Now that you’ve introduced yourself, evaluated the customer’s needs, and provided an assessment of your capabilities, it’s time to get into the details, namely…
The Meat and Potatoes
Whereas the first three phases of a Telephone Consultation might have lasted just a few minutes, the main part of the Consultation will probably be much longer. Remember, this is the customer’s show- it is THEIR job to ask questions and guide the conversation; it is YOUR job to answer those questions as directly and succinctly as possible. Here are few tips for success in this phase:
- Think Before You Speak – Listen the customer’s question and spend a few seconds formulating your response before you begin talking.
- Ask for Clarification – If you aren’t absolutely sure what the customer is asking, how can you answer effectively?
- Don’t Ramble – Avoid talking continuously for more than one minute. Pause and let the Client ask another question or prompt you to continue.
- Be Patient and Polite – Remember, the customer is probably less knowledgeable about the topic of discussion than you are (that’s why they’re talking to you, right?). You may have to do some teaching. Don’t act annoyed if they don’t fully understand your responses; just simplify, educate, and help them understand.
- There Are No Stupid Questions… but it’s OK to correct someone. If the customer asks a question that doesn’t make sense or says something that’s not true, correct them.
- Professional Opinions Are Valuable…
I believe this would be good for business because…
- …but Personal Opinions Are Not:
I’m voting for Sally Smith because Jack Davis is unfit for office…
- Confidential Info is OFF LIMITS – We probably sound like a broken record on this point, but that’s because it’s extremely important. Do not, under any circumstances, share other people’s (or companies’) confidential information with the customer. The consequences of improper disclosure can be quite severe, so stay far away from this.
- If You Get Uncomfortable, Call it Off – Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable with the customer’s line of questioning, end the Consultation. You will not be penalized in any way for terminating a Consultation for this reason.
When the customer is satisfied, they will end the Consultation. If you have anything else to add to the conversation, you should very briefly mention it here. Feel free to let the customer know that you are available for follow-up if needed, and that they should schedule follow-ups through Maven so you can receive payment. DO NOT agree to allow the customer to call you directly, as you will not be paid for Consultations that do not occur on our conferencing system.
That’s it! Now you have all the information you need to conduct a successful Maven Consultation.