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“How’s the weather?” – Or Don’t forget the R in CRM

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The following post is from a guest blogger – Tony Berastegui.

Over 95% of my clients have never met me face to face.  You see, I work in inside sales and most, if not all of my business is done over the phone or by email.  No opportunities for a handshake, lunch, or round of golf here.  Yet, I have very good relationships with my current account base and always looking for new relationships with my new business efforts.  How?  Nothing beats face to face interactions, but there are very simple ways to build that relationship without ever meeting in person.

Video phones would be the easiest solution.  However, I mostly communicate with small to medium business owners where the good ol’ phone is king.  Email is still very powerful when used correctly.  However, the phone is still the best method to build that very important relationship.   My customers buy because they like me.  I sell a very common service in a competitive market and people don’t buy just on price.  They want to work with someone they can trust, so in my case, building a strong relationship is crucial.

So, when dealing with phone calls, I never rely on a script and every call is different.  It has to be.  Not everyone is equal and if you stick to a script, you may guarantee yourself that all the details will be delivered – but at what cost?  Sounding like a robot, maybe.

When I prospect or reach out to existing accounts I always take a minute to find something to talk about before I make the call. Current events, trade news, and yes, the weather are topics that I look for.  ACT! helps me a lot with tracking notes for talking points for both prospects and clients.  For example, Bill the plumber, lives in Alabama and he loves to talk about his son and his golf game.  Well, right before I reach out to Bill to check on his latest order, I check my notes in ACT! and note that the last time we talked, Bill told me his son was breaking in his new golf driver.  With that in mind, here is how I start that call. “Hey Bill!  Tony here.  So is the little guy hitting the big stick 200 yards yet?”    This easily leads into my client talking about his son.  He’s relaxed, the conversation is casual, the relationship maintained.  Soon into that call, with a nice relaxed customer, I ease into the purpose of my call and work on getting a renewal on the account or an up-sell.

You would think it would be easy to remember that Bill the plumber’s son plays golf.  Well, did I mention that I make 80 outbound calls a day?  My memory is pretty good, but my time is spent number crunching, proposal building, prospecting, you name it.  That’s a lot to be thinking about. That’s why I need tools like ACT! to help me “remember” things important to my customer and me.

Take the time to ask about the weather before you get into the business of the call.  Take the time to take note of something that is of special interest to your prospect or client and start the call with that.  The recipient of your call is just as busy as you are, and a little chat about junior’s golf swing is surely a welcome break.

Good luck with your relationship building.  Always remember to not forget the “R” in CRM is Relationships.  Oh, and by the way, Phoenix was 105 today. Not to bad considering we hit 118 this summer.  Happy selling.

Signed Tony Berastegui – guest blogger (who happens to be my son – didn’t he do a great job on this blog post!)

Written by pregen

August 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm

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