Speaking with leads over the phone is more challenging than face-to-face conversations. Studies show that body language accounts for 55% of the overall message, making phone etiquette essential for a pleasant telephone conversation.
Your words, tone, and voice can undoubtedly affect prospective clients’ purchase decisions and customer relationship and satisfaction. It’s no surprise that many entrepreneurs multitask while running their local businesses. They often need to answer the phone while they service other clients or negotiate with suppliers.
In this blog, we’ll go over nine phone etiquette tips for building strong connections and closing more sales. Some of these may seem intuitive; however, the more aware and experienced you are, the more purposeful and personable your conversations with clients will be.
1. Introduce Yourself and Ask for the Caller’s Name
First, make room for an engaging opening. You can start by reaffirming the business name the caller is speaking to and sharing your name. Also, mentioning your business slogan may keep things interesting.
One of the best and most straightforward ways to build a positive connection with the caller is asking for their name and using it when possible. Calling people by their first name makes them feel important. As a fact, this is one of the first tips Dale Carnegie, a well-known sales guru, mentions in his book “How to win friends and influence people.” Once you’ve both introduced yourselves, you may ask the client how you can assist them.
2. Listen Attentively and Identify Your Client’s Emotions
Ensure you listen to every detail while your lead explains the inquiry he needs help with. Besides taking notes on what you’ll have to troubleshoot, pay close attention to the client’s tone and voice.
You may encounter clients who won’t verbally share their frustration, disappointment, or eagerness but do so through their tone of voice.
Identifying your clients’ feelings will clue you in on the appropriate tone you should adopt right after.
A person’s tone and voice can also help identify how important the request is for them, how quick of a response they need, and how knowledgeable they are about the subject matter. Knowing these details will help you establish a tailored conversation.
For example, suppose a customer sounds frustrated. In that case, you could reassure them that you will do everything in your power to solve their issue to their satisfaction. On the other hand, if you determine that the client is unfamiliar with the subject matter technicalities, you will have to explain yourself with a friendly, non-techie vocabulary.
3. Show Empathy, Communicate Assertively and Provide Solutions
Empathy and assertiveness enable transparency and respect. Be honest about what you can and can’t do and how unfavorable the client’s situation is. Also, provide a plan of action that best suits their needs. If you find the client doesn’t seem convinced about your proposal, mention why this is in their best interest.
Once you’re done explaining yourself, ask the client if they have questions. Don’t assume the client understands everything you went over. Instead, expect questions. A great way to be prepared is to keep a list of frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers.
4. Ask Before Putting Clients on Hold or Transferring the Call
One of life’s mini frustrations is being put on hold, especially if it took long for your call to connect. If you need to put the client on hold, explain why this is beneficial for them, what you will be working on while they are on hold, and ask them if they are ok with it.
Also, ensure you don’t lose track of time while the client is on hold. Keeping the client waiting for too long will only add more frustration. If you notice you haven’t gone back to them, keep them in the loop, explaining what you’ve done so far and why you’re taking longer than expected.
For example, suppose you’re trying to set an appointment for a legal firm client, and the scheduling system isn’t loading. In that case, you should inform the client and ask if they could wait a few more minutes. Depending on the client’s response, you can continue waiting for the system to load or propose an alternative solution to set their appointment.
Similarly, if you need to transfer the call, ask for the client’s permission, explain why this will be beneficial, and reassure them that the next person will help solve their request.
5. Ensure You Answer All Of Your Client’s Questions
Once the client knows you’ve addressed their initial concern, ask if there is anything else you can assist them with. This is a great way to show how approachable you are and could be a cross-selling opportunity.
For example, suppose you are an HVAC and plumbing contractor speaking with a client who requested an HVAC installation quote for his new guest apartment. In that case, the client might also need to install the apartment’s bathroom pipes. Asking the client if there is anything else you can help with might keep the conversation going around a new service/product you offer.
6. Close the Conversation and Wish the Client a Great Day
Your closure should include the conversation highlights and important dates and facts. Ensure you showcase the same positive energy and assertiveness from the beginning of the conversation. And, reiterate you’re available to respond to any future questions that arise. Once you’ve made your closure, wish the client a great day or week!
Stay Ahead of Your Game With Professional Answering Services
Business owners often juggle various responsibilities, including servicing/visiting clients, working on the business finances, taking photos of your work, marketing your business on social media, talking with leads, and more