About the Author: Hi, my name is Jeff Wein. I am a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME) here at Incept. Over the last year that I have been with the company, I have proudly held the title of Top Lifesaver for four months. I was able to share one blog post back in January, and I just wanted to share a few tips of the trade from a standpoint of six more months down the road.
We all know when it comes down to phone calls, they can get monotonous. So we have to strive to break up the monotony. I try to make it not so repetitious by making each and every phone call a personalized experience for the donor to whom I’m talking. I do this through active listening, accompanied by good use of the tools provided. Really listen to what your donors are telling you, because doing so equips you with the ability to custom-tailor your responses to the specific situation. This will also reassure your contact that you are listening to them and care about what they have to say.
When I referenced “good use of tools” above, I mean using the donor profiles to their maximum potential. You can really learn a lot about your contact and their habits – like how often, what time, and where they like to go. Even with some of the campaigns that offer point-system programs, you can see if they’ve ever gotten anything from the online web store, which can be a conversational piece in itself. For example:
“Oh, I see you picked up a gift card to ___________. That’s great! Your current point balance is __________. You’re already on your way to your next reward and/or eligible for another!”
This is typically going to make the donor ecstatic. Again, if they haven’t heard about it, they probably are going to have a couple of questions for you, so arm yourself by getting familiar with the program (check your ‘F10′ screens for promos and program info). Familiarity will pay off.
Oftentimes, you may have donors thanking you as you’re getting off the phone. I’ll admit it, that’s a great feeling. If you run into a question you’re not familiar with or not sure of, don’t be afraid to refer them to a main number. They’ll be able to answer any questions they may have.
Another important factor is tenacity. Without it, we’re not really doing our job like we should be. But almost everyone is indecisive at some point. You almost always have to reason with a donor. I don’t think many people just like to say “yes” the first time. So it’s essential that you second-attempt your contact because just asking that second time may be enough to get them to throw a time and date out that may be able to work.
I always try to throw something out there for when my contact seems to be “on the fence,” so to speak. In this situation, I’ll just throw out a “it can really help out the center a great deal just if we could get you down for a time and day you think will work.” Then you have a good handle on what kind of staffing needs will be necessary for a given day. And, of course, it’s important to let potential donors know that CMEs can always give them a call back the night before just to ensure that the time and day will work out. I think you may just be surprised how persuasive that little line can be. I mean, think about it. Your donors are people who already like to help others, or they wouldn’t be donors.
There are different tips and tricks, and all of us could probably go on about for days. Nonetheless, I just wanted to share a few of them with the masses. If you have any questions on how to approach something in a call and think I could help, please just ask. You can also talk to your supervisor or coach; they’re always chockfull of great ideas.