Saturday, February 7, 2009

Make That Call!

Dear Wendy,

I need booking help - I'm in a rut with my phone calls. I'm trying to ring customers from last year, to check on candles but also secure a booking, arrgghh, this cold calling is really hard - how do you start off and how do you ask for the booking?


Frustrated From Phones

Dear Frustrated,

Good on you for asking! One RMC point to YOU!

OK, the first thing you need to do is realise that you are NOT cold calling. You are not even warm calling. You are calling a valuable client who has purchased from you before and who likely wants to hear from you. Really.

Second, you need to reposition your thinking. They are not having a show for you. You are doing a show for them. You are giving them a great excuse to have a social night. You are giving them heaps of hostess credit. By calling them, you are offering them the advantage to be one of your most valued clients.

"I really enjoyed meeting you at Sarah's show. We didn't lock in a date for you on the night, but you did tell me you might book a party in the new year. Well, we have a new catalogue, an awesome February special for hosts, and I've got three dates left in February. I wanted you to get the first choice."
Third, you should combine your call with an invitation. The VIP Customer Appreciation night is a great excuse to call. Following up on a posted invitation is super because you've gotten their brains thinking about candles even before you call.

"Hi Jen, it's Wendy the candle lady, remember me? [No.] I met you last year at Karen's candle party. [Yes.] Is now a good time to talk? [No.] When should I call you back? [Yes.] Great, I'm calling for three quick reasons.

The first is to make sure you received my invitation to our upcoming VIP night. [No.] Verify address and give her the details. [Yes.] It's a great opportunity to see and smell the new 2009 range of products. Are you free that night?

[Yes.] Great, I'd love to see you there. I'll put you down on my RSVP list. Please come with a friend. If you want to make a night of it, you can come a bit early to have dinner and a drink before we start.

[No. Excuse.] I completely understand. Would you be interested in seeing the new catalogue anyway? [Yes.] I'll post it to you.

That brings me to the second reason I called. Are you attending a show in February?

[Yes.] Great, I can't wait to see you there. Will you be booking a party of your own at that show? [No. I don't have time for a party.] That's alright. I know how you feel. I felt the same way until I figured out that I could get so much for free by hosting a show that I found it was worth the effort to have a show.

[No.] Well, PartyLite has increased the normal hostess credits to 30% for the month of February. With a $400 show you would get $170 in free products. I thought of you and wanted to see if we could set up a date that works for both of us before we get too far into the month. [No, couldn't do it this month.] How does your March look? [Book party or ask if she wants you to contact her in the future to book a date.]

OK, the last reason for my call is that we have a great special in February for anyone who spends $30 or more. The 2009 votive sampler which is normally $52.95 is on sale for only $24.95. Or you can get the 16 sampler candles without the votive cup for only $14.95 - that's less that $1 per votive. If you need to stock up on some candles at a great price, you might want to take advantage of this offer and I can put it through for you (at your show/myself). How are you doing on stock of votives and tealights?

[Fine, I don't need anything.] OK, well, if you know anyone who would like to take advantage of that special, please give them my number.

[Yes.] Excellent, to qualify you need to spend $30, do you know what you want now, or do you want to wait until you get a copy of the new catalogue?"

This is not pushy. This is informative. This is following through on your promise to be her candle lady. You told everyone at the show that you wanted to be their candle lady, right? So be the proactive, smiling, happy candle lady on the phone. Ask everything you mean to ask, and take no for an answer. The more people you call the more no's you'll get.

I have learned to love NO.

If they are not going to a party soon and if they are not hosting one of their own, let them know that they don't have to. Let them know that you do a monthly order and ask them if they would like you to call them next month to see if they need any more candles. If they say yes, make a list of people you call every month. If they say no, call the next person.

One piece of advice, set up 30 minutes at a time to make the calls, make at least 5 calls, and stop on a high. In other words, keep going until you get a positive response. A booking, an order, a resolved problem, a referral. It always feels better to end on a good thing.

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