For a great many companies out there, an important element of business success is rooted in the outcome of a series of phone calls. Whether you are planning to call out or you are the one being called, the ability to do this can shape the future of your business. There is very little about this subject that is either “right” or “wrong”. When you learned to walk, no one stood over you ensuring that you did it a certain way. No, you eventually walked and it may have been on your toes or completely crooked, but you did it. There are people who succeed in telemarketing using strategies that may surprise you and conversely, people have failed utilizing an approach that looked like it was a sure thing. Because there is no correct or incorrect way to market via telephone, I want to mention the basic concepts around the subject and bring them to the light.
The phone can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you have a reception area or a front desk employee destined to be the “first line of defense” to the public, they can decide whether or not someone considers doing business with you. Some of this will come down to comfort level. You may be surprised to learn this, but a lot of determining how well a call goes will have less to do with the topic of discussion and much, much more to do with the tonalities and inflections of one’s voice.
Let’s say someone has a question about your company and they’ve previously decided they will only buy from you with a specific answer to a specific question. You can give them the exact answer they were looking for, but if you’re half asleep or deliver it in a way that doesn’t seem like you actually know for sure, the caller can become thrown off and reconsider who they work with. That same person can make the same call to someone else and be given an answer they were not looking for. However, due to the enthusiasm of the employee on the other end of the phone and their wealth of knowledge on the subject, he or she can cause that caller to completely reevaluate how they feel about the product. Have you ever enjoyed a song before you really payed attention to the words? The vast majority of the public does. This is a very similar concept; what sounds good tends to feel good and what feels good will help generate the confidence to buy. This is why it can be really effective to have customer service agents have a list of answers to frequently asked questions; Having the answer printed will afford you the chance to speak with unshakeable confidence before you necessarily have the information memorized. Less energy has to be spent on finding the answer, and more can be used to focus on how their voice sounds and allowing the information to flow out in a natural way.
Remember to have an actual conversation and not a speech with whom you speak with. The last thing anyone wants is to be talked at as though they are an object. You can try to loosen them up with small talk which seems to work for some. You can then ask probing questions that tell you the best path to fueling their interest. The point of this is to get them engaged in the call and show you a few things about what they are looking for, what they value, what their personality is like, what failure or success with your product or service looks like through their eyes. If you can take the time to have a longer, in-depth, personalized interaction with someone over the phone it can be highly effective. A personal touch is something you don’t get to have with internet sales and it does present an opportunity. You can find loyalty in customers through human interaction due to this fact alone.
With outbound tele-sales it is more complicated and more of a process. A salesforce will get on the phone and call people to learn about them, win them over, try to find out about what they value and sell them. The practice does lend itself to negative stereotypes, but certain industries are structured so that this process makes sense. In terms of what is talked about on these phone calls, there aren’t really any rules. Sure, there will be a basic outline of things you would want to work into your presentation in terms of information and legality. Aside from this, any sales floor will be buzzing with conversation ranging from people talking about their families and past experiences, to what kinds of golf club grips they prefer, where to consider going on vacation and in general non-work related subjects geared toward humanizing the salesperson and keeping everything conversational, lightening the mood before closing a deal.
These two pieces of advice are likely the only universal standards to having a quality phone interaction in business. Everything else is up for debate depending on products, industry, and branding. I highlight them though, because they are extremely complicated to understand and often elusive to master. It’s incredibly important to focus on your tone. “Wrong” tone will send the wrong message regardless of whether or not you said all the “right” words. Focus on being upbeat, positive, intelligible, engaged, and as clear as the sun shining in the sky. Speak intentionally, with accountability, commitment. Whether all the information you need has to be memorized to do this, or you need it all written in front of you, remember all the unspoken things you say with your tone by itself. Once you can do this, engage in conversation with whom you seek to communicate. Have an actual back and forth dialogue. These two elements by themselves are probably two thirds of what you’ll need to make a successful business call.
*To learn more ways to increase sales and gain the success your business needs contact Purple Diamond at 978-927-0626 or email Marketing Coach Charlene St. Jean at Charlene@purplediamondmarketing.com .
Written by Guest Blogger – Ken Pellegrino. Ken Pellegrino is a freelance writer and part-time marketer at Purple Diamond LLC with a background in business management, marketing, sales and customer relations. A graduate from Salem State University’s Bertolon School of Business with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing, Ken shares his passion for marketing and sales with the owner of Purple Diamond, his mother, Charlene St Jean. In addition to his love of marketing, Ken is also a talented guitarist who enjoys both writing and playing music.