MODULE 5: Phone Calls
Intuitively you know that phone calls are more effective than text messages or emails. It’s obvious.
Take a look at this…
Did you know that only 7% of the information being communicated comes from the words we use. That means when you are sending a text message or writing an email you are only using 7% of what could be communicated.
When you combine the words used (just 7% of total communication) and the intonation (the way you speak) you increase the message being communicated to 45%. By adding in your voice, your message is 543% more effective than words alone!
You might be wondering what makes up the other 65%…well, that’s your body language.
Of course, being face to face or over a video chat of some sort is going to be even better than a phone call, but you probably don’t have time to see everyone face to face, so we’ll have to settle for the phone as the best alternative.
When you call someone you are interrupting them. Which is probably why you have some call reluctance when thinking about reaching out to past clients, right?
What we need to do is figure out a way so that when you call your clients they hang up and think to themselves, “I’m so glad they called.”
How do we do that?
You’ve heard of the Golden Rule…
Treat others the way you would like to be treated
Living by the Golden Rule makes sense. But if you want to leave them thinking, “I’m so glad they called” we need to think differently. Because what you may like or think is valuable may not matter much to them.
This is why we need to think in terms of the Platinum Rule instead…
Treat others the way they would like to be treated
With the Platinum Rule in mind we need to ask ourselves…
What do my clients want?
What are my clients stressing about?
What gets my clients excited?
What goals are my clients trying to achieve?
What happened recently in their lives?
How do we answer these questions?
Everyone's favorite topic
What topic do you think about more than any other topic? It is the same thing your clients think about more than anything else.
We spend more time and energy thinking about ourselves than we do anything else!
And here’s what’s interesting…given the chance they would like to talk about themselves as long as they don’t feel like their stealing the spotlight.
Talking about ourselves lights up the same area of the brain as...
You want to stay in contact often enough to be remembered and top-of-mind without calling so often it gets strange.
So what’s that balance?
We must return to the Platinum Rule…what do they want? How do you find out? Simple…ask!
Part of my Customer Loyalty program includes staying in touch with you, in a meaningful way that brings value to you. So, I have a question for you, because everyone is a little different…
How often would you like me to reach out? But before you answer let me give you a few examples of reasons you might want to hear from me.
I could provide a value estimate on your home, provide a referral to a professional (handyman, landscaper, insurance agent, etc.) or update you on what is going on in the world of real estate that might impact you.
With that in mind, what do you think? How often would you like me to call?
Even with that call script what do you think some people might say in response?
Yep, something like, “oh, there’s no need to call us” or “if I ever need anything I can call you”. How do you respond to something like that?
I completely understand you don’t need me calling and bothering you all the time.
How about this…if it would be alright with you I would like to call no more than three times a year but only when I believe there is something that you would like to hear from me about. Would that be alright with you?
You’ll get one of two responses here – “ok” or “no thanks”.
If they say “no thanks”, that’s ok. You now know they do not belong in your top 20%. You can, instead, focus on the people who want to talk with you. It is hard to not take it personally, but if you realize that if you were to call this person the calls would likely be strained and awkward anyway, so it’s better to know up front that you shouldn’t waste your time, or theirs.
At this point they answered the phone, you asked them how often, they told you or you suggested 3X per year. Fantastic…now you have to follow through. Make notes in your follow up task and schedule your next call.
It is not about what to say but instead what to listen for. 57% of your time should be spent listening and only 43% spent talking. And when you’re talking you should be asking questions so you can get them talking again.
What to Ask
FORD or FROG. Have you heard of these frameworks before? If not here they are:
The idea behind these accronyms is to provide you with stuff to talk about, in case you need it. If you don’t need them then don’t use them. But be sure to keep in mind that you should not be doing the majority of the talking and instead you should be asking questions.
You could ask them:
- how their spouse is
- what the kids have been up to
- what vacations they may have coming up
- what they do for fun
- about any new projects at work
- what they are looking forward to
Earlier, when talking about the Platinum Rule, there were a few questions to start thinking about what your clients are thinking about. The best way to understand what they are thinking is to ask them, so consider these questions too:
- What do my clients want?
- What are my clients stressing about?
- What gets my clients excited?
- What goals are my clients trying to achieve?
- What happened recently in their lives?
When calling you must have a purpose behind the call that your clients will find valuable and leave them saying, “I’m so glad they called.”
In some cases you will have a purpose to call based on a previous conversation and a promise made based on an uncovered need. Other times you will need to identify something that you believe would be helpful to your client.
Here are some suggestions on valuable reasons to call your database:
- Offer a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
- Market Update – home values, days on market, list vs sales price
- I listed a home in your neighborhood in case you know of anyone who wants to move nearby…
- I’m holding an open house in your area in case you or someone you know would like to stop by…
- I sold a home in your neighborhood…
- I have a new listing that could be a great investment opportunity and wanted you to be one of the first to know about it…
- I’m offering a class/seminar/webinar…
- I wrote a blog post you might find interesting…
- I’m hosting an event I wanted to invite you to…
- I recently came across (something) that made me think of you…
- I saw (something) on Facebook and wanted to reach out…
- I know you are a (business owner/manager/etc) and wanted to see about getting together to explore ways I can help you in your business…
During your call you may uncover a high-touch opportunity.
This is an opportunity to acknowledge something you learn about during your call with a gift , card or note. DO NOT MISS OUT on this opportunity to make an even greater impact. Sending something after your call will really make you stand out and show them you care. Going the extra mile demonstrates how committed you are to the relationship.
You’ve got plenty of questions you can ask using FORD or FROG. Now your job is to listen!
What are you listening for? Pain & Pleasure.
When you hear something that is painful or pleasurable to them you need to acknowledge it.
Awkward pause? Yep!
For some, like Marla, this comes naturally and won’t be awkward at all. Others, like Scott, are challenged with this pause.
But here’s what happens…the pause gives the person you’re talking to time to say something more. And normally they will because the silence is awkward for them as well but is quickly resolved with them talking about themselves some more.
Some of your clients may be self-employed, managers within a corporation or a commission-based salesperson. You will want to listen for opportunities you can refer your clients. How’s that as a way to stand out and show you’re listening, you care and you understand the value of a referral?!
Once you have started the conversation with the FORD or FROG framework the next step is to provide something valuable to them using the suggestions above. You will want to continue to listen for pain or pleasure here as well as they may indicate a need you can fill, a desire to move, sell, refinance, etc where you can be their professional resource to assist them.
TAKE NOTES! When you are done with the call it is important you record your notes. Add it to the task you have open for your call and then push your call out to the next scheduled call. Be sure to be detailed enough in your notes since it is unlikely you will remember those details 2,3 or 4 months down the road when you make your next call.
We share this strategy in Step 6 of our FREE guide, Creating Consistency with the Next Step System.
- Make a short list of clients you want to call. Reach out and practice your new call scripts on and begin building your skills!
- Make a list of clients you feel may find value in receiving a CMA and call to offer the free service.
- Call the clients who sent back their “You’re Important to Me” forms and thank them for responding. These clients have already indicated that they would like to hear from you!