The most important thing about the call is your attitude. Attitude is everything! You can be movie star handsome. You can have the best GQ wardrobe. You can have the finest Ivy League education. However, on the phone, image is nothing. Communication skills, project preparation, and attitude are everything.
Picking up the telephone and calling an unknown prospect cold, is not an easy thing to do for a lot of people. They suffer from the fear of the unknown. There is no body language to read. They can’t size the contact up by the cut of their clothes, the firmness of a handshake or the class ring they wear. You are totally at the mercy of your ears and your attitude.
In this medium, the key points are:
1. Maintaining a positive mental attitude at all times. Even if the last guy screamed, cursed and insulted your dog, the next call has to start back at square one. The last call is over with. Finished! Let it go.
2. Maintain a friendly, inviting tone in your voice at all times. People size you up by how you sound on the phone. If you are not confident and friendly, why should they stop what they are doing, to give you five or ten minutes of their valuable time, especially when they are busy? You have to make them WANT to talk to you.
3. I try to sound like the person’s next door neighbor. I strip the professional air and corporate style points out of my arsenal. Remember, they could have fear of the phone too. So, put them at ease and be as non-threatening as possible. Strive to NOT sound like you are a sales person, even if you are one. Many people have a major fear of being sold something they don’t want, over the telephone. I am not a sales person. I am a communicator. The product or service sells itself or I find a new one.
4. Keep opening introductions to a minimum, and don’t over talk out of nervousness. “Hi, Jim, this is Gerry Nason, with Web Attract. I’m calling because we wanted to get your feed back about the Webinar you attended a few weeks ago. What did you think, Jim?” End your opening with a question, and shut up, allowing them a chance to speak.
5. Be a good listener. Under NO circumstances should you be thinking about what you want to say next. If you do this, you might as well put on your coat and head for the exit, because you are wasting your time. Listening is EVERYTHING! Just in case you missed that, listening is everything!
Pay attention to not only WHAT the person is saying, but HOW they are saying it. Voice inflection can tell you a lot. If they are nervous, you can try to calm them. If they talk quickly, try to match their pace, as they are impatient. (Ever call into New York City?) If they have a slow southern or Texas drawl, the last thing you want to do is speak like a New Yorker. Emulate what you hear in order to put them at ease.
6. Try not be nervous or anxious. A very wise former boss of mine taught me when I was just starting out, that I could defeat my nerves by making myself as comfortable as possible.
Instead of sitting hunched over my desk, sitting on the edge of my chair, he had me lean back in my executive chair and put my feet up on the desk. I brought in an ice chest and a big jug of homemade lemonade to sip while talking to prospects. You know what? It not only worked, but it worked crazy good!
7. Finally, throw away the scripts. You CANNOT sound like you are reading. Instead, make a list of talking points. Itemize the value props, the points you wish to make, and the information you need to come away with.
Learn the material, and speak from the heart. Know what you want to say and say it. If you have brain freeze, grab your talking points. If you sound like you are reading a script, even for a moment, you instantly lose your credibility.
I hope that you have enjoyed this series. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .