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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #24: September, 2005

Tips on communication

Tips on communication:

  • Don't ask a prospect "if" he or she would like to proceed, ask them "when" or "how" he or she would like to proceed.
     
  • Never place in a letter, "Please call if you'd like more information." Instead, say, "I'll call you on Friday, March 3, at 11 am with more information."
     
  • The purpose of a business card is to provide readily accessible contact information, not to advertise your services or provide your philosophy.
     
  • When people reach your voice mail they then KNOW that you're not there, ASSUME that their call is important, and REALIZE that they should leave a message when indicated. Don't waste time telling them the obvious. Sign of an amateur: A voice mail response that tells people what you're doing that day or provides historical quotes.
     
  • When you call a client on a cell phone apologize, especially if there is ambient noise, and point out that it was the quickest way to get back to them and you didn't want to delay your response.
     
  • A handwritten envelope and a stamp will almost always result in a better response than a typed envelope and postage meter. Worst alternative: an address label and less than first class postage.
     
  • Business letters usually use colons, not commas, after the salutation, and use a title and last name, not a first name ("Dear Ms. Jones:" not "Dear Mary,") unless you have a prior appropriate relationship. This is even more important with countries outside of the U.S.
     
  • Never hit "reply all" on an email unless you are positive everyone on the copy you received is supposed to see your personal reply to the sender.
     
  • If you want to get through quickly, tell the person who answers the phone, "Hello, this is Alan Weiss, and John asked me to return his call as quickly as possible."
     
  • When you're following up with a prospect and the assistant says, "What is this regarding?" reply with, "It's a personal matter between Ms. Smith and me based on prior communications." (In other words, it's none of your business.)
 
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