In the last couple of years consulting services, trainings and services in the field of internet marketing and advertising have quickly developed. Of course, all of these services are provided by people and logically many people who are proficient at different areas of internet marketing and advertising started offering various services in this area of knowledge. To be more specific, I mean the following fields:
• Social Networks
• Google Ad words
• E-mail Marketing
• Creation and maintenance of websites
• Copywriting for the web
• Internet advertising
• Internet reputation
Since I’ve been working on an international project for online business trainings for about one year now, I felt the need to use the services of such consultants. After many calls and appointments with professionals in these fields I found out that 90 % of these people have a need for A, B knowledge and skills for business communication.
I hear almost immediately questions like "Who are you to tell us what we need?". So I will give you some details: Slavi Slavov, 14 years of experience in B2B communications, an owner of consulting and training business with over 1900 corporate clients, over 20 000 trained employees (not personally).
To avoid any wrong understanding of the purpose of this article I would like you to know that my purpose is only to help You, Internet marketing professionals, communicate in a more responsible way, more efficiently and effectively with your customers and partners.
That is why I will not emphasize on sharing my bad experience that I had with some of the best professionals at Internet marketing in Bulgaria and I will try to give you some valuable tips on how to improve your business communication.
So no more talking, I go to the point.
Dear ladies and gentlemen, Internet professionals!
Time is the most precious thing for a person. Time is the only thing that one can not bring back. One could earn money again, gain trust again with some difficulty, one can get healed, but time is the only thing you can not give back to anyone, you can not buy it, you can not give it to someone nor can it be given to you.
I understand and have personally found out that working on the web changes the normal ideas and perceptions of time, but your clients do not care at all. What your clients want from you is meet your deadlines and keep up to commitments.
I often hear " but it can not be done immediately, today, yesterday". None of your clients wants it to be done for yesterday or immediately if you communicate properly. They just want you to provide what you agreed on time.
Basic recommendations that I want to give in terms of time and commitments are:
1. When you receive a call from a "new" customer make your meeting as soon as possible. Otherwise, the probability of losing this customer increases by 20% every single day behind schedule. I.e. if you offer them a meeting four days later, the likelihood that they would deny a meeting with you and look for another consultant is 80%.
2. When someone contacts you via email or through the contact form on your website, give your response within two hours. I know you check on your email up every 5 minutes or more often. In this way, on every second hour of your working time likelihood to lose that customer increases by 20%. It is not necessary to write long and descriptive letters:
" Dear Customer ,
We received your request! We will write to you or we will contact you within 12/24 hours.
Internet marketing professional!"
Extremely bad impression makes a letter that looks like this:
" Dear Customer,
We received your request! We will give you our reply as soon as possible. You are very important to us. "
And then one week is gone and there’s no response. This makes even a worse impression than not to write anything. The best option is to contact the customer up to 50% of the time you wrote.
3. You already have an appointment. If it is at your office, make the client feel expected. If you are going to visit the client, enter on time or 5 minutes earlier! NEVER later! Don’t be a slave to the "academic rule" or the popular opinion that all people are late. If you find yourself in a neutral territory, it’s the same.
I have no doubt that you are professionals at your field, so I don’t intend to explain how to be a good presentator and sell your services. So I move to the next step.
4 . Such conversations with customers lead to some kind of commitment on your part. For example, you send a presentation or a concrete proposal with a price offer; commitment to give feedback on the current state of a web page, advertising campaign, pages on social networking sites, etc.
Here again I want to put a stress on commitments, time and deadlines. You must be punctual and concrete.
" So, Mr. Client. Let me summarize. I will prepare this and that for you. You will receive it in writing via email no later than 01.08.2014, Wednesday. Once you get my proposal what time would you need to give me feedback, your opinion on the proposal. " Avoid getting yourself engaged to send offers on a Friday. If there is something that is not clear by the offer the client can not react to look for more information and you can not react to correct yourself.
You should also ask for a deadline from your customers. You can not send proposals and stand waiting in the nothingness for response. In this way you look more professional and you increase your reputation.
The most common error in such cases is to say, "I'll try, I'll try". There is no such thing on the clock and the calendar. There are hours and dates there. A specific day, a specific hour!
5 . If you are very busy and you can not accept any new clients, say it to the Client! If you have a written request, make your answer within the shortest time (2 hours ):
" Dear Mr. Customer,
Since we’re extremely busy with projects of our Clients we would not be able to give you an answer and engage with your inquiry! If you would like, we could direct you to some of our colleagues"
Internet marketing professional "
The client would accept this refusal with respect. They would honor that you don’t give them vague and evasive answers and commitments. You save your respects.
6 . When you have already engaged with the Client, continue meeting deadlines, commitments. Arrange specific dates and hours. Forget about "I will try to meet that deadline". My experience with similar words shows that things never happen when you engage with deadlines in this way.
If you do have an emergency situation and you can not meet the deadline, you need to reschedule an appointment or an engagement, communicate it with your clients personally. You should at least talk to them in such cases, you need to apologize personally, never in writing and must offer them and he should approve a new deadline with which you engage. The most memorable bad example from my experience with Internet professionals is postponing a meeting with a text message an hour before the meeting and no other communication. It surely comes to your mind that in the future will avoid any contact with this person.
7 . The phone. If you have a phone, use it. Pick it up, talk. If you are unable to speak text when you will call back. Most phones have templates and it happens for 3 sec. It is very important to "return" missed calls as quickly as possibe.
8. Skype, Hangouts, other "Internet communication apps“. Do not put your clients in awkward positions by offering them to keep in touch through communication channels convenient for you, without knowing whether they are convenient for your client, too. Ask them what the most convenient way of communication for them is and consider it.
9. Do not hide! I have almost none cases when I wanted to find someone’s coordinates and I failed. With you, colleagues Internet professionals, the situation is a little strange. I do not understand why you hide. Of course, not all of you, but since you're a public figure, who provides services for external clients it’s normal to give people the opportunity to contact you. My recommendations are:
• On your website you must have space for contacts with you, as it is on any normal site
• On the page with your contact form you’d better leave also some other options for connection with you- a phone number, skype, your LinkedIn page, it would be better to have a picture, a brief description of the team. Direct e-mail and telephone make the best impression.
• When you receive an invitation for connection on a social network, accept it immediately. The probability that it’s a client is great. If it’s not a client, you can always delete it.
In conclusion, I would like to note that the recommendations above are not a deficient in each of you and it is imperative that you have poor communication. But I am convinced that at least at one of all the above recommendations you can become better. Not to make you think that I am free of mistakes, I’ll admit that surely I don’t always do at least 25% of the things described above.
I wish you success and more satisfied customers and partners!