Here's the 16th installment in the One Step at a Time series to help you build a stronger business. It might not be as in depth as the posts on your website and your blog, but it's right at the top of the charts when it comes to building your brand. A phone call, done when the timing is right, can open so many more doors than an email!
Cleaning my office recently I found an old article I cut out from a copy of Men's Health. In the past few years I’ve written several posts about communications and especially the use of the phone over email. Well, the article was by by Gil Schwartz, Flex Your Success Muscles. He’s got six great tips and number three is “Give Good Phone”.
“We hit a tipping point a few years ago with e-mail. Once a real boon to business, email became a burden as millions of poor workers were forced to walk around like Jacob Marley in Dickinson’s A Christmas Carol, weighed down by heavy email chains. Really successful operators now know that a 2-minute phone call is far superior to a stupid e-mail chain…”
Think about how you feel when you need help and you actually get a phone call from the vendor! Even more relevant is that moment when you finally get through all the default prompts on a call to a manufacturer and you get a live body. The point is you feel great!
Now, put yourself in the shoes of a potential client who just sent you an email to inquire about your availability to photograph their family, wedding, golf outing etc. Getting a call back from you, instead of what feels like a canned response, will pick up points every time.
Email has its place, but it’ll never replace your personality, your voice and your ability to start building trust with your clients with the very first building block, the fast response. It’s also outstanding for the care and feeding of your network!
Pick a couple of people in your network who deserve a phone call instead of an email, message on Facebook or even a tweet. I’m not suggesting we all start making pests of ourselves and turn the phone into the business interruption from hell, but if you’ve got somebody you haven’t talked to in awhile and you’re about to email them with information, think about whether or not a phone call is more appropriate.
Personally, I use the phone all the time to talk to other photographers. There's so much more you get out of the conversation and it's not uncommon for me to call somebody who's tweeted something supportive and find out more about them. Well all share an incredible passion for the craft - you don't need to actually know somebody to make a call! Over and over again I'm amazed by how much we all have in common with today's challenges.
This is the year to get back to grass roots. It’s a year when handshakes and your personal touch will trump emails, no matter how poignant the words.
Illustration credit: © Brian Jackson - Fotolia.com