I have tried so many different ways to handle this first call that I can safely say this is an art form. It is also, without question, one of the most important calls you’ll take during your day.
The good news is that once you get this call, the job is yours 50% of the time. How do you push that percentage closer to 100?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Always have a warm, accessible voice when answering these calls.
- Always give the client the impression that this is the most important call of the day.
- Make sure you get as much information from the client that you possibly can. Some things you want to find out: What the client is looking for, a sense of his or her personality, the date of the event, the location, and any other details that are pertinent to how you can help this client make his/her event successful.
- While getting information, if you feel this client is right for you, try setting up a meeting to see them in person ASAP. Don’t forget that they are probably calling other vendors.
- THIS IS IMPORTANT: Discussing budgets over the phone is a big no no. Always try to do this in person when you can show your prospective client what they could potentially get for their money.
- Even if you established that this client is not right for you over the phone, always offer a recommendation to the right vendor. Also include the offer that if there is anything else you can help them with, they should not hesitate in calling back.
- Make sure you get their address and send them a handwritten note telling them it was great talking to them and how much you are looking forward to meeting in person. (This might seem like overkill, but it’s very effective.)
- Last but not least, always make sure your caller is very clear in how grateful you are for the potential chance of working together.
The most important, heartfelt line you can tell a prospective client is, “I’d really love to have the opportunity to work for you.” After all, anytime someone has said this to me, I’ve been more likely to hire him/her. Now, please tell me how you handle that first call. What are some of your tips?