Running a successful internet business requires the entrepreneur to wear many hats. We spend lots of dollars promoting the online business. We are constantly tweaking and shaping our web page so that it is even more sharper and more inviting. We do this to increase the hits on the landing page. All this is “another day at the office,” for us, yet many internet marketers tend to drop the ball when it comes to actually TALKING to the prospect. This is a shame, considering all the time and money invested, getting them to visit your website, only to lose them due to poor telephone skills.
The online business world is just that: THE WORLD. Because our customers or prospects can be hundreds or thousands of miles away from us, it is essential that the internet marketer effectively communicates with them on a one to one basis. We may be moving quickly into a highly automated world, but people still prefer talking to a live person as opposed to a computerized system. If you think I’m mistaken, recall back to the last time you called your bank or a computer support system, and had to go through all those phone key punchings, trying to get some help.
Telephone sales is really very simple. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. In fact, pretending to be a different personality will sink your boat every time. People can tell when someone is being real and honest or if they are playing some kind of game. Don’t worry if you don’t have that “great phone voice.” Being real is going to increase your credibility. Sounding too smooth will put your prospect on their guard.
The secret is to relax, smile, and just talk to them. It IS important to know what you want to say, and have a focus to your conversation, however, keeping it in a conversational mode will increase the affinity between your prospect and you. Remember, people do business with people they like and trust.
Here are some very simple tips to keep in mind and in place, when calling a prospect who has visited your webpage.
1: Always address them by their first name. If your information lists a John Smith, and a man answers the phone, ASSUME IT’S JOHN and say “Hello John, this is (Your First and Last Name). How are you, today?” He’s either going to say, he’s doing fine or he’s going to say he isn’t John, and either he will get John on the phone or offer to take a message. The point here is that you are immediately setting the pace and also the tone of the phone conversation.
2: After the initial greeting, tell your prospect why you are calling. Be succinct and friendly about it. Confirm with them that they visited your website by relaying back to them the approximate time they visited. This gives you credibility, as well as that first commitment that they did visit.
3: Immediately after getting that commitment, ask them if this is a good time for them to spend a few minutes to talk with you. If it is, say “Great!” and go into your presentation. If it isn’t, then quickly ask them when would be a good time. Even better, give them a choice of two times that you will be free and ask them which one fits their schedule better. The truth is, people can’t lie about two things at the same time. If they are truly interested in talking with you, they will give you a time. If not, they will more than likely tell you they don’t want the call back.
4: Make sure you tell them that you are not going to stalk them with endless number of phone calls. This will do two things. It first reaffirms the fact that your time is also valuable and secondly, it will put them at ease because they probably already have had to deal with the obnoxious sales person who keeps calling back again and again. By letting them know that you won’t be pestering them, you are also demonstrating your professionalism.
5: Always SMILE as you talk to them, and USE their name several times during the phone conversation. People know when you’re smiling. It may sound strange, but people really do, and a smile is always something that’s inviting. Furthermore, the most sweetest word, in a person’s mind is their name. Don’t ever forget that.
6: If you call and get an answering machine, leave a quick message, identifying yourself. Tell them you’re calling them because they visited your website a couple of days ago, and you wanted to touch base with them to see how you can be of service and help. Leave your phone number and name and tell them they can call you anytime. Also tell them that you won’t be pestering them with more phone calls, so if they are interested, please get back to you. As a side note: When you leave your phone number, speak a bit slower and enunciate clearly. Always, take a breath after leaving your number and then REPEAT your number one more time.
7: Finally, always end the phone conversation on an upbeat note. Always thank your prospect for their time, and if there is going to be a follow up call, confirm that before ending the conversation. A good rule of thumb is never be the first to hang up. Wait till you hear them click off, before you do the same. No one likes to be hung up on, even if they know the conversation is ended.
I hope these seven tips have been of some help in strengthening your telephone presentations. Keep it simple and natural, and you will see more results.
See you at the top!
Have you often been told that your listeners can’t understand you because you speak too fast? Rapid rates of speech can impede your effectiveness as a speaker and a professional. After all, if you have given a message but it has not been understood, you will have to say it repeatedly until the other party understands. It is much easier to say it slower – the first time.
People often speak fast for one of four reasons. First, the speaker fears the other person will not be patient enough to listen to him speak at a normal rate. Second, the speaker is talking about his favorite subjects, such as work, family or a hobby, and in his enthusiasm, he talks too fast. Third, the speaker is talking when nervous, such as when giving a presentation or on the telephone, and speeds up. Fourth, the listener may speak English as a Second Language and need extra time to process your message, or the speaker or listener may have other factors that impact speech rate or speed of listening. Whatever the cause, it is important to be aware of your speech rate and timing.
If you are concerned that the other person has limited time to listen to you, ask him what he wants to hear about most, such as an overview or the details on an aspect of the project. Think of the forest versus the trees. use fewer words, and keep the pace a little slower as you are focusing on specifically what he wants to hear about.
Many people speak at their fastest rates when excited about a favorite topic. Write down a hierarchy of some subjects you know nothing about, gradually increasing to topics about which you are passionate, such as your family, job or latest hobby. Tap your foot or listen to a slow metronome as you start by saying your phone number at a slow pace. Then say your address at that same rate. Gradually talk about your most uninteresting topics at that same pace. Move up the hierarchy until you speak slowly about your favorite topics.
