What’s the Plan? Leading Your Next Conference Call

I have a client who hosts up to 25 conference calls with clients…per month! The challenge, besides the sheer volume, is that his clients usually have four people on the call and so does he. Adding to the complexity is that each conference call participant is in a different part of the world! I am currently coaching him on how to manage this so that he gets the results he wants. But leading a conference call is a skill that, unfortunately, so many fall short of doing well.

How Strong is Your Conference Call Leadership?

How good are you and your team at leading effective conference calls with clients? Pay attention to the next call where the team is presenting their recommendations/solutions. Is there a plan? Does everyone know it? Are each person’s roles clearly defined? Do they fully understand what you want?

Without a plan for something as important as a client conference call, you are leaving yourself, and your team, vulnerable to someone, probably your weak link, taking control of the call and leading things in the wrong direction.

How To Conduct an Effective Conference Call

Follow all or most of these conference call tips and I am sure your client calls will be more effective, your team will be more engaged with their client and you will see positive results.

  1. Choose your conference call moderator/facilitator: who owns the process both internally and externally? Let them champion it all the way.
  2. Establish you and your team’s expectations of the call, know every one of them throughout your team, then determine the most important three.
  3. Create the agenda you and your team will follow to craft the content of the call.
  4. Set participant roles and responsibilities and rehearsal times (yes, times, not just one but two or three)
  5. Pinpoint client questions and concerns; task teammates with determining solutions.
  6. Send out the final conference call agenda, and ask your client what additional items they want covered. Make the additional items a priority.
  7. At the start of the call, get verbal agreement on the agenda from each client stakeholder (know everyone’s name, use it and know what’s important to each)
  8. Restate the client’s collective goal and challenges as previously synthesized.
  9. During the call explain how your content “LINKS” to your client’s desires (use the word “LINK” or say “What this means for you and your business is…”)
  10. Build in discussion time after each person’s portion of the presentation to understand what your client is thinking/perceiving (it’s a great way to cheat on the test!).
  11. Recap the To-Do’s from the call at the conclusion of the discussion.
  12. Send out the set of next steps the same day (it shows your responsibility and urgency).

Follow these tips and you’ll be building a strong team that can communicate effectively by following a process you put in place, giving them confidence in you as their leader.  Let me know how it goes.

Checklist for New Clients

The Boy Scouts and I share a common, urgent message that we have been delivering for years: Be Prepared!

We live in a “need it now” culture. Too often, that means not doing the preparatory work needed before you talk with a potential client. “I just don’t have time” is what I hear most often. Which leads to the dreaded “I just went in there and had to wing it.” For your company, a lot of time, effort and resources went into getting you into that room. Winging it just won’t cut it!

If you’ve worked with me, you know that I stress “systematizing the process,” which is about as far from the above scenario as one can get. But I understand that you, like most everyone, are under time pressure to get everything done. So, let me help a bit. Below you will find a checklist. Use this BEFORE the next time you meet with a prospect.

And don’t cheat yourself…go through each point and check it off once you’ve completed it to your satisfaction. What I predict will happen is that you will enter the meeting more confident, with a better understanding of the client so you aren’t asking Client-101-type questions and can really get to their pain points far more quickly.

New Client Pre-Meeting Checklist

[frontend-checklist name=”New Client Checklist”]

[frontend-checklist name=”New Client Checklist” type=”pdf” title=”Giglio Co. New Client Checklist” linktext=”Download Your Checklist”]

Did it help? Let me know how. -SG

Have a Heart: The Responsibility of Consulting/Selling

A while back, I did some consulting with a major retailer in the men’s luxury garment area. My task was to assess their sales teams throughout the US and create a development plan to increase their sales.

One of the first steps I recommended was that I peform a “secret shopper” evaluation to understand their current selling environment. It didn’t take me long to notice something peculiar. The stores were regal and inviting with elegantly presented garments. The sales people were impeccably dressed with great posture. But there was one thing missing…HEART.

I couldn’t find any.

Be Welcoming

When I shared this observation with my client, he lamented that each store was designed to feel as though you were in a person’s living room.

“Funny,” I said,” because when anyone comes into my living room, I ask how their day was, how they’re feeling, what type of beverage they’d enjoy and where they plan on vacationing this year.”

Essentially the hosting role I play is the same role they needed to play and they weren’t.

Be a Good Host

An author client of mine summed it up perfectly; once you’ve invited someone into your home or gain their attention you have a obligation to “host” them for the time they devote to you. They are giving you their time and from this action you have a responsibility to make their time productive. You accomplish this by being a gracious host. Being interested, actually very interested/curious in them is the first key to professional consulting and selling.

When you are with a client pretend they’re in your living room for a Friday evening dinner party…

Let me know how it goes…