It's a brand new year, and I'm hoping I can convince a few of you to go a little retro on your communication skills in 2018. Email and texting are great for a lot of communication needs, but if you can't meet with the client in person, the next best relationship-builder is the phone!
A few years ago I came across an article from Men's Health magazine. It was written by Gil Schwartz and called Flex Your Success Muscles. He shared six great tips, and number three was “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 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 via email, 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, a fast personal 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 a tweet. I’m not suggesting we all start making pests of ourselves and turn the phone into a series of business interruptions from hell. But, if you’ve got somebody you haven’t talked to in awhile, and you’re about to send them an email, think about whether or not a phone call is more appropriate.
I use the phone all the time to talk to other photographers. There's so much more you get out of the conversation. It's not uncommon for me to call somebody who's tweeted or posted something supportive and find out more about them. We all share an incredible passion for the craft - you don't need to know somebody to make a call! Over and again I'm amazed by how much we all have in common with today's challenges.
Let's make 2018 the year to get back to grassroots. It’s time to let your personal touch and handshakes beat out emails, no matter how poignant the words.
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