Why the Warm Chat Works
Posted on: April 24, 2018 | Doula Business
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a line at the store or the bank? All the time, right?
There you are, standing, waiting and someone remarks about the length of the line. Then someone else says shares about what they’d rather be doing? Then, you add that you’ve got an important appointment to get to. Suddenly you and a couple of strangers are talking pleasantly to pass the time. You ask your companions “Oh, what do you do?” One asks you in turn and you share, “I’m a doula! Do you know what that is?”
This is what a Warm Chat looks like and it’s one of the best, low pressure tools for educating your community about what you do.
A warm chat is a sales technique where one person talks to people they have a connection to about the services they offer.
Warm chatting has a bad reputation among many people who feel that this sales technique is a bit like ambulance chasing. There is an idea that doulas who use this technique are out in the world walking up to pregnant strangers like missionaries sharing the good word about doulas. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Done right, the warm chat is like any happy conversation. Whether it’s with the barista at a neighbourhood coffee shop or a couple of people at the park watching their kids play, a warm chat should feel effortless.
This powerful tool works for a number of reasons.
First, it’s not threatening. You aren’t trying to impose an agenda on anyone. You’re not trying to influence anyone’s behaviour. You’re just having a chat.
Second, it’s not about sales. The goal is not to finish the conversation and gain a new client – though once in a while that actually happens. The goal is for the participants in the conversation to remember you and what you do.
Third, and this is the clincher, the participants have made a genuine connection with you. And, when people feel they’ve made a genuine connection with another person, no matter how brief, it brightens their mood and uplifts their entire day.
One day, after many, many warm chats, there will be tens or even hundreds of people out in the world who all remember you as the doula who they passed the time with one day. And people talk to each other. They love to share about topics they know a little bit about. So, when a family member or friend is pregnant or has just had a baby, those people will excitedly share about what doulas are and they may even recommend you.
In order for those things to happen, however, let’s lay a few ground rules down.
The main rule is to always be sincere.
If you don’t want to talk to people, don’t talk to them. People can sense when you aren’t being real with them. But, when you are talking to people be genuine. Think of it like you’ve invited them to a party and it’s your job to make sure they feel that you really want them to have a good time.
If you think you aren’t so skilled at playing the hostess with the most-est use a little magic they call “fake it till you make it”. I don’t mean you should be fake. I mean you should act, like an actor, as if you are better at being a great conversationalist than you believe yourself to be.
Ask lots of questions. People love to talk about themselves and since you are trying to get to know them, this is perfect. When we ask other people to tell us about themselves they feel important and cared for; just how we want our clients to feel. People who get asked to share about themselves will almost always return the favor out of both kindness and politeness.
Not sure what questions to ask?
Go ahead and write a bunch of questions down on a little card. Read it over a couple of times and then put it away. When you start to chat with someone those questions will bubble up in your mind and you’ll be able to keep the conversation flowing with ease.
- “What do you do for work?”
- “Where did you get that gorgeous scarf?”
- “How long have you known each other?”
Simple questions are fine. It’s just about starting the conversation.
Finally, before your conversation ends, offer the other person your business card. Pull out your phone and connect on social media! Invite them to get in touch if they are ever looking for a doula, or maybe know someone who might need what you offer.
The Warm Chat need not be awkward and is by no means predatory.
It’s just a nice chat with another person in which you happen to talk about what you do as a doula, among any number of other things.
And, it works!
Leanne Palmerston, Owner, Hamilton Family Doulas