You Had Me At Hello: Phone Skills to Keep Them Coming Back

By Rita Rocker

Ever heard a cranky, indiferent voice on the other end of the line? Whoa! “Excuse me for calling! I was seeking a new service provider but it looks like you are not it!” How many times does that happen? Relationships and business are lost every day due to poor phone manners, because the receiver of the call may be tired, frustrated, too busy, or just plain doesn’t care at the moment. There is power in the phone! Lots of it! We will be exploring phone skills in the new few posts.

Exceptional phone skills impact business success more than we can ever imagine! An important part of building good business relationships is giving the impression of being a confident professional that clients and co-workers will be eager to have on their team. It is being totally engaged in the conversation so the caller can tell you are paying attention to him and him only! It is showing her that you are enthusiastic and so glad she called. Is that easy? Certainly not all of the time, particularly when juggling numerous tasks simultaneously and while having been chastised by the last five callers. Nevertheless, when that phone rings, the caller needs to feel like he or she is the most important part of your day!

Consider the following telephone techniques to help market yourself for greater success:

How you (or your company representatives) sound when answering the phone can influence whether the caller chooses to do business with you or not, as poor telephone conduct can sever professional (and personal) relationships. Callers don’t see what is going on at the other end of the phone. How many times have we spoken to someone and heard them typing, which is very unprofessional and offensive. It gives the impression that we are not worthy of their time and attention. Always terminate live conversations before answering a call, take a deep breath, and put a smile on your face (even if you have to pull it up there)! If you are tired or not focused, stand up to get the blood flowing and to project a more enthusiastic and interesting voice.

The sound of the human voice makes an impression every time you speak. Your voice reflects how you are doing and how you (or your staff) feel about your business and theirs. Exude a positive, energetic attitude. Follow cues from the other person. If they are all business and no-nonsense, you should be too. That means sounding professional and interested, not unfriendly or rushed. How a person “feels” during a call can greatly impact whether they actually initiate business, or whether they are prompted to find someone else who will make them feel that they are an important, valued customer.

Ending your conversation: Provide a conclusive statement: “I’ll get the final figures to you by Friday,” or “I agree that we need more research before making a final decision.” End the call on a positive note such as, “It was nice talking with you,” or “I’m glad we were able to clear up this matter and move forward. Let’s meet next week to review our next steps.”

For more information on a seminars or personal coaching, contact Rita Rocker, National Speaker, Communications, Image and Presentations Coach, Transformation Academy, 402-968-3250, www.transformationacademy.


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