Monday, January 09, 2006

The Phone Stopped Ringing!

On occasion an expert will contact us in a panic because, seemingly inexplicably, the phone has suddenly stopped ringing and no work is coming in the door.

While we advise our clients on strategies to prevent this 'feast or famine' cycle, the expert making a call like this needs help NOW.

Rosalie recently assisted one such caller with this recommendation:

During the famine, start every morning by calling five people -- former clients, prospective clients such as those who called you and didn't use you, associates (but don't hang crepe together), former employers/employees/co-workers (just to outflow communication, which always creates inflow of some kind). Shoot the breeze, ask what's happening, act positive (don't sing the blues), and say to clients and prospects that you are finishing up several jobs and have time to take on some more in the next month, so are checking to see if they have something coming up.

The unspoken premise is that you are normally so busy that new work might have to wait, but (Hey, they lucked out!) at the moment you are able to schedule new work right in. "That will probably not be the case come March, but for right now, my schedule is more flexible."

If you are questioned by a secretary or gatekeeper, "And what is this regarding?" answer along these lines, "I worked with John on a case last year and I'm touching base." Light and easy. Don't take offense at the question -- she needs to know whether the call is urgent or, as in this case, general communication that can wait until after important things like court dates, etc. Be friendly and warm. Many people give her a bad time, so by your warmth, etc., you can make her your ally.

Contact five people every morning (and make some of them phone calls, don't just rely on email!) and I guarantee if you do this every day for one or weeks when things are slow, you will see results.

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