5 reasons to call your clients (and what to say)

It may have been invented in 1876 and fallen on hard times, but the humble telephone is still a great way to communicate with your clients. Here are 5 reasons to call your clients and what to say when they pick up the phone.

Why you need to call your clients

Key Account Managers build relationships with their clients, sure.  They also have to get things done.

Which is why a real conversation with your client now and then will come in real handy.

Why?

1. It’s easy

Why write a big long email to explain how something works or what went wrong or what’s going to happen next when you can explain so much more clearly with a conversation?

Phone calls are great to reduce complexity in your message.

2. It’s faster

Save yourself from the torture of replies and forwarding and an army of recipients in copy. Pick up the phone and sort whatever it is out there AND then.

3. Know, like and trust

Phone calls build relationships. You connect on a more personal level and you get to understand your client better. A phone call engages so much more than email because it’s in the moment.

A phone call is a especially useful if you anticipate a lot of questions.  You can cover these all in one phone call instead of dozens of emails.

4. No misunderstandings

You don’t need to read between the lines. You can gauge your clients’ reaction more effectively on the phone. You can make sure you’re understood and talk it out if there’s any confusion.

5. Gossip

Sometimes you learn a lot more than you bargained for. Frequently I’ve called my clients to talk about one thing and we’ve talked about something else. We’ve gone completely off topic (and off record) and we’ve talked about:

  • what’s going on in their business
  • who’s in the zoo
  • who’s coming and going

And even some “you didn’t hear it from me” advice on some decisions that are about to be announced that will impact our relationship as a supplier.

So here's my challenge for you: pick a client, pick up the phone, and talk.

Not sure what to say?

Plan before you call

Before you pick up the phone, invest some time to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What information do you want to learn from this call?
  • What information do you want to share during the call?
  • What is the outcome you want from this call?
  • What actions do you want the client to take after the call?
  • What will be your next steps following the call?
  • Why should the client care about anything you plan on discussing?

If you think about the answers to these questions before picking up the phone you will have a very successful call with your client.

What do you say after hello?

Here are three types of client calls every Key Account Manager should make each month.

These calls will improve your client relationships, grow your authority and influence, reveal new revenue opportunities and uncover problems:

1. A Satisfaction Call

Go through your CSAT or NPS surveys, trawl through your emails, or check out incident and support tickets - there's going to be something in there you can use to make a follow up call with your client and ask how they are and if they're happy.

2. A Review Call

Even if you do quarterly business reviews, check-in every month with your client to make sure things are going according to plan and re calibrate. A 30 minute phone call will go a long way and ensure your plans stay on track and their are no surprises.

3. A Referral Call

You need relationships with budget holders, decision makers and influencers - not just your point of contact. Ask for an introduction and then make the phone call to build your network.

5 reasons to pick up the phone and talk to your clients

Warwick Brown


Warwick Brown has led business development and account management teams in Australia and Europe for more than 15 years and worked with some of the world's most prestigious firms, including Merck & Co, Deutsche Bank, McKinsey & Company and Vodafone. As the founder at Account Manager Tips, his mission is to help organisations leverage the power of key account management to accelerate client retention and revenue.


Tags

clients, customer, relationship


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