2 coffee cups

A “Coffee Chat” call is a strategy where you make yourself freely accessible to your target market in bite-sized segments of time, usually 15-20 minutes. You give your mailing list a phone number and let them know when you’ll be available.

Why You Should Offer One-On-One Phone Calls with Customers

“Coffee Chats” are great because callers can chat with you for a few minutes and pick your brain. If you don’t answer their call because you’re busy with someone else, they can leave a message that you can return later.

You can use this strategy to talk with potential customers, brainstorm new product ideas or remind your list you value their engagement. If you’re good with one-on-one communication, you can turn a high percentage of these calls into clients and even future friendships.

Offering “Coffee Chat” calls allows you to connect with your community and learn from them. You may hear them voice frustrations that give you ideas for a challenge you could create. You might also discover your community loves your calls and wants you to offer them consulting options.

During the “Coffee Chats” be sure to keep a pad and pen handy so you can take notes. Remember, the more you listen, the more you can create products and services that are right on target.

4 Types of “Coffee Chat” Calls

“Coffee Chat” calls give you the chance to talk with your audience and learn more about them. Sometimes you may want to choose a theme for your call so you get the information you really want. Here are four types of phone calls you can use:

#1: Ask Me a Question

This is the most basic reason to offer “Coffee Chat” calls.  It’s a great way to wade into your market and get to know their needs. It fosters good will and it will likely lead to referrals for you.

It also gives plenty of content ideas.  As you field their questions and hear about their problems, you’ll find yourself thinking up ways to respond to them.

#2: Tell Me How I’m Doing

If you want to hear honest critiques from yoursubscribers and customers, ask them! Try emailing your email list the following email:

I want you to call me and give me your best critique/advice. Positive, negative and everything in between. I promise to be wearing my big girl panties and to take everything in with an open mind. Do it and I’ll give you a one time 50% off coupon code good for ANYTHING on my website!

I’ve done several of these types of calls before and have receive awesome feedback and finished the day with a renewed commitment to sending regular marketing emails to her list. In addition, not one person complained that I mailed too much and 75% of them specifically mentioned enjoying my emails.”

#3: Introduce Yourself to Me or How Can We Work Together?

You may find that many of the people in your circle would like for you to know who they are.  They may not be a potential client, but they could be a valuable connection.

If you offer an “Coffee Chat” Call Day with a theme of simply getting to know the people in your circle better, you’ll give potential fans and followers a way to make contact.

You can call the day “Promote Yourself Coffee Chats” or something uniquely creative for your market. Your Coffee Chat offer could be worded something like this: 

I know I’m surrounded by greatness and I’d love the chance to connect with more of you.  Sign up for a spot on my “Promote Yourself Coffee Chats” calendar, I have a dozen 15-minute segments available next Friday and they’ll be taken up on a first come first served basis. (Make sure that you provide a link so that they can contact you).

Come to the call ready to tell me something about yourself and what you’re up to these days.  No pressure, no strings – just me getting to know you. 

This can help your subscribers reach out and share with you. Plus, you never know where those connections will lead.

#4: Get a Quickie Critique

Offering a no-strings review can open up a great conversation with potential clients.  Be sure to adapt your offer to your skill set. For example, a web designer can critique how well a website is performing on different devices or a social media manager can provide a brief review of your social strategy.

This type of critique may not immediately lead to paying work, but it can in the next few weeks or months. Maybe your clients have to get approval before they can hire a web designer. Maybe they loved your suggestions and know a friend who needs a website overhaul.

If none of these ideas grab you, think about your market and what you have to offer then get creative! You might come up with a topic or format that your community absolutely loves.

Tips and Tools for Your “Coffee Chat” Call Event

Offering an “Coffee Chat” call event is a simple way to connect with your community. You get to learn more about what your audience wants and your people get to learn more about you and the products or services you offer. Before you schedule that first “Coffee Chat” call event, keep these tips and tools in mind:

Be Intentional with Your Phone Number

You don’t want to offer your home phone or cell number. You’ll regret it if you do that. You should; instead, get an online phone number. You can use a service like Google Voice (free) or Skype Online Number (paid).

Of course, you can simply use Skype calls for free without a phone number. But this does require both you and your caller have Skype accounts and have Skype software installed on your computer or smart device.

Web Conference Options

Another simple solution is to set up your virtual office in a web conference room and send callers the link to join you there. If sharing screens or demonstrating simple tasks would be a useful part of your calls, this can be a handy format.

You can join a site like Zoom (free for 1-on-1 meetings) or Google Hangouts (up to 10 participants at once). Both sites offer free services but have some paid options that might be helpful depending on your individual needs.

Scheduling Calls

A convenient way of offering “coffee chats” via preselected segments of time through a scheduling app, such as Time Trade.  This lets your community members book a time and give you their phone number so you can call them.

Or if you enjoy the spontaneous fun of a “Coffee Chat” call event, you can simply wait for calls to come in. This setup may work for you depending on your market. Some subscribers may prefer to chat with you at a specific time. All you can do is experiment and see what your audience responds to.

Set a Timer

To avoid getting sidetracked, set a timer at the beginning of each call and tell your caller about it. You can say something simple like, “I’m setting a timer to give us a two-minute warning before our time is up.” By informing your caller of the set time limit they will work to be more succinct.