Nervousness makes people speak faster. If you speak too quickly when giving presentations, record yourself practicing them until you are speaking at a slow speed. Remember that your audience needs to hear and understand your ideas.
Slow down so they can actually have time to think about what you are saying.
If timing a speech is your concern, again realize that many people speak too long, while others get so nervous that their rate increases and they do not speak long enough. Keep a watch on the lectern with you. Mark your notes ahead of time so that you know where to cut sections out of the presentation or add other optional ones in if you are too fast or slow. Be aware of how to coordinate this with any visual presentation you are making, so that you give either a one sentence description of a slide or talk extensively about several others if you need to, to lengthen the presentation.
As you speak in the telephone, often when leaving a message, be aware that the other person needs to understand you. If you say anything the other person is likely to write down, such as your name or telephone number, say it only as fast as you can write it.
There are many other factors that make it difficult for a speaker to talk slowly, or a listener to listen more quickly.
New speakers of English often remark that they cannot understand Americans who speak quickly. People who have a hearing loss may not understand a class of sounds, such as fricatives (th, f, v, s, z) and need extra time to understand what a speaker is saying. Some medications and some disorders increase the speed of speech as well. If you have certain disorders such as Parkinsons, cluttering, or bi-polar disorder, professional training from a speech-language pathologist is recommended.
Here are three general techniques to slow your rate down. Visualize yourself on a swing, and imagine rocking back and forth. Tap your toe to a slow rate, or see yourself driving down a 25 mph street, in a residential neighborhood filled with small children. Feel that slow rate. Then at that slow pace, say your own address. Name three things in your room right now. Give a weather report, at that slow rate. Then talk about something that you find uninteresting. Eventually talk at that pace about your favorite hobby.
When you practice these self-help skills and realize that others really do want to understand you, you will know how to control your rate. It takes considerable practice, but it can be done.
At least 75 percent of the business we conduct begins with a phone call. In some cases it’s the only contact you have with a person. We use phone calls to introduce ourselves, give and get information, set up appointments, and follow up on previous contacts.
The way you sound on the telephone, and your telephone etiquette, is often the first impression you make. It can influence whether you get the job interview, the new client or the meeting you want.
Here are 5 ways to make a great impression on the phone:
• Before you make an important call, take a few moments to prepare. You’ll increase your chances of getting what you want. Know the reason for your call, and prepare any questions or information you need. It helps to write notes on a paper, so you don’t get sidetracked during the conversation.
• Take notes. During the call, write down the relevant points you discussed. This shows your efficiency and attention to detail, and helps avoid repeat phone calls for the same information.
• Put energy into your voice. A good trick is to stand up when you talk. When you sit during a phone call, your diaphragm is compressed. When you stand up and move around, you breathe more freely. You have more energy, which will come across in your voice.
• Smile when you speak. The person you speak to won’t see the smile, but the warmth that comes from a smile will come across the phone line!
• If you are calling from home, make your calls away from distracting noises such as the washing machine or TV. And don’t eat, chew gum or drink during a business conversation. People can hear more than you think.
Phone Interviews have become a common tool for judging the suitability of job applicants and screening out those who do not match the job requirements. Hence, as a job seeker, you must not take the phone interview lightly which is the first phase of the interviewing process.
Just as you would prepare yourself for the face-to-face interview, you should also devote sometime for planning and preparing for the phone interview.
Time & Concentration Keep enough time aside for the phone interview and make arrangements so that you will not be interrupted through the course of the telephonic interview. Make sure you are completely focused and your whole concentration is directed towards the upcoming interview.
Preparation Keep a pen and paper handy to jot down important information that you may have access to during the phone interview. If you had applied for this position through a newspaper ad, keep the ad cutting in front of you along with a copy of your current resume.
Demeanor From the moment you take the call and till the time you end the call, remember that you are being screened. Hence, you must put every effort into conversing and communicating well with the interviewer. You should sound interested, excited and involved.
Listening Skills If there was ever a time when your good listening skills were needed, this is it. Don’t speak out of turn and especially while the interviewer is talking. Listen well to the interviewer and then answer questions clearly and confidently.
Seek Information The phone interview is often used as a means to analyze and judge the suitability of the candidate as well as know more about them. It also provides the candidate an opportunity to understand what the job entails. Hence, you must also ask questions tat will help you to know more about the prospective job as well as the Co, its policies and your ability to meet these requirements.
Whether interacting personally or over the telephone, professional telephone etiquettes come in handy when it comes to making the right first impression.
Your tone of voice, self confidence, communication skills – all contribute in making your telephone conversations professional, courteous and able to make an impact.
Here are some simple tips to follow while answering your own professional calls or handling calls for others –
Avoid using Slangs.
Make use of phrases such as “May I help You”, “You are welcome”, and “Thank You”, etc.
Put the receiver down gently. Never slam the phone.
Always speak clearly so that the other person can understand what you are saying.
When picking up the phone, it is good practice to identify your Company and yourself to the caller.
When transferring calls, make sure that you are well versed with the procedure for call transfers. It is good practice to use the name of the person you are transferring the call to.
Always adopt a pleasant tone of voice and be attentive.
When placing a call on hold, inform the caller of the same.
Don’t interrupt the caller when speaking.
When initiating a call, spend a few moments to mentally prepare yourself so that you know wheat need to be said / discussed.