Hello? Pick Up the Phone

A question I am often asked by my clients is "Sophie, how do I market my business and get more clients?" The answer is to pick up the phone and tell people who you are, what you do, and how it can help them.

When you just rely on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn or emails you limit communication, prolong the know, like and trust cycle. You also end up leaving a lot of money on the table because it's very difficult to negotiate or handle objections effectively through digital mediums when your potential client is unable to see or hear you.

Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and emails are great for starting conversations. You have to go where your clients hang out and most likely, unless they live under a rock, they will be in one of those places. There is a way to work smart when it comes to getting clients and no, I am not going to start talking about internet marketing. Instead I am going to share how I use social media and emails to find new clients and schedule phone conversations.

However, first things first, you have to understand that business is business and personal is personal. Don't spark conversations with potential clients on Facebook if you have just uploaded a picture of you falling out of a bar. I know that this may seem basic, but I had to mention it.

Now that we have cleared this up...

The first step on what I like to call the ''spark a conversation'' plan is to identify where your clients hang out -- and don't just assume that it's Facebook.

The second step is to find out how they use the hang out. There is no point contacting a potential client on Facebook if they only use Facebook for personal uses. Trust me, you will get no response and may even end up annoying them.

The third step is to find out three things that sum them up. Two things should be business related and one should be personal. The one personal thing is the key to their heart. Trust me, whenever I have initiated a conversation that touches on a personal interest the person's attention turns up a notch. People don't buy products or services -- they buy people. Nobody wants to feel like a cash cow, another check box on your sales sheet.

Once you have found out information about them, connect with them using their digital medium of choice. Now at this point you maybe asking yourself, ''How do I know their digital medium of choice?'' The answer is, ''Google is your friend, use it." Trust me, if you input the name of the person or business, the most active social profile will come up first.

Now that you know their digital medium of choice and three things about them, you are ready to make initial contact. I would always recommend that if you somehow come across an email address, that is always better to initiate first contact.

When you first contact them via email, whatever you do, don't send them a 100 page letter telling them why they should work with you. Remember that digital contact should be purely for introductions. Think of digital contact like a butler who announces new guests.

Sometimes your potential client will email you back and sometimes they won't. Whatever the outcome of your initial email (as long as they don't tell you to go away ) schedule a follow up call in your diary for three days. It's always best to leave a couple days in between emails to phone calls because you don't want to come off as a stalker who tweets them, emails them, writes to them and then calls them. They may call the police ;-)

During your phone conversation, don't forget your three facts that you found out about them and please don't say them all in a row. That may come off a little weird.

A famous ice hockey player said the reason he is successful is because he doesn't go to where the puck is, he goes to where it's going to be. Everyone sends emails, everyone tweets and Facebooks. Be different and you will gain more business then you can handle.

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