Phone Facts to Consider
- Who answers the phone?
- How is the phone answered?
- Always answer the phone with a smile on our face.
- Is there a voicemail or answering service?
Did you know that 67 percent of the population do no return or even listen to voice messages? If you're dealing with Millennials, know that they generally ignore voicemail.
So, the takeaway is simply to know the generation with which you are dealing and handle accordingly. Does that mean you have to learn to text message if you don't already? Probably so.
If you are among the 33 percent who return voicemails, or you are placing a call, rehearse what you will say if you get a voicemail. Have notes handy so you aren't caught off guard. There's nothing worse than sounding disjointed or leaving an exceedingly long voicemail. People won't listen to them.
If you use an answering service, provide written instructions on specifically how your calls are to be answered and handled. Don't leave it up to chance. If you do, you may be creating a bad image about your company's abilities.
When making sales calls:
- Return all voice, email and text messages with 24 hours, or have someone do it for you.
- Always place your own calls.
- Speak very professionally.
- Beware again of possible background noise.
- Refer to the client by last name (Mr. Daly) until he or she asks to be called by first name or you ask for first-name basis permission after you get to know the person.
Before Going to a Client MeetingThink about what you should wear. Here's what you should consider.
- Dress like you care about the client
- Showing style is good, but be sure your style is understood. A Mother of the Bride requires a different set of clothing than a Wall Street Corporate Executive.
- Research the dress code of a company before your appointment and dress in that manner. Do this so that those with whom you meet will feel comfortable with you. I won a long-term contract with Delta Air Lines because I researched and wore the three-piece suit they list in their dress code instead of my usual business casual. Once people feel comfortable with you, they can easily accept you. If they don't feel comfortable, they won't "let you in."
- Make sure your shoes are shined or clean.
- Do not overdress or under-dress.
- Both men and women should keep their jewelry simple. Wearing opulent jewelry may make clients feel like they are paying for it. Being too opulent may also make them feel inferior.
- Be sure to consider your hygiene. It plays a critical part of the image you create in the minds of a client. That means clean hands, manicured nails and pedicured toenails for ladies who wear open toed shoes or sandals. Beware of chipped nail polish! Make sure your hair is clean and brushed. Pay detailed attention to the image you present.
- Do not wear cologne or perfume. (Did you know that smell is the most powerful connector to memory?) Every time I encounter a lady wearing the perfume Tabu, I think of my mother. She always wore that scent, and my memories of her are filled with love. But, what if the person you meet has a negative memory about what you are wearing? Or what if that person is allergic?
- Don't forget deodorant. (During stressful moments, it is possible to generate body odor.)
- Make sure your breath is fresh. Always have breath mints on hand. Before an appointment, rinse your mouth after eating. Avoid garlic, onions, tuna fish and heavy spices before meetings.
- If you have an early morning meeting, be careful of the amount of alcohol consumed the night before. (You may reek of it the next day, and that will definitely kill the sale.)
Cars and Social MediaConsider that what you drive matters. It has the same effect as wearing expensive, flamboyant jewelry. I know sales people who have beautiful, expensive cars but choose to drive midpriced automobiles when making sales calls or working. I do the same. I have a Lexus, but my MINI Cooper is my working car.
Don't forget about social media, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn. Be very careful what you post on all social media. (It becomes part of your image.) Posting political or religious comments or crude jokes won't win you any points with potential clients. And these days, everyone checks out both potential employees and vendors on social media.
Never badmouth a client or competition on social media. Once it is on the Internet, it's out there forever and will come back to bite you!
Keep personal information personal and off social media.
- Keep business cards size to standard. It's frustrating for anyone to deal with oversized cards that won't fit in a card holder or anywhere else. If you are using them to stand out, you'll be standing out in a negative way. If they don't fit, they'll end up in the trash.
- Adjust fong size to your clientele's age. Small fonts are impossible for anyone over 40 to read!
- Present your business card with two hands. It is your identity. Treat it with respect, and your client will too.
- Accept a business card with two hands and read it before putting it away. Respect the person's identity.
- If a card has initial that describe a title or certification designation, ask what the initials mean (if you don't know). Use this information for future correspondence or speaking. You will impress the client with your attention to detail.
Want some great advice on how to do that? Read, "When Is a Contract Not a Contract" posted recently on this blog. You'll have an entirely new perspective about securing sales meetings with clients.
Next time, we'll share the second part of this series.
— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the go-to guide for job search success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr.