Inbox overload? Try something different...
Inbox overload? Try something different...

Smile when you Dial 

“These days we seem to spend more time sorting out in-boxes than doing any actual work.  It’s a common problem, I think. Sometimes what we think will be more efficient, actually makes more work.” 

This is the compelling, thought-provoking message that turned up in our inbox recently from a customer who was seeking an escape from the burden of email overload. (Yes, she did send it by email as if to illustrate her point!)

So we thought we’d have a look at this, because it's pretty obvious she isn’t alone in feeling the pressure. A clogged inbox is a sure-fire way to make you feel helplessly snowed under. And that’s not good.

Firstly, you need to look at your own inbox to see how you can reduce the clutter and focus on what you need to. Here’s a few tips to help you get started:

PICK UP THE PHONE

When you next go to reply to a customer’s email, ask yourself “can I respond just as well or better by picking up the phone instead?”  If the answer is yes, chances are that you can answer your customer much more clearly by talking it through with them. You can answer all their questions at once and ask them questions too.

Emails can be so unemotional sometimes. How often is it that you’ve sent an email to someone only for them to take offence? You, of course, meant something completely different to what they read it as, but the damage is done.

With a phone call, just the expression in your voice is enough to negate this. It’s that expression that is missing in an email – you could, of course, use italics, bold type and underlines to make sure your point is put across but that would take hours (and it would look a bit weird!)

Talking of expression and all that, you may be surprised to know that the state of your mood will be obvious when you’re talking on the phone. Seriously, it will make all the difference if you smile when you dial. Try it and see – phone someone who won’t mind being the subject of a random mood detection test and get them to talk normally; then as if they’re slouched over in a can’t-be-bothered mood; and lastly sitting up, grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

It honestly will transform your conversations – how much better will it sound to your customers to listen to a bright-and-buzzing voice compared to reading a bland, expressionless email?

GO ONLINE

For the ultimate in relationship building, you should be meeting your customer to talk face-to-face with them. Looking each other in the eye will help you understand each other better, read hidden emotions (in facial expressions etc) and build trust.

These days it’s pretty easy to have a meeting with a client – Skype and similar are fast, efficient and cost-free. You won’t have to waste time travelling and it’s pretty quick and easy to set up. You can also run through presentations online and show demo videos etc.

These are far more visual and powerful than phone calls or email – most people need visual stimuli (amazing word. Thanks thesaurus) to help understand the message. So if you have your presentation well laid out and you can explain everything, your customer shouldn’t have a problem ‘getting it’.

GET OUT THERE

Even better than video conferencing is the good old traditional sales visit. At first, it can appear to be a costly exercise but don’t dismiss it: there’s a lot of value that you just cannot get any other way.

Firstly, when you’re actually sitting with your client talking through their needs, you’re much closer to reality. They can see you and hear you; they know you’re a real human being just like them. They will trust and respect you and will feel comfortable sharing information with you.

Following on from this, they’ll then begin to tell you their pain points and what they’re really looking for in a supplier. You’ll be able to respond to their questions and ask in return. You’ll find that new opportunities spring from these – as your customer begins to warm to your personality they’ll become more open and will start to reveal more invaluable insight.

Simply by showing up will prove to your customer that you are genuinely keen to work with them and willing to put the effort in to make the relationship work.

SEND MAIL

OK, we’ll admit – direct mail is close to our hearts. But it’s not just that – there is true value in a well-targeted, high quality direct mail campaign. Top creatives such as Martin Sorrell believe in it too.

Think back to the last time you received a piece of direct mail that stood out and caught your attention. Chances are it was quite a while ago. Imagine the power, then, of a well-thought-out, quality piece of direct mail that lands on your customer’s doormat. It won’t fail to catch their attention.

We fully believe (and this is backed up by the research) that sending your customer something as simple as a letter will help you to stand out from the crowd. And if you take our advice and try something different, there’s vast opportunities awaiting you.

It may be that you want to use a scratch-and-sniff to add a real wow-factor, or a soft-touch laminate to give your direct mail that irresistible touchy-feely effect. Whatever it is, trying something slightly different can have massive impact.


So there you have it. We’re certainly not sending email to the door marked Do One because it definitely has a place, in its place. We’re just saying: Use it in context, think before you send and try something different. You’ll be amazed.


You're reading an article from the Newton Print Marketer Hub. We're trying to do our bit to help marketers' lives easier. It's been confirmed that marketing and design departments are the most overworked of all so it's time that was recognised. We use our experience to help you transform your marketing with an injection of creativity and 30 years of know-how.

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