How To Use Your Telephone

You may ask yourself: Why need a guide for such an old thing like the telephone? Well, in the age of e-mails, SMS and messaging services, hardly anyone thinks about the do’s and dont’s oft the good old telephone anymore. However, almost everybody is still dependent on it: Hardly any business transaction without telephone conversations. Everyone needs the telephone. Not only every salesperson, lawyer or self-employed person, but everyone who works at customer care or has to lead employees. So why not give some thought to “how do we make phone calls right?”

Written by Jens Kügler

It’s ringing. I pick up. “Hello, you are speaking to the marketing agency Mueller and Partner, my name is Jens Kügler. What can I do for you?”. That’s what it sounded like: the phrase that we employees didn’t just have to learn by heart, but had to repeat every time the phone rang. Word by word. Our boss forced us to do so! You can imagine how annoyed regular callers were and interrupted us already with the third word with “yes yes … this is Mike … “.

Long phrases are no longer in demand, as the entrepeneurs’ magazine recently wrote. The callers want to speak immediately and tell their concerns. Our attention belongs to them! What else did the authors write? All a matter of course, actually. Nothing new, but worth to go into it again.

Smile on the phone—that’s important. When telephone marketing and call centres came up in the 1980s, employees looked into a mirror when they were on the phone. A smile automatically improves the mood and encourages a more positive choice of words. The conversation partner notices this even without video and webcam!

Speaking of attention: Active listening is the magic formula. The conversation partner does not want to be interrupted. He wants to know that his message is getting through. Therefore it is helpful to take notes about his most important statements and to repeat them in the conversation. This does not only reveal attention. It helps to prevent the most important things from being forgotten. And it shows that you are interested.

Do you have to cope with bad news? A statement like “Sorry, I can’t give you the order this time” or “I can’t approve your holiday application”? Sure: The result can be frustration or sadness. Rarely, however, this is the intention of the caller. On the contrary: Often he himself is in a stressful situation and only the bearer of the bad news. Here communication professionals recommend: “Redirect” feelings. Simply clench a fist, noiselessly hit the pillow, crumple a piece of paper … and open a frustration valve. This way you can regain control more quickly and continue to speak in a normal tone of voice.

Last but not least: As an active caller you have advantages if you plan your conversation instead of conducting it spontaneously. Determine what your goal is: to conclude a business deal? Get to important information? Take your time, create a conversation guide right the way that call center agents use it—with statements on customer benefits and objections! If you want to sell something: Ask the called person questions, which he can only answer with “yes” like “You surely know the problem that your PC crashes when you have to transfer large amounts of data?”.

Sounds like a worn-out telemarketing strategy? That’s right. The aggressive cold acquisitions with mass calls should be a thing of the past. It annoys the customers. And, according to current data protection guidelines, it can only be used to a limited extent. But in situations where you, as a salesperson, have concrete discussions with interested parties, these guidelines are still very helpful!

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