In today’s advanced technological world, it’s easy to underestimate the power of a simple telephone call. E-mail, print, television and even flashy tradeshows—all providing the ability to reach thousands if not millions of people—have set a new bar for both communicating and marketing, and social media has become the gold standard.
Taylor Swift may be the best example of someone who knows how to light up the Twittersphere. Like many pop musicians of her generation, the bubbly singer regularly uses Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and other social media platforms to communicate with her millions of fans. However, Swift is known for more than just frequent posting—she also personally contacts her fans. From randomly extending backstage invitations, to personalized birthday greetings, to inviting fans to her house for an album preview—Swift gets it done. I’m sure she loves her fans but she’s also a natural salesperson, taking advantage of one-on-one communication to sell tons more albums (and makeup, and perfume, and shoes, too). If you’re still not convinced, let me ask you this: what would make more of an impression on you? Reading a Taylor Swift tweet to millions of her fans or getting a personal phone call from her? Exactly.
You don't need to be sales-y to get sales.
You may not think of yourself as a salesperson, but I promise you are. You just don't know it. Perhaps you believe telephone selling is not for you or your type of profession—the esthetician, the day spa or salon owner, etc. You don’t have to become a telemarketer, spending your precious free time making cold calls. I’m talking about using the phone strategically to get in front of existing (and new) customers; providing them with something they already want—better service, education and to feel valued.
Selling Without Being Pushy
One of the reasons people don’t use the phone to sell is because they believe it puts clients on the spot. It’s “pushy.” That might be true, if you were being sales-y with them, but you don’t need to be sales-y to get sales. You can be passionate about your work, or the latest treatment that is on special, or the seasonal products on your retail shelves. There are lots of reasons to pick up the phone with the purpose of increasing sales other than trying to make a sale and close the deal. Think of this example, the last time I bought a car, I received a call from the dealership a few weeks later (not from my sales agent, by the way, but from a young woman in customer service) asking me about my purchasing experience. She seemed as excited about my purchase as I was, and it was fun talking cars with her. Then she casually mentioned that she knew I’d looked at some running boards at the time of my purchase, and was I still interested in them, because they were currently on sale? Guess what? I bought the running boards and was happy to get the discounted price. Notice she didn’t leave the offer open ended with something like, “Hey, if you ever need accessories, let us know.” She went to the extra effort of finding something in which she knew I was already personally interested. Winner, winner!
Think of the time you were at the grocery store, and the produce guy was stocking a shipment of beautiful apples. He sees you eyeing them and tells you they’re the tastiest variety he’s ever had. In fact, he bought two dozen last week and his family loved them, too—then he offers you a free sample. You end up buying enough apples to make six pies because they’re just so darn good. You know the produce guy isn’t a salesperson and he certainly isn’t on commission, but his enthusiasm and personalized touch translated easily to a sale—yours.
Approaching the Soft Sell
The best way to introduce a soft sell and avoid the “pushy” approach is by thinking of a non-sales reason ahead of time to call.
Following up on a recent treatment. Was the client happy with the results? Did she have any concerns or questions? Oh, and since she mentioned she wanted to try a new facial, let her know ahead of time that it will be on special next month.
Conduct a survey. Administer a brief customer service survey to ensure the best possible service. And since everyone’s busy, you might offer the client a free mini service to thank her for answering your questions.
Extending an invitation. Invite your client to an event at your spa or salon. Free information, food, beverages or services are always good excuses to pick up the phone.
Share in happiness. Call to wish the client a happy birthday, wedding wishes, happy holiday or whatever else might be appropriate (as long as your greeting is both personal and sincere).
Simply put, staying in touch works. So the next time you’re wondering how to boost sales without spending a lot of money doing it, pick up the phone. You can smile and dial your way to a better bottom line.
Top Three Smile and Dial Tips
1. Think of Selling by Phone as “Giving” not "Selling."
You’re giving your client (or potential client) valuable information, an invitation to a fun event or the opportunity to receive the best possible customer service.
2. Keep a “Tickler” File.
For each client, record key information such as their birthdays, partner’s or kids’ names, where they’re going on vacation, etc. This will allow you to make all correspondence with your clients that much more personal.
3. Ask for a Referral.
If you’ve got a satisfied customer on the line, always ask for a referral. They’ll be happy to tell their friends and family about your excellent services. Incentivize the referral with an offer for a free wrinkle cream, etc. to show your appreciation.