Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Google Voice, How I love thee, let me count the ways

  1. It's free (I started here because you are very cheap and will read the rest of this with more interest).
  2. All my text messages are on my phone, my iPad and my computer.  And they are free so no need for a text message plan.
  3. All voice mails are transcribed to text so I can read my voice mails.
  4. When I get a phone call to my Google voice #, it can ring any phone.
  5. I can block unwanted callers (Which is why I never take your calls Dana Zezzo...)
  6. I can call internationally from my cell phone for very low rates.
  7. Google voice blocks known spam calls from ever reaching me.
  8. I got a cool # by picking it from a list of #'s (My wife's # ends in 4KIM).

There are many other reasons I like this app, but those reasons alone are well worth using it for.  There are a few drawbacks with it, mainly with text messages not sending MMS messages but that's ok with me.  Also, the voice transcription is quite funny to read, but I still get the key points of the message without having to listen to it.

Also, some of the features work far better on Android than on an iPhone (for example on an iPhone it's more difficult to call out using your Google voice #).  So if you are an iPhone user, you will find a few things not so great about it, but still worth having.

This app really will change the way you make and receive calls and texts.  You can still have people call your old # and (if you are using android) you can decide when to make calls with Google voice and when to use your regular line (so that the proper caller ID shows up).

You can also have a Google CALL ME widget on your webpage so people can call you.  It's a neat option although risky.  But using the features, you can filter calls by group and even tell it not to ring you at certain times and your # stays private so once you remove it, people can't reach you anymore.

It's free and very useful. So even if you just get it to understand it, it's worth your time.  Even if you only use the Google voice # for giving it to service people or websites for screening purposes, it's extremely useful.  But I use it for all my calls.  As long as you have an @gmail.com account, it is very easy to get started.  Just visit http://bit.ly/L0BGIK to get started and be sure to drop me a comment below and share your thoughts. 

BONUS TIP:  If you really want to impress your clients you can set up individual voice mail greetings for people.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cold calling jerks

20 calls a week.  No lie.  Probably more that don't leave messages.  Tactics that include:

  • "Gene" told me to give you a call == I got Gene on the phone and he said he didn't make those decisions you did (or worse, they just know Gene's name).
  • I wanted to finish up our conversation last week = Your so busy you don't remember we didn't talk so I'll play the guilt card.
  • Unsolicited LinkedIn invitations followed up by an email to my personal email.
I know, cold calling is a part of the job.  And if you want to succeed, you've got to bang on some doors.  But unless you have something SO unique, I'm not going to have time for your call.  And if you do have something unique, I'll probably find it if I need it.

The worst cold caller is the one that acts like my friend.  I immediately get rude when you try this tactic with me. 

As someone who has been responsible for sales much of my career, I'm NOT advocating that you stop making cold calls completely.  Instead, just recognize more what is happening to your prospect.  They can't possibly get their job done.

Instead, warm up your cold calls.  If you really want to reach someone, find a connection FIRST.  I've had several people succeed in reaching me that I would have completely turned down had they cold call me.  How?  Through existing personal relationships (sometimes evidenced through LinkedIn), trade shows and even well placed advertising (online or direct mail usually but also magazine ads).

One of the easiest ways to warm up your cold call is to follow people on twitter.  First of all, following them usually alerts them to who you are.  Second, you can see what they are facing.  If you retweet their posts or reply to their posts, you get further exposure to them.  Once you have made a connection, you can try connecting on LinkedIn or perhaps an email to them further introducing yourself.

The best cold calls are warm and the people most likely to get my business usually earn it over time through a series of steps, not a cold call.