Monetizing your phone?

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“If you keep thinking about what you want to do or what you hope will happen, you don’t do it, and it won’t happen.”
– Desiderius Erasmus

I’m gearing up for the holidays with my family, which will be extra special this year with our new kids at home. I can’t fathom the grace which brought them out of “orphanhood” in the remotes of Ethiopia…and brought them to us.
That grace was extended to us, actually. Our home is a vastly different place…and I’m not sure my wife and I will ever be the same. My little daughter’s prayers around the kitchen table, for “boys & girls in Ethiopia who don’t have a mommy and a daddy”…I believe there’s power to those prayers, and now in our house. We’ve been inordinately blessed.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and season’s greetings to you. May your home, too, be blessed.
Alright…I probably should shift gears, or I’ll never get through this blog post!
Not only are YOU gearing up for the holidays, but I know that you’re gearing up for the new year. I remember those days while conducting the marketing for 15 market areas and 24 offices for our regional tax firm…this was an intense time.
And, besides negotiating with ad reps, writing marketing copy and creating direct-mail and online campaigns, I spent a significant amount of time working with our “front line” staff on ensuring that EVERY interaction with prospects and clients was leading to a sale, or a retention. Making them happy, fulfilling their requests…but also being SMART about how to actually *lead* the conversations, and not just react.
You see, you probably have an inherent sense that every phone call coming into your office is precious. After all, much of your marketing is designed to do that–create that phone call. So, it’s important that you have a PLAN leverage those conversations for 2010, and I’ve got some tips for you in this week’s Marketing Strategy Note…
Read on, and feel free to leave a comment!
Converting Inbound Phone Calls To Clients 
These are proven strategies to ensure that your receptionists or Customer Service Representatives (or you, which I don’t really recommend) extract maximum value from every inbound phone call…and you gather more clients!
Feel free to make a copy of this, and post it by the phone to get MAXIMUM value!
1) The main goal is to get the client to the office. When questions are specific, you answer them by saying, “Come on in, we will be happy to look at your information and let you know the exact answer. [John Smith] is an expert.” Every time you answer the phone all of your responses should be inviting to the client to come in, so be sure to do this without making the client feel like you are putting them off.
2) Ask a closing question. This is the essential step which most people do not address when they answer the phone. These questions can be anything from: “Would you like to come in to see [John Smith] tonight or tomorrow morning?” or “Do you know where we are located?” or “Can I set aside a check-in form for you?”. What matters most is that this question gets asked.
3) Attitude is everything. When we sound hurried and short on the phone, the client assumes this is how they will be treated when they come in. If you are stressed, take a deep breath before you answer the phone so you can treat your clients as nicely as possible. They deserve respect. Every question should be answered to the best of your knowledge along with the most enthusiastic invitation that leaves the client wanting to find out about the excitement happening in your office.
4) Use the client’s name to create a sense of obligation. It is commonly said that the most beautiful sound in the human language is the sound of our own name. Take a quick second to ask the name of the person on the phone and use it.
5) Use YOUR name. Tell them who you are and let the client know that you are personally looking forward to seeing them when they can come in.

6) Create a sense of urgency for the client to come in to the office.
Tell them as soon as their information has been received to come into the office and allow [John Smith] to take care of the rest.
Share this article with your staff and watch your conversions go through the roof!
Again, I wish you and your family the very best of success this holiday AND 2010!

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