Recently I did a post on recording phone conversations, and then the different ways you can use that recording in your VA Business. After this, I had a couple of comments asking me to produce a post on how to WOW your clients through an IM consultation.
Now, an IM (instant message) consultation is basically the same as a phone consultation but on IM there is a difference – you type and you don’t talk. It’s that simple, and basically the most widely used application to conduct these consultations in is good-old Skype.
I personally prefer these to phone consultations for several reasons:
1) I don’t have a photographic memory, so if I am asked a question about something specific, I can do a quick sneaky look-up to find the answer.
2) I can think more about my responses, and provide answers which are more thoughtfully addressed than off-the-top-of-my-head phone responses.
3) I have kids – and to be frank, it’s a hassle if I have to organise a phone consultation around them, however I can do an IM consultation anytime, because the client can’t hear “Bob The Builder’s” dulcet tones in the background.
So how can you make a real impact on Skype, come across as professional, and build rapport over instant messaging?
1 – Introductions
When you initially start the chat, make sure you say something other than “Hi”. This is the time for you to take control of the situation and show that you can conduct an IM meeting professionally. Use something like…
“Hi [NAME], thanks so much for attending our consultation today. It’s great to meet you.”
Taking Control Of The Situation
I always prefer to initially structure the chat so we are both on the same page, to do this you need to prepare and deliver an agenda. Use something like…
“I appreciate you must be busy, so what I would like to do if it’s okay with you, is to make our time together as productive as possible, I have prepared a brief summary which will allow us to cover the essential ground, so you can gain a clear idea on how we can assist you at [YOUR COMPANY NAME HERE] with your requirements.”
2 – Share Your Summary
Once you have your chat summary in place, deliver this to the potential client and obtain their agreement that they are happy with how the chat will proceed. Use something like…
“A) Tell Me About Yourself
It would be excellent if you can first tell me more about yourself and your business, it’s important to me that I have a good understanding of this in order to assist you effectively.
B) How Can I Help You?
Next I would like to discover what you are looking to achieve from working with a Virtual Assistant, or if you are currently aware of them, the specific tasks you would like help with.
I will also be able to explain at this stage the services we offer which can provide a solution to your business needs.
Finally, I would like to give you the opportunity to ask me anything else that comes to mind from our conversation.
Is this okay with you? ” (add the smiley face, be human.)
3 – Closing The Consultation
Once you have posed the question, “Do you have any further questions?” and the PC (potential client) has come back with a “No”, then it’s time for the Grand Finale. You need to tell them what happens next. Use something like…
“Excellent, thank you so much, it was great chatting to you [ENTER THEIR NAME HERE].
Within the next 24 hours I will send you a summary of the chat to your email, and the further information you have requested which will support our chat today.
[ENTER THEIR NAME HERE], you are under no obligation to engage our services, however if I have not heard from you within 7 days, I will send out a courtesy email to ensure that you have received the information, and to see if you have any further questions. Would that be okay with you?
Thanks so much, and if there is anything else I can help you with, please do not hesitate to email me on [YOUR EMAIL HERE].
Enjoy the rest of your day! ” (add the smiley face, be human.)
4 – Act!
Copy and paste the Skype conversation onto a company branded document and convert into PDF, send this with any additional information the potential client needs including estimates, and then email them the information ASAP — no longer than 24 hours!
Schedule a follow up and you’re all set!