In a bid to win more clients, we automatically turn our attentions to marketing. Concentrating all our time and effort on getting our services ‘out there’ via our website, social media, groups, email campaigns, etc. And it’s a good strategy. It often will help win new business. Plus, it’s easy(ish) – it keeps you in control. Knowing what you’ll do and say, when you’ll do and say it.
But what about when new business calls you?
If it hasn’t happened already, it will. You’ll receive an unexpected call enquiring about you and your services. What’s your strategy then?
How effortlessly does your professionalism, knowledge and confidence come across?
Many VA’s I’ve spoken with admit that they tend to ‘wing’ most of these calls, just hoping their natural charm – and the client’s need for a Virtual Assistant – will win the day.
And perhaps it does. But wouldn’t it be better to be prepared for these spontaneous calls?
I know – it’s not easy to prepare for a call where you’ve no idea what’s coming.
Or is it?
Whether you’ve been in business one day or one decade, you definitely know you and your business, right?
So, it just comes down to two things:
The first step – preparation – is self-explanatory, but it’s linked with step two – the positioning.
And this is the crucial step, as it determines who your business best supports and what type of support you offer.
Here are seven key positioning components that will help you nail that inbound call …
1. Your script
Okay, so you don’t know exactly how the conversation is going to go, but you have a fair idea. If you’ve had even one prospective client call, you’ll know the kind of things they’re going to want to know, and discuss.
And this is how you prepare a loose script.
Cover all elements of a call and practice it. You don’t have to physically write the script down, but it may help. And if you do, a good tip is to place it next to the phone for reference – because we all can get flustered in those opening minutes.
2. List of questions
Remember, this call is not one sided. You need to know if you want to work with them, as much as the other way around. And the only way you’re going to do that, is by preparing a bunch of questions – again, it’s good to have these written down near your phone, so they’re on hand when needed.
Include the obvious questions about their business and the type of tasks they need help with. But also ask about their background, the growth of the business, their long-term plans, etc.
If you have to decide between two clients at any point in the future, knowing this information may help you make a more informed decision.
3. Share control
Again, this call is not a one-way street. Make sure you’re in control as much as they are, perhaps even more.
Leading the conversation exudes confidence and helps position you as being an authority in your field and / or industry, which a new client will love. (Just remember not to take it too far, as you may risk coming across as arrogant.)
4. Offer ideas
This is a key part of the call, and perhaps the reason not to take a call without prior warning – I’ll come back to that in a minute.
When you understand a little more about the prospective client and their needs, you should be able to come up with one or two ideas for improving their situation. Perhaps they’ve mentioned needing to become active on social media channels, or they want to grow their mailing list. Whatever it is, you could probably come up with at least one idea for making it less daunting.
For example, you could mention the various online tools you’re familiar with to make social media marketing more streamlined – oh, and you happen to be an expert in that, so will be able to set it up without difficulty.
Or, you’ve looked at their website and can see they don’t have a strong sign up form or free giveaway to grab attention and hook people in to their mailing list.
Now I realise you don’t know what their specific needs will be, but you do know the type of support many business owners are asking for. So just have a bunch of ideas written down and use the one that fits them during the call.
And what’s the benefit of this additional work you’re creating for yourself?
- You’re giving valuable information for free
- You’re positioning yourself as an expert
- You’re demonstrating professionalism and acumen
5. Know your ‘close’
Strongly closing a call, is hugely important. It’s the lasting memory they’ll have of you. So have a few different closes prepared, and choose the one that fits best for the call.
The importance of the follow-up should not be overlooked.
This is where you reaffirm their needs, boast about your experience and skillset, and outline what you can offer them … assuming you want their business.
And within the follow-up, you may want to say that you know (or assume) they’ll be chatting with a few other VA’s, so you’ll give them a call by the [enter day] to see if they have any further questions or have reached a decision.
But hopefully, with your thorough preparation and strong positioning, they’ll be calling you.
This goes without saying, but I’m adding it as a reminder to all anyway. Being friendly and likeable is a crucial element to any new business call. Along with numerous other reasons, it helps show that you’ll be easy to work with.
Taking time to prepare your positioning will help you feel more confident, which benefits both you and your client.
- You – by feeling more confident and in control, making you instantly more attractive to prospective clients
- Your prospects – through your confidence they have greater trust in your ability. And by receiving free ideas, you’ll become more memorable
Oh and going back to my earlier point about not taking a call without prior warning …
… all I mean is that if you answer a new prospect call, rather than jump straight in – which is bound to catch you off-guard – explain that you were just about to jump on another call but that you can call them back in half an hour to discuss further.
Then take their business name, as well as their name and number, so you can do a quick bit of research before the call and be prepared to blow their socks off with helpful insights and valuable ideas.