Whether you’re a balloon twister, a face painter, or a kids magician, speaking with prospective clients on the phone is an art that you need to master. Why? Because it can increase your bookings by a staggering 50 percent. If done right, of course. And here, we tell you exactly how to do that.
The Three Kinds of Calls
Before we jump into what’s the best way to talk to prospective bookers on the phone, let’s take a look at what we’re dealing with first. Now you might not have thought much about it, but there are actually three kinds of calls that you make and receive. These are:
- The Incoming Call. This is the parent or event organizer phoning you directly to inquire about your services.
- The Outgoing Call. This is you ringing a prospective client in response to an inquiry he or she sent via website form or e-mail.
- The Call You Can’t Take. This is the call that you either simply can’t answer or would be wiser not to answer because you’re outside, you’re occupied at the moment, or you’re in a place that’s not conducive for business conversation.
Knowing how to handle each one right will go a long way into improving your success in earning more clients, so let’s discuss each of them.
The Incoming Call: What to Say When a Client Rings You
1. Immediately state who you are and let the caller know they’re in the right place. As soon as you answer the phone, say your name and the name of your business. It not only makes you sound professional; it also assures your callers even before they speak that they’re in the right place. They won’t have to ask awkward questions—“I’m looking for the one called Zappo the Magician. Is this him?” or “Is this the clown?”—just to know if they’ve dialed the correct number.
2. Before answering “How much do you charge?” assess the caller’s needs first. Most callers phone with one purpose in mind—knowing how much your services cost. But before you can give them the right figure, you have to be able to do two things: 1) you have to get certain tidbits of information from them first, and 2) you have to pitch your services in such a way that by the time you’re ready to tell them your price, they’ll be thinking not in terms of numbers but in terms of emotions.
Let’s go to the first one. The second one we’ll cover in a while.
For you to be able to give the correct quote, you have to know certain particulars about the event first, like what kind of an event it is and when it is going to be. So in response to “How much do you charge?” you can use this script:
Now here’s something important: share your callers’ excitement. Don’t just ask the questions one by one. You can say something like, “Oh, you’re planning a birthday party. That’s so exciting. Tell me all about it.” And while they’re talking about the event, you can interject these questions (if they haven’t told you the answers to them already) and jot down the answers in a notepad: So where are you having the party? Is it at home or is it in a hall? What date is it on? How many kids are invited? Who is the party for? What’s his or her name?
3. Confirm if you can help the caller or not. Once you know what the caller needs, you’ll be able to tell him or her one of two things:
- No, I’m afraid that’s not what I do. I’m not the right person for the job.
- Yes, that’s what I do. What you’re looking for is exactly what I offer. We’re a potentially good match.
Don’t be afraid to turn people down. It’s important to tell them straight away whether you can help them or not rather than force yourself to commit to something you know you don’t cater to. Being upfront about it will allow them to find someone better suited to the job, and it will also free you to help the customers that are right for you.
4. Present your services as the solution to the caller’s needs. Once you’ve established that you’re the right entertainer for the customer, you can now sell your services. To do so effectively, follow these tips:
- Empathize. Identify the callers’ problem and more importantly, identify with them. For example, you can say something like, “Isn’t it just the most frightful, daunting thing to keep 30 5-year-olds busy for two hours?”
Acknowledging the problem will achieve two things: 1) it will make the caller feel that you understand them, making them like or trust you more, and 2) it will highlight the caller’s pain point and you therefore have a springboard you can use to sell your services.
- Educate the customers about what you do while painting a picture in their minds of what it would look like if they book you. This is the most important part of the phone call, as this is where you can help your callers make up their minds and say, “You know what, we’d love to get you for our kid’s party.”
At this point in the conversation, describe your services in detail—you can choose to outline what you do in your program and highlight the benefits the callers will get by hiring you. For example, if with your string of party games, dancing, and magic tricks, the customers will be saved from dealing with a crowd of five-year-olds that can get unruly really quick, stress that to them. As mentioned before, address their pain points and show how you can take care of these for them.
To make things easier for you, we are providing you with a script especially provided by professional kids entertainer Colette Kelly which you can personalize and tweak to suit your needs.
If you study the script, you’ll see how Colette leads callers to imagine what the party would be like not just for them, the parents, but more importantly for the birthday child. She makes it a point to call the child by name and put the child in the picture. Hence, the parents on the other line “see” the experience their child will be getting if they choose to hire you, and this puts them in a place where they will focus more on what they and their child will be feeling and less on what you’re charging.
5. State your price. Finally, after talking about what you can do for them and making them see what kind of experience you offer to give them and their child, you can now give them the answer they called for.
Say what are the things included in the price—a present for the birthday child, prizes for the games, and giveaways for each child in the audience.
6. Close. Now that you’ve covered what your callers want to know and what you want them to know, ask if they have further questions. If there are none, say what happens next. If you got their e-mail, you can tell them something like this:
Thank your callers for their time and say goodbye.
The Outgoing Call: What to Say When Phoning a Booker
1. Identify yourself immediately and use the child’s name. Unsolicited calls irritate almost anyone, so to prevent your prospective clients from thinking you’re just another cold caller, state who you are and your business as soon as your call’s connected.
You can simply say, “Hello. I’m ___ from ___. I’m phoning about ___ party.” Again, make it a point to use the child’s name. It makes your prospective client know that you cared enough to remember his or her child.
2. Ask, “Do you have a moment to talk?” This is being respectful. The client may be in the middle of something or they might be in a place where they can’t talk to you without distraction.
If the clients say they can’t talk right now, you can just tell them that you’re going to send an e-mail with all the information they need.
If they can take the call, just follow steps 2 to 6 of how to take an incoming call.
3. If you reach the prospective client’s voice mail, leave a message stating what you’re going to do. You can say something similar to the text below.
Remember to speak slowly and clearly when leaving your number.
The Call You Can’t Take: What Message to Leave for Prospective Clients
Having a good answering machine message will come in handy during those times when you’re out driving or doing a show or you’re simply in a setting or situation when it’s best not to take a call.
When making an answering machine message, make sure to provide some reasons why you’re unavailable at the moment and what you want the caller to do in the meantime—leave their name and number or go to your website and fill out the inquiry form.
Look at the message below and see if you can create or use something like it.
Speaking with clients on the phone is a great opportunity to build rapport with them. A phone call is usually your first verbal communication with prospective clients, so take the time to plan what you’re going to say. Direct the flow of the conversation to your advantage instead of letting the call just take its course. Sound professional and friendly, share your callers’ apprehension or excitement, and follow the tips listed above and you’ll see your bookings reach a new high.