by accident.)
Of course, conversations also serve the purpose of building relationships. There is no need to be so “organized” that you are cold, analytical and unsociable. But, having a conversation is like dancing; when the music stops, it’s time to sit down.
“Whatever we conceive well we express clearly.”
— Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
Write a letter (or email)
Sometimes a letter is the best way to get your most important messages across. A letter gives you the time to compose your thoughts. It lets you express yourself carefully and completely. It permanently documents your message. Both parties can go back and refer to their copies of a letter. A letter is more formal than a conversation. It commits you in detail.
Writing a letter can help you avoid making hasty commitments. If you have written something in haste or anger you usually have time to think about things overnight and rewrite or destroy a letter. Always sleep on it and review a letter the next day if you have anything negative or emotional to write. You’ll thank yourself almost every time.
Just a quick note about electronic mail networks. E-mail is the most dangerous of all letters, especially when you’re upset. The writer is usually not as careful to compose his thoughts or guard against hasty statements. You can’t tell how the other person is responding and correct any misunderstandings. You press SEND, the message is on its way, it’s too late to take it back, and you’re on record in writing. ZAP!
Keep in touch
Good friends become that way by having things in common, especially sharing experiences in each other’s lives. If they don’t continue to keep in touch, their lives diverge because they no longer have as much in common.
If you want to keep business relationships close, you have to behave the same way a friend would: keep in touch. Tell them about your experiences and share theirs. Ask for help when you need it. Be encouraging when they need it. Share the latest news and share your feelings. Besides using the phone, send newsletters, clippings and samples by mail. Don’t miss a trick.
I know of some leaders who phone several times a week and even several times a day for aggressive distributors who are really working hard.
Your efforts to keep in touch with your organization will help them to be strong, active and ready to support each other just like you support them.
Always follow up
If a thing is worth starting, it’s worth finishing. There are so many good opportunities that come up. You would invest a lot to generate a good opportunity. But, if you don’t follow up, the opportunity is lost. What a waste when you don’t follow up on things. What if a farmer prepared his fields but never planted or he planted but never harvested?
It’s so easy to start a conversation and get someone interested in your products or business opportunity. Now what? You go home and send them some clippings. Do you call to discuss the clippings? Do you invite them to a meeting? Do you recommend helpful books (like this one)?
Maybe one of your customers buys some nutritional supplements. Do you call after several days to see how things are going? They may need encouragement to get past the bad taste or a rash if they start cleansing. Do you call after several weeks to see if they are about out and ready to replenish their supply?
Maybe one of your distributors calls to ask a question. They’re READY to progress another step. Do you call them back to move them further down the path?
“Either do not attempt at all or go through with it.”
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
“You can’t jump a chasm in two bounds.”
— Ancient Chinese proverb
Make meetings fun
Keep people interested and ready to come back to your next meeting. Make meetings fun by being upbeat and unpredictable. Offer prizes, food (good natural stuff, of course) and other incentives.
Product demonstrations can keep people involved. You can taste herbs to understand their action, show how fiber swells in water or compare aloe juice to competitors’ products. There are all kinds of demonstrations. Ask around, experiment at home and watch for demonstrations at conventions for more ideas.
Terrie says, “When someone’s attention seems to wander, I try to get them personally involved. I make eye contact with them and sometimes directly ask their opinion.” Terrie says that she has even thrown erasers at people during meetings when their attention wandered. Well, she admits that she only threw them at people who already know and love her, but it sure did keep everybody else on their toes!
You can encourage people to participate by asking them to do research on an herb or combination formula, and then present their information to the group.
Schedule a fixed amount of time for their part of the meeting. This will help them to know how much information to prepare and help them to not carelessly run too long. When people know that you’re counting on them (tell them: “I’m counting on you!”), they will be more inclined to show up, be on time and increase their participation in other ways.
“Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt, (Advice to his son, James)
Use company videos
A professionally-produced video is a good way to start meetings. They break the ice and quickly grab attention. Of course, people came to hear a real person, so you should use the video as a tool to generate interest in what you have to say, not as a substitute for you, your enthusiasm and your testimonials.
Company videos are usually professional and well-done. When people see them, they give you added credibility. People realize that you are associated with a very professional, progressive company. After you’ve talked for a while about products, you might use another video segment to explain the business opportunity.
Company videos are also a good way to train your successline. Consider holding regular business meetings that feature company training videos.
“How am I supposed to learn surgery if I can’t dissect anything?”
— Calvin, Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons, Bill Watterson