Monday, June 29, 2009

Tips For Using The Phone To Build Your Business!

Need to call a new customer and explain your product or service? Get a lead and want to make contact? Here at Real Vision Studio in SouthEast Michigan, at full service dealer for RTV, we get and make numerous business/sales calls a day. Phone skills are critical for the success of our business, any business for that matter.

The telephone is the most important point of contact with your prospects and customers. Improving your phone skills with these tips can make a big difference in the level of your success and how quickly your business grows.

The telephone can be one of the most valuable as well as inexpensive resources available to you. These practical tips will help you with becoming more productive and profitable, whether you are making the call or your customer is calling you!

~Prepare yourself by getting mentally set for the task ahead and by having a purpose and an agenda ready.

~Follow your script, but be flexible. Don't sound like you are reading.

~Create index cards (or cgeat sheets) with specific points that keep you on point. If it's more natural for you to just strike up a conversation, then just do it!

~Keep it brief, and get to the point right away. Make sure you are clear concerning your reason for making the call.

~Be friendly but try not to get off topic.

~Be a good listener. That way you will be able to help your customer with making the right decision, hopefully about using your services or products.

~Avoid the hype. Show enthusiasm, but make sure it is sincere.

~Smile! Keep a smile on your face, your attitude can show through the phone.

~Understanding how your business works will help you feel more confident when talking to customers over the phone.

~Don't get on the phone if you are in a bad mood.

~If someone is not interested, then don't keep calling them. This will only make you look desperate, not to mention waste your time.

~Be aware of two things as you speak, what you say and how you say it. The sound and tone of your voice is just as important as what you are saying.

~Alway's leave a message! Let your potential customers hear your voice and know that you are available.

~When leaving a message don't speak too fast. Slow down so your message is not hard to understand.

~Say your name clearly. If it's not common spell it, just make sure the caller understands your name.

~Slowly leave your phone number. Assume that the listener is writing it down, so make it easy! Repeat the number at the beginning and end of your message, if possible.

~Most importantly, if you don't get an answer, leave the reason for your call. Why would they call you back if they don't know what you want?

~People can be very impatient, so it is important to answer your phone by the third ring or make sure your voice mail is set to pick up by the third ring.

~Your answering machine greeting should make a good first impression. Be short and to the point and don't drag it out. Leave clear instructions and what information they should leave. Such as their name, phone number and the best time to call them back.

~Check your messages often. A customer may be waiting on information to make a decision, and by taking to long returning their call they may choose someone else.

~Return all phone calls! This could be the most important thing that you do to build your business. Set a goal to return all calls within 2 hours.

~Avoid using a speaker phone. It will make the caller think that the call is not private and that you are not concentrating fully on them.

~Put together a list of answers to frequently asked questions (Price List, Features, etc.) and post it by your phone.

~Decide what you will say if someone answers the phone other then the person you are calling. Should you leave a message with them or call back later?

~Don't type or shuffle paper while you are talking, it can be distracting to the other party.

~If you must put the phone down for any reason, do so gently so you don't startle your caller.

~Never chew food or anything else while talking on the phone.

~Cover your mouth and the receiver, if you have to cough or sneeze.

~Always speak directly into the receiver.

~Don't hang up if you dial the wrong number, just explain yourself and verify the number to avoid repeating the call.

~Avoid any background noise such as TV, radio and computer beeps and clicks.

~Listen to how people talk and not just to what they are saying. You can learn how to connect with a person over the phone by reading "between the lines".

~Be prepared. Have a list of calls that you need to make including the name, phone number and any other information that you may need.

~When you first begin using the phone rehearse in your mind what you are going to say. Once you do it enough, it will come naturally.

~Know what your schedule is before making any calls. That way you can set up any follow up appointments if necessary.

~Do not procrastinate. Get you calls done first thing in the morning. Putting them off may mean losing business.

~Make sure you are not hungry, cold or need to go to the bathroom before making any of your calls.

~Record whether you left a message, if you need to make a return call, who you talked to and what was said.

