Whether it is you who schedules your appointments with your prospects or an assistant of yours who makes the calls, it is important you know how to be effective on the phone. Who is better to teach your assistant how to be an effective phone communicator than you? After all, if you have a level of customer service you want to uphold, a type of experience you want your prospects to have when communicating with your company, or a conversion ratio you will use as a measurement of success, then it’s a good idea to be able to set the example.
Keys to success while phoning your prospects
Always share your golden points
There are things that make you unique or different than your competitors, and those are your golden points. Make sure you are mentioning them to your prospects. If your sales call is quicker than most, share that. If your appointment will be personalized and fun, it’s good to let them know. If your prospect was referred to you, it’s important to explain that. If there is a benefit to seeing you regardless of whether or not they decide to invest in your product or service, communicate that. When I was a college student with a direct sales position, I let my prospects know that I was a student and that just by seeing me and giving me their feedback would help me, since I still had a lot of room for growth. For two semesters, I received internship credit for my direct sales work, and I made sure every prospect knew it. When explaining that I received credit just to do the work, regardless of sales, my conversion of prospect to appointment was over 95%.
Use your voice effectively
Smile and dial. When I was taught to smile while on the phone, because my prospect would be able to tell, I thought that sounded silly. How could they tell? Then a good friend of mine got a tongue piercing. For a few days, every time she laughed, she’d beg while she chuckled, “Don’t make me laugh, it hurts my tongue.” I realized, if smiling affected the muscles in the tongue – one of the main tools used in speech – it probably does make a difference in the sound over the phone. In any case, it can’t hurt to smile while on the phone, so you may as well do it.
Use inflection and make it conversational. Basically, you want to sound like a normal person having a conversation with a friend. One of the reasons telemarketers are so easy to distinguish is because once they start talking, they don’t take normal pauses. We don’t speak that way when talking to a friend. So vary your tone when it makes sense to do so, and pause and let them speak too.
Watch your speed. You don’t want to speak so quickly that it is difficult for them to understand. Since you are on the phone, they can’t use body language cues to help them comprehend, so you’ll need to be clear. Enunciate your words and avoid mumbling. Match your prospect’s energy. If they speak a little quicker, try to match their speed. If they speak more slowly, rein your speed back a notch.
Build rapport and make them laugh.
If you can get them smiling and feeling comfortable with you, you are more likely to get the appointment. When it fits into the conversation, ask them questions about themselves. If the person who referred you told you they were moms of kids on the same soccer team, it’s as simple as saying, “Susan mentioned your kids play soccer together. How is their season going?” This question isn’t too personal but shows you have interest in them.
Handle any objections or questions with confidence.
If they are leaning toward not giving you the appointment and you do not try to handle their concern, you will not get the appointment. You’d be no better off than before the objection. If you try to handle the objection and they still say no, you are no worse off. You didn’t have the appointment anyway. If you try to handle their objection, the new information changes their mind and they set the appointment, you have just improved your situation. Therefore, you will never be worse off for handling an objection. You can only improve your situation or it will stay the same. You can’t lose.
Everyone is busy. We can all fill our days with very little effort in finding things to fill them with. Asking someone for an appointment is asking for some of one’s precious time. That means you need to win their priority over other things they could do. You do this by sharing how you are unique, the benefit of scheduling with you, building rapport, using your voice effectively and handling any of their concerns.