Make the call: It’s time to get back to [business] relationship basics

- May 25, 2020 3 MIN READ

If you’re struggling to make your business visible amidst all the COVID-19 noise, it could be time to pick up the phone, writes marketing specialist Andy Kyiet, founder and CEO of Demand Flow Intelligence.

Despite there being a wealth of alternate communication options, evidence shows that sales done via the phone are still being answered and are generally well-received. Sales consulting firm, The Brevet Group, recently discovered 92% of customer interactions still happen over the phone.

2020 is an uncertain, unstable time to be in business. The Alexander Group’s COVID-19 Impact on Sellers’ Pay 3-Day Update Survey found that 70.9 per cent of the companies surveyed expect the COVID-19 crisis to have an impact on annual sales revenue.

However, if you build solid relationships established through regular phone contact, you can be assured that you will still be in the conversation once everything returns to ‘normal’.

The alternative is to go back to zero. With no pipeline, you are back in start-up mode. This applies equally to organisations that are both thriving right now, as well as those that are facing difficulties.

Combatting email fatigue

 Emailing prospective clients as a stop-gap measure is not enough. Inboxes are currently overflowing with messages from anyone who has ever obtained your contact info. Fatigue from COVID-19 emails has set in, despite the ongoing value it has as a business tool.

The Brevit Group’s survey also found that email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. When it is combined with the proven value of interpersonal (phone) contact, there’s almost no limit to your sales potential.

You have worked hard to build and retain your pipeline so there’s no reason to give it all away. If clients (both existing and prospective ones) don’t hear from you, they may assume that yours is yet another business fallen victim to the financial impact of COVID-19.

Schedule time to make personal contact with a couple of clients or prospects every a day. Half an hour of your day could be enough to resurrect or preserve your most important relationships.

So, when you do get to speak with your prospects and customers, how is the conversation best handled?

The 4-step conversation solution

  1. The ‘human touch’ is everything. Treat them like a friend. Ask how they and their company are doing. Make a personal connection if you can. Show empathy, but don’t expend all your energy on it. Talk about the opportunities available in the current business climate, and suggest ways in which you can augment that effort.
  2. Be genuine. Be open, but not desperate. Listen well. Take time to understand and really consider their commercial challenges and be as creative as possible in seeking solutions. Look for different ways to help them through the current situation. Be as generous as you can be. You will find that generosity is always appreciated and remembered in the long run.
  3. Ease up a little bit. Everyone is understandably distracted right now, so be as low maintenance as possible. Offer novel solutions instead of seeking direction.
  4. Spread the love. Give your prospect an opportunity to help someone else who may have a more immediate need, by referring them. Referrals are powerful. They are great ice-breakers and carry with them a level of instant trust.

If the call is handled in the right way, your prospects and customers will have a greater appreciation for your efforts. Trust will have been built and, you never know, there might just be an immediate need for your offering.

So, make that call!

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