~Leave an email address as an alternative communication option. Many people will use email to get back to you rather than the telephone.

~Always enunciate clearly keeping the volume of your voice moderate. Speak slowly and clearly.

~Speak properly while sounding professional. Avoid using slang or jargon.

~Think before you speak! Offending potential customers will not encourage them to use your service or product.

~Never say "I don't know", instead say, "Let me find the answer for you". This is a great way to set up a return call.

~Don't do all the talking. Give the person on the other end of the line an opportunity to answer you, to ask questions, or to make comments. Never interrupt your customer.

~Remember the Number One Rule Of Selling Anything: Ask for the order. The reason most often given by people for not buying is, "No one asked me to."

~Have fun! Remember that some will and some won't, just keep at it!

Good phone etiquette is good for business. It can set you apart from your competition and it can actually get you the results you want much faster. Many customers are calling on an impulse. They have developed a sudden need and want that need filled. You have a great opportunity to bring additional revenue to your business. People buy where they feel comfortable and appreciated. Give them that feeling when they call. It's just common courtesy.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tips For Writing More Effective Emails

Most business people receive dozens, even hundreds, of emails each and every day. As email has become the primary means of communication in the business world, it’s very important to create messages that effectively communicate your point while presenting a professional image.

Have you ever needed to email someone - a stranger, a business associate, asking them for a favor? How can you compose an email such that they will be read and responded to? How do we effectively email someone who gets a lot of email?

Here are some helpful tips for writing emails:

~Keep it Clear & Concise. To write with clarity it is essential to keep the message no longer than necessary. Keep it concise, including only the most important details, and be sure to get straight to the point. If an in-depth discussion is needed, schedule a phone call rather than trading drawn out emails. It’s more efficient. Also, try to stick to just one point. If you want to cover several topics, write different emails with the title showing the correct topic. This also makes archiving emails easier.

~Use proper spelling and grammar. Poorly spelled or grammatically incorrect emails make you appear unprofessional and reduce the effectiveness of your message. Always double-check your emails before sending them, and make use of spelling and grammar-check tools. Remember the quality of your English will also have a subconscious impact on how you are perceived by others.

~Think (and read) before you write. In our swiftness to respond to all our emails in a timely fashion, many of us neglect to fully read the mail we’re answering and consequently overlook vital bits of information. Most people will have had the experience of sending or responding to an email, which soon after, they regret writing. So before you send a message or respond to one, make sure you’ve completely read and understood the original email or the text you are writing; if not, ask for a clarification to avoid further confusion.

~Be polite. Email is a convenient way to communicate, but convenience shouldn’t be an excuse for overlooking manners. Remember that an email can easily be misinterpreted because it is a very limited form of communication; usually when we speak we have the advantage of using facial expressions. When communicating with clients or superiors, it’s important not to ignore fundamental courtesies. Address the recipient with a salutation like “Hello” or “Dear”, and be sure to include a closing like “Regards”. Always use “Please” and “Thank you”!

~Use subject lines effectively.
Your subject line should be a concise summary of the content of your email. The recipient should directly know what the email contains or what the request is.

~Keep it Simple and Short. Simplicity is the essence of a good email. Try and convey the point using the smallest amount of words and sentences. Don’t be afraid to use bullet points or numbers to better organize your thoughts.

~Set Time Aside for Writing Emails. Just because we have a few minutes to spare doesn’t mean we should check our email again and again. The trouble with that is if we try to respond to emails when we have a lack of time, our replies will be rushed and perhaps inappropriate. It is better to set aside time during the day when we can write the best response without any unnecessary time pressure.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Need To Draw Attention On Your Web Page?

It is so funny that I ran across this little tag generator... Mike (from Real Vision Studio) worked on a tag for his web site for numerous hours using Adobe Photoshop and it has been repeatedly "stolen" for use on other web sites. So, now you no longer need to spend hours looking for a tag graphic to modify for your web site and then spend more hours trying to get it the way you want it! Check out tinytags. tinytags will generate a tag graphic with the words of your choice and then you can download it to your computer for use on your web site, newsletter or e-mail marketing. Easy, cheap and time-saving!