Don’t Forget to Take Notes

When you’re dealing with back-to-back calls, it’s easy to forget things. You can take notes or if you prefer, record your sessions. You can record calls with a program like Pamela for Skype or Snagit from TechSmith.

 “Coffee Chat” call gives your community the chance to share what’s on their mind with you. When someone reaches out over the phone, it’s a sign they’re interested in what you do. They value your services or products, so be sure to treat each caller with kindness and respect.

Get ideas on how to promote your “Coffee Chat” call session when you download your free workbook.

How to Promote Your “Coffee Chat” call Session

Once you’ve decided to offer “Coffee Chat” calls, it’s time to market it to the public. Here are some ways to help you keep it all organized so you can enjoy a stress-free call marathon:

Set Your Date

Some business owners throw their phone lines open with just 24 hours of advanced notice. Others prefer to give their community a longer notice. If that’s the case, you may want to aim for 10-14 days in advance. You don’t want to give people longer than a two week notice because you want to keep the momentum and excitement behind this event strong.

For your first phone session, don’t plan to tackle calls all day. Start with a more manageable time block like 4 hours. This will allow you to chat with up to 16 people in 15-minute segments. 

Tell Your People

As soon as you choose a date, it’s time to email your subscribers. Let them know about your call and what the theme is. For your first call, it might be best to keep it general and let your audience ask whatever questions they have.

You’ll also want to share what your policy is if someone calls and gets a busy signal. Explain to your community that they can leave a message with their contact info and you will get back to them as soon as you’re done with your current conversation.

Make It an Event

If you’re planning a “Coffee Chat” session in advance, then you can turn it into an event. Use Facebook to create an event. Make sure you create the event through your Facebook fan page and not your personal profile. When you use your page, it’s easier to expose people to your business.

Once you have an event created, reach out and invite friends and followers who are in your niche. You may also want to invite people who are interested in starting a business but haven’t taken the leap yet.

Spread It Around

Now that you have an official event page, blog about this upcoming adventure! Let your people know what an open phone session is and how they can participate with you. Be sure to add an attention-catching graphic and publish your post, then begin sharing the link on social media. You may want to mention it on Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. If you want, you could create a short video about your upcoming session through Facebook Live. After your video is online, download it and put it on YouTube for even more visibility.

“Coffee Chat” events can be fun and enjoyable! But they can also be draining, especially if you’re an introvert. That’s why it’s smart to plan a little bit of downtime after all of your calls. This will help you come back refreshed and ready to get back to work.

Open phone events can be fun and enjoyable! But they can also be draining, especially if you’re an introvert. That’s why it’s smart to plan a little bit of downtime after all of your calls. This will help you come back refreshed and ready to get back to work.

How to Convert Callers into Clients

Some sidepreneurs and business owners use “Coffee Chat” call as a strategy for finding new clients. You can hold an “Coffee Chat” call session and use it to discover new clients, too. For best results, follow these tips and tricks:

Use Forms to Prequalify Callers

If you want to be sure the people you spend time with your potential clients or partners, then a form should be the first step toward claiming a spot on your schedule.

Create a form and publish it on your website then point potential callers there. Use your form to ask questions that tell you if a caller will be a good fit for you and your business. You might want to ask questions like these:

  • How did you find me?
  • What do you like about me?
  • What one problem are you hoping I can help you with?

After they’ve completed the form and you’ve determined they’re someone you’d welcome a chat with, send them a link to book a time.

Collect Contact Information

Make sure that you to collect the mailing address and social links in your form so you can connect with callers again. For example, after an introductory call, you may want to follow up by sending your potential client a postcard. You can make your own post cards by using a site like Vista Print or your local Staples store.

What to Do During the Call

If you have used a form, you’re well equipped to dig into their issue.  Or if you’ve just answered the phone, invite the caller to introduce themselves and tell you why they decided to call.

Sometimes, you get to chatting with a potential client and you know there’s a connection. You’re excited about working together and it just feels like you click. If that happens, make an offer! You could say something like this:

Sometimes, you will get to chatting with a potential client and you will feel a connection. It’s an awesome feeling because you’re excited about working together and it just feels like you click. If that happens, make an offer! You could say something like this:

  • “I believe I can help you with _”
  • “Later today I can send you a quick email with some options to consider. Does that sound good?”
  • “I’ll write up a proposal with some more details for you to consider if you’d like.”

If you don’t feel a spark, there’s no pressure. Skip the offer and simply thank them for spending some time with you.

Don’t Panic

When you offer open phones, you’ll eventually come across someone you cannot help. They may not be your target market or they may be involved in a niche that you’re not familiar with.

Whatever the problem is, be quick to admit to it. If possible, offer a referral to someone else who might know how to support the caller. If you don’t even have that, try saying something like this: “I wish I could be more helpful to you but I’ve got to admit this is outside my experience.”

Give “Coffee Chat” sessions a try. It’s a great idea if you’re hungry for new clients, consider offering once per month. After you’ve experienced open phones for yourself, you’re sure to think of some creative uses that serve you and your clients well down the road!

Learn how to offer “Coffee Chat” Calls when you download your free workbook today.

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