Keys To Using The Phone In Business Successfully

by Steve Mitchell

There will come a time when you will have to market (sell) something over the phone, no matter what business you are in.

Using the phone has long been a daunting experience for many people. But the telephone is a very powerful tool for your business and, used right, it can be a highly cost-effective and productive way of getting new business, and increasing your income!

* Key 1: Practice at getting comfortable using the phone by simply making calls:

There are many ideas that pamper to people’s anxieties over using the phone, but in my experience the best way to overcome any nerves or apprehension is simply this: get on the phone and start speaking to people!

The sooner you start talking with people, the sooner you will realize that the phone is not as bad as you initially thought it would be.

Just start making calls. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone says ‘no’ to what you are offering them. Yep, hearing ‘no thanks’ is the worse that can happen!

With each call you make, you will find your nerves ebb away, and you will get stronger and more confident on the phone. Try it and you’ll see what I mean. The more you use the phone, the more confident you will get.

OK, not the most profound solution but certainly one of the quickest to get you positive results, both by overcoming your nerves and for getting results that increase your business.

* Key 2: Always open your calls with a Time Qualifier:

There is nothing worse than when you are in the middle of something, your phone rings, you answer, and someone starts hosing you down with what they’re trying to market to you. Your attention is weak, your patience thin, and often your sense of humour for being interrupted has long left the room!

You certainly don’t want the same result when you call someone. So, the easiest way to avoid this is to qualify the time you’re calling by using a simple opening phrase along the lines of:

‘Hi John, ______ here. Have you got 10 minutes now?’ or ‘Hi John, ______ here. Is this a good time to run something past you for 10 minutes?’

In doing this, you extend respect that they might be in the middle of something and in doing, allow them to tell you its not really a good time. You also have prepped them with the fact that you only need 10 minutes of their time. And, if they say ‘it’s a bit difficult right now’, you haven’t wasted your time talking to someone whose attention is elsewhere.

* Key 3: Build in a Disclaimer:

How do you feel when someone says ‘I’ve got something that is JUST RIGHT for you’? I bet you immediately think to yourself how do they know its right for me; I’ll be the judge of that; it probably isn’t right for me, and so on. Well that’s how the people you speak to on the phone will react when you try to market to them in a presumed way. So disarm them straight away with a simple change of phrase:

‘John, I’m not sure if what I want to share with you is for you or not, only you can decide but I did think that if it wasn’t for you, then you then may know someone who would be interested?’. By suggesting it may or may not be for them offers them what is known as a ‘disclaimer’. In doing this several positive things has happened: A) Firstly, by saying I’m not sure it’s for you has put the person you are talking to at ease because they then don’t think they’re on the spot to ‘buy’ whatever you are marketing or selling.

B) Secondly, it gets the person you’re talking to thinking quietly to them self ‘why isn’t it for me? It might be; I’ll be the judge to decide if its for me’. In other words it turns their mental posture from ‘I don’t want it’ to ‘I might want it’.

C) By saying ‘you might know someone who would be interested’ you are in effect using the ‘3rd party approach’ (we’ll talk more about this in future issues of Marketing Pro Info). If the person you’re talking to then really isn’t interested, he can see a way out for himself by simply saying ‘it’s not for me but Bob might be interested’.

D) You potentially could pick up two customers – the person you called and a referral.

Hope you found these ideas useful. There are many other ‘keys’ to using the powerful tool of the telephone for effective marketing, which I will share with you in future articles.

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