Let’s face it: no one likes making or taking phone calls. All of the technology available at our fingertips can make talking on the phone feel archaic, but the truth is phone calls are more important than ever: Nexogy says that “Telecommunications is still the lifeblood of business activity, and it’s critical that professionals learn to use their phone correctly for business.”
While you can hire a virtual receptionist to handle the ins and outs of your daily business calls, at some point, you’ll have to make and takes calls on your own. Here are three ways to wow on your next business call.
The best way to make sure a phone call is successful is to be prepared. Chron.com says that before starting a call, you should “place any script, call list or data before you and review the information.”
You don’t want to be caught off guard by any questions that might come up during the call, so run through the conversation in your mind beforehand to better anticipate any conflicts that might arise. Since you won’t be conversing in person, taking a moment to gather your thoughts comes off as an awkward silence rather than a thoughtful pause. Be prepared for questions to heavily lower that risk.
Another one of the best ways to be prepared for a business call is to make sure you are engaged in active listening. Active listening is a simple concept to understand, but a challenging one to execute over the phone.
You can’t rely on body language or eye contact to make your intention clear to your conversation partner. Assure them verbally that you know what you’re talking about and that you are ready to solve their problem.
A big part of the success of active listening relies on your ability to relate to your conversation partner. The easiest way to do this is to ask questions. You can clear up any uncertainty you might have. The person you are speaking to will also appreciate your attentiveness.
Another trick is to repeat back the point just discussed. This doesn’t mean you should just chatter back every sentence every time. However, rephrasing a good point to illuminate the intent shows you are invested in the conversation’s outcome. Avoid sound flippant or disingenuous when you do this. Make sure only to engage this method when you need clarification.
Taking notes is another quick way to stay engaged in the call. Conversations on the phone happen so fast. It is easy to get hung up on closing remarks and forget the crux of the call. Even a few quickly jotted notes can jog your memory later, so you can keep moving forward instead of sending the dreaded follow up email.
Keep Your Cool
Despite these tips, a difficult call is bound to happen sooner or later. Whether it’s a disgruntled former client or a business competitor, you’re going to communicate with people who aren’t happy. Knowing how to handle these situations will make or break your long-term business success.
An excellent way to keep your cool is to smile through the interaction, quite literally. The “smile and dial” technique is so common it’s almost a cliche in telecommunications at this point. However, there’s a reason why it endures. Smiling while speaking on the phone has a huge difference on the tone of your conversation; Customers That Stick report people can hear the difference between different types of smiles, and that tone makes up 84% of the message of a phone call.
Inc.com recommends a healthy dose of confidence: “You have value as an individual, and the product or service you’re selling creates great value as well when matched with the right customer. When people are convinced of their value, they’re unstoppable.”
Remind yourself of your business mission, the product you sell, and your company culture. Even if you’re dealing with a difficult phone call, you can rely on yourself. Staying confident in the face of the difficulty is a valuable skill in and out of the office.
Make Your Next Call With Confidence
By keeping these three tips in mind, you will be unstoppable on your next business call.
Psychology Today says that phone phobia is a real and common phenomenon, but talking on the phone is a practised skill, like anything. “Frequent practice can help with developing your own vocal “phone persona” that feels comfortable and confident.”
Get prepared, stay engaged, and keep your cool, and you will ace your next business call