Are You Spending A Fortune on International Calls To Your Clients?

If so, check out this great service from Jaxtr. Jaxtr's mission is to enable new conversations worldwide. They do this by making it cheap, easy and fun to stay connected. Over 10 million people in 220 countries use jaxtr to receive calls from people visiting their social networking pages, to make calls to their friends and family worldwide and to get to know fellow jaxtr members on café jaxtr, the world's largest talk network. Their basic package allows users to make free, unlimited calls around the globe. Now, it won't cost you a fortune to call those clients in Canada or Mexico or wherever you are doing business. Real Vision Studio here in Michigan deals with a good number of clients in Canada and this service is going to save them a minimum of fifty dollars per month. Maybe the high cost of calls has prevented you from doing business globally? Well, now you have no excuse! So, go out and get 'em!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is LinkedIn Worth Your Time?

You know people who've used it to grow their businesses – people who swear by it like your teenagers on Facebook do. You’ve posted your picture and filled in your profile, and then it just became a virtual address book. Consequently you stopped spending any time or energy on it other than intermittently accepting contacts that found you.

So, here are some strategies for effectively modifying your profile to get results:

~Bnet.com provides a step-by-step guide to setting up your account effectively – from defining yourself, to whom to connect with, to how not to be friends.

~Improve your Google PageRank and make your name pop on popular search engines with these great suggestions from Guy Kawasaki.

Here are eight things you can do to get work using LinkedIn from Freelance Switch. If you are in the market for a job, Freelance Switch is one of the top 10 most effective websites for job searchers.

Don’t know what LinkedIn is? Basically, it is a social network focused on your professional life rather than your social life like such sites as Facebook and MySpace. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 40 million members and still growing. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange information, ideas, and opportunities with a wider network of professionals.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Improve Your Internet Presence

Newsletter - You can send out a monthly newsletter that gives all the news from last month to all the subscribers who have signed onto your website. This way, people can forward this to their friends and bring more business to you.

RSS - Allows people who frequently visit your website to receive updates from the entire website on their RSS reader. You can have multiple RSS feeds (news, product updates, blog), and this way people can sign up for the one they are more interested in.

Blog - Write interesting things for your customers every few days. It is best to set up a schedule. Blog on Mondays and Thursdays, keep it consistent week after week and your visitors/clients will expect to see it. Always keep one blog article on the back burner in case you come down with the flu or something - you can still keep up.

Make profiles on Social Media Sites - Facebook, MySpace & Twitter are a must. Local - Localtweeps and Tweeple Pages

Track and analyze your web site traffic. This is one of the most important tools at your disposal in measuring the effectiveness of your internet marketing techniques and overall website performance. You can improve usability, identify bottlenecks in website navigation, track media and promotional mixes, increase customer acquisition and more through web traffic analysis. If you take the time to understand this data, you can begin to understand the motivations and interests of your visitor/client. Recommended: Google Analytics

Get Graded - Website Grader Website Grader is a free seo tool that measures the marketing effectiveness of a website. Run your site through the Website Grader and TAKE the advice!

Make sure your Website is Clear and Concise - Your internet marketing methods should have a clear purpose, meaning that every page on your site should focus on getting the visitor to take an action. This could be filling out a form, sending an email, purchasing something online or making a phone call, or just simply moving on to the next step. It is important that you compare your website to an actual store. Is everything clean and organized, or is it messy and cluttered? Many websites give bad first impressions with things that could easily be avoided. Broken links are a sign of sloppiness that are fairly common. There are several websites that will automatically scan your site and identify any broken links. Seeing little red "x's" where a graphic or photo should appear is another common problem that is easily addressed. Does your site maintain its look and functionality with most browsers? Make sure your site maintains its look amd functionality with ALL popular browsers such as Internet Explorer, AOL and Firefox. The time and resources required to fix these problems are small when compared with the cost of tarnishing your professional image.