Rule #1: Do not call with the direct purpose to sell
There are only three (3) reasons why you should be calling a customer:
- Proactively solving a problem for a pre-sale (abandoned checkout) or post-sale customer
- Getting feedback about your business, your website, or your product
- Saying “Thank You”
These above points should be your only purpose when you call.
You have to remember that marketing is just a fancy word for relationships. Bulletproof customer relationships are the biggest asset your brand will ever own. And calling a customer explicitly to make a sale is not cool. But if you call for any of the above three reasons and do a good job on that call, there is a good chance a sale will come as a result of it. Gary Vaynerchuk says it best with this tweet:
Once you go into the call with this mentality, you’ve already won.
Rule #2: Never forget rule #1
Yes, rule #1 is that important that I need to remind you. The sale is, and always will be, a positive bi-product of a positive and trusted relationship. Trusting your money with a business online isn’t that easy to do, think about if you’d open your wallet for a brand you’ve never heard before? This is why Amazon and big-box brands have an easier time convincing consumers to open their wallets online. Because their brands have built trust with the public. Most small online businesses haven’t done that.
Once you go into the call with this mentality, you’ve already won. Rule #2: Never Forget Rule #1 Yes, rule #1 is that important that I need to remind you. The sale is, and always will be, a positive bi-product of a positive and trusted relationship. Trusting your money with a business online isn’t that easy to do, think about if you’d open your wallet for a brand you’ve never heard before? This is why Amazon and big-box brands have an easier time convincing consumers to open their wallets online. Because their brands have built trust with the public. Most small online businesses haven’t done that.
Rule #3: Go above and beyond
When you consider that a phone call is the realest, closest, and most two-way relationships channel you’ll have with your online customer, you will understand how important this rule is. Going above and beyond creates a lasting impression of your brand, because now when your customer thinks about your brand, they have nothing but wonderful things to say. Plus, if later on in your business relationship let’s say a product arrives late, or you sent the wrong item, or any mistake an online retailer could make, you’ve earned enough goodwill that the mistake will be easily shrugged off.
For example, let’s say you’re on the phone with a customer providing after-sale service on a weekend during a late afternoon and you hear their young daughter in the background saying “Daddy, I’m hungry.” What would you do? How can you go above and beyond? Order them a pizza. You have their home address (because you shipped them their product), and you can find the closest Dominos to your customer using this link, so if you place the order online and by the time you’re off the phone the pizza might arrive within a few minutes. If you’re interested in learning more about this specific tactic there is another post I’ve written about this here.
Rule #4: Consider their timezone
The benefit of doing online commerce is you can have customers all over the world. But this also means there is a large variety of timezones you need to consider for your audience. You don’t want to call someone up during their family dinner time. Or if they’re asleep. In fact, not only do you not want to call in those time, you actually want to call during hours where they are likely to be engaged on their phone or their computers.
I dug into some of my customer store data and put together this heatmap for you guys. These are the aggregated buying times (and abandon checkout times) for consumers across 3,000 Shopify stores.
Rule #5: Be prepared
Don’t call a customer unless you know exactly what you’re looking to get out of it. Go back to rule #1 and align your talking points to your purpose. Prepare a call script, but don’t read off the page. Your customers on the other end of the line will be able to tell if you’re reading a script, and they will also be able to pick up on any lack on confidence. Being prepared is crucial. Know your product, know your business, know the answers to every common FAQ question your business has been asked.
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