When you are new to IM, the field can seem very intimidating, especially if you don't have any knowledge of the field. As you browse through information in articles and online discussion boards, you'll discover all kinds of lists featuring "how you too can be the next big thing!" The items on these lists probably all seem conflicting. One list will say that becoming an IM success is all about being patient. Another will say that you must be very smart about business if you wish to be the next big thing. Nevertheless, others will tell you that creativity is the ingredient to wild and fabulous success. And, as can be expected, there are going to be oodles of sales pages claiming they have the software program or course to teach you how to be the next big thing.
Know this fact: The rest of these things are crucial (not so much the software, but the others). Business smarts, creativity and patience are all very important to your success. Nonetheless, none of those things are going to matter if you cannot clearly communicate all of them to the people you want to purchase from you.
Good communication involves more than merely setting up a convincing sales page. You can hire a highly skilled copywriter to create that for you. Good communication is more than having a beautiful web site with a really long FAQ section. You can have a pretty site with an extensive FAQ section by hiring seasoned designers and writers. Being a good communicator requires learning to handle interpersonal communication as well as your copy and site. And how can you take care of that?
1. Answer each email you receive within 24 hours of it hitting your inbox. This is no jest. Your response doesn't have to be lengthy. All you have to do is write a quick note that says something like "I received your e-mail and will be sending you a detailed response shortly." When you do this, try including a reference to the sender's e-mail. This helps the the other person to distinguish your email from the auto responders that everybody else uses.
2. Answer your phone. Being a call screener is lame. You should always try to answer the phone by the third ring. Do this even if you seriously have no wish to talk to the person making the call. There's great news about this rule. You don't need to answer your phone 24 hours a day. Instead, set clear business hours during which you can talk on the phone. Let your business hours known on your site and include them in your voice mail message. And, above all else, always return your calls.
3. Follow up with people to be sure that they got your memos, emails, letters, etc. This demonstrates to them that you value your communication with them. You'll endear yourself more with the people you work with and who buy from if you ask them if they have any questions and double check to make sure that they understood the points you were trying to make.
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