My style is based on the importance of communicated to clients in the most effecient manner.
I do mobile massage therapy and there is much information (medical and other) that needs to flow back and forth before I show up at a client's location.
For this reason, I try and either get the client's phone number and arrange a time to call or have them call me.
It's too difficult to send lengthy back and forth text or online messages, sometimes over a period of days.
1 five-minute phone call and I can gather all of the information I need, impart all of the information that is needed, as well as allow the client to ask any questions they may have.
Efficient and practical for both parties. 🙂
From a communication standpoint, I've received the most success by simply providing a range of options during my intila response. Some people prefer to talk on the phone, some prefer video conferencing, and others go with just communication via computer email/messaging. With this in mind I always use the same "formula" for responding to inquires: geet, answer the qiestion (e.g. availbailty, estimate, etc.). Let them know they can contact you at xyz number for questions, then follow up with a signatre that includes name, title, website, and email address. Intuitively, the customer will have all the info they need to contact you , and will pick the one that there are most comfortable with.
When I first started, I would give customers a link to schedule an appointment. While some people would go with it, others appreciate a more direct way to talk to you. In fact, I ralilzed that a lot of people didn't respond OR set an appotinment. After all, their project is their priority, and they expect it to be yours as well. Why should the set an appointment to talk to you when there ae others they can talk to now? I eliminated that altogether and just said hey, contact me when you're ready and here's all my information so you pick which is best. By not pushing them into a certain communication channel, they will not feel so pressured to contact you a certain way-- which for you means that a positive rapport is established because you're more concerned with giving them a peace of mind and convenience than getting them on the phone quickly or getting their email address to close a deal. Make it more about convenience and less about sealing the deal!
Some customers want to talk on the phone for hours, and others have social anxiety about talking on the phone at all. Some people find it rude to text and others prefer it more... I evaluate a customer's style of communication mostly by emailing them my regular "intro email" and ending it with the sentence: "feel free to call or text me at any time." Which basically tells the customer: I prefer emails, but "texting and calling" is cool too. As I'm sure most vendors will agree: we like emails best, "texting" second best, and calling and meeting in-person the least. Why? It's not that we don't love meeting clients, at a random Starbucks so they can eyeball us quickly before signing the contracts. It's because the emails and texts give us a better receipt of all the client's requests, which can sometimes be lost during calls and meetings in person. Communication is everything, but it can be different for every one of your customers. Customer is always right, but don't be afraid to steer them in the right direction.
I look for the pain factor more than anything. If the person is vague and is looking at services a year from now I don't pursue it. The more a person is needing something within 2-4 weeks that is what I go after and I force them to make decisions quick.
Communication can be hard- especially online. I always reach out to the client leaving a message in response to what they have asked me first. If it's avaiablity I provide my week's avaiability etc. Most clients are not asking for a prefferred way of communication- it typically goes to email and they might not see my response. To ensure they have more way's to communicate with me I let them know they can text/call me and I will respond asap, giving them the option to text or call give's them the option and they are more likely to respond to me sooner rather then communicating through the app back and forth. I always try to set up a phone call after they respond to let them know I am ready to get going. BUILDING ON COMMUNICATION and BEING PERSONAL TO EACH CLIENT HAS BEEN KEY! They can see right through someone who is just responding to a job vs someone who is genuinely interested in the clients business and serving them!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*Extra credit if you can share a time you adapted your communication with a customer to land a job!*
I recently had a couple reach out to me about training. As soon as I respond to her post she emailed back asking for me to email her. From there I emailed her with all the information I thought suitable to her request. Moving forward I ask to speak to her over the phone just she felt comfortable knowing who I was and we could begin more direct communication. A breif phone call helped us see we were a good match for each other. It covered alot of time and uneccessary back and forth by getting on the phone with her. Once we met and they signed as a client she mentioned they chose me because I was "prompt and persistent" and in a good way!!! WOOHOO! 🙂
Normally I respond and then wait to see if it seems they are going to prefer to communicate thru Thumbtack or texting, or recently phone calls. I adapt to whichever one they prefer by giving my number fairly quickly into our exchange.
For an unresponsive inquiry, which happens more than I like, I recently tried the following:
I got an inquiry for a cake order and when I sent a quote never got a response. I tried something new and sent another message with some ideas for the cake and said to keep me in mind if she unable to find another bakery. I got a response then that she liked my ideas and we worked out the order. Previously I had just asked again for information about what the client was looking for instead of just sending some ideas. I will try this method again if I have another client who doesn't answer back.
Keep it simple and to the point like a sms chat.
But sometimes clients dont go over your profile and want to know more of what you offer , so take the time to explain it to them and dont let them wait. if they wait long they move away from being your lead and start exloring other options.