By Patrick Venturella

Your blog posts get over 10,000 hits, you’re generating leads from social media and the leads generated from your guest posts are filling up your inbox. Your small business is on it’s way to becoming a big business. But now you have to convert those leads and service your clients.

If you’re not prepared to answer and return calls you will lose out on business. In this article we’ll look at five ways to prepare yourself to handle the customers who call.

1. Prepare a professional presence
If you answer the phone too casually, people won’t take you seriously. Conversely, big call centers are too impersonal. No one wants to deal with a faceless organization. Fortunately, there’s lots of ways to strike the perfect balance.

2. Know what to say
Each call is not a unique occurrence and nothing says “I have no idea what I’m doing” more than a fumbled phone call. If you advertise a free consultation, know how to give one. If someone calls asking for more information, know your selling points.

3. Plan on having less time
Answering the phone comes at a price. Your time. As a small business owner you need to be prepared to juggle the work that makes you money and the work that can make you more money. This might mean longer hours, hired help or a third party to take calls on your behalf. Whatever you choose, you can’t sacrifice the quality of your work due to an increase of phone traffic.

4. Stay organized and track everything  
Organization is the difference between converting a lead and losing a lead. Tracking everything allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Fortunately it’s not the 1950’s and there is CRM software to help you track and organize your leads.

5. 9 to 5 may not cut it
The internet is a 24 hour marketplace. You need to be prepared to handle inquiries after hours. Forwarding your calls to your cell phone is effective or, if you don’t want calls at 3:00 AM, consider hiring an after-hours phone service.

Between social media, content marketing, e-mail inquiries and telephone calls, small businesses have a lot of balls to juggle. Make sure you don’t neglect any of them and have a plan to deal with them as your business grows.   

Patrick Venturella writes for US based call center Continental Message Solution