ASH Wednesday, Leslie Ash – and for the older generation, perhaps Arthur Ashe. Most of us will have become familiar with the first day of Lent, the actress with ‘that’ pout and the former tennis legend. Now we have the Volcanic version of the ‘A’ word. One that caused the skies to be closed above much of Europe for six days, fuelling incalculable problems for the airline industry and passengers, not to mention the unprecedented and surreal sight at around junction 14 of the M25 – signs saying, ‘Heathrow Airport Closed’.
So, how did you deal with the problems? Did they affect your business? And how will you deal with them the next time, given that the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, shows no sign of letting up any time soon.
Well, David Festenstein, a Phone Guru and Coach as well as a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguisitic Programming (NLP) believes he can help. And David, an avid follower of the Naked Leader, has issued the following advice for business owners.
David says: ‘Here are the seven tips I would recommend to help support your business.’
1. Email of course is the obvious choice but it can take up to a week to get a decision using email. Far better to use the phone.
2. If you do not like the phone particularly, it is probably because you are a ‘visual person’ and prefer to see the other person face to face. Compensate for this by bringing up a picture of them from the website. If this is not possible imagine what they look like. You may be able to use skype video, so you can actually see the other person. Would that make you more comfortable?
3. To replace the body language you would get from a face to face meeting, focus on the other person’s tone, you will get a lot of clues about how they are responding to what you are saying and acknowledge accordingly.
4. Rather than having adhoc telephone conversations, arrange a formal ‘telephone meeting’ with an agenda. The other person will then be in a better state of mind to discuss the outcomes you are trying to achieve.
5. Test the agenda, if you were in the other person’s shoes would you accept your point of view? Briefly, mentally rehearse what you are going to say. Does it make sense, does it feel right? If not adjust your agenda and what you are going to say.
6. When you do the call, make sure you are really listening to what the other person is saying, not concentrating on what you are going to say next. ‘Check in with them’ from time to time to see what you have said has been well received.
7. You may like to consider another ‘telephone meeting’ as a follow up or you can use teleconference call/teleseminar technology if there are a number of you involved in the decision-making process. It may take some time for your clients to get themselves back to some state of normality so they can start having face to face meetings again.
Thanks for the tips David. Hopefully your wise words will mean there will be less business owners coming over all ashen faced should similar problems arise in the next few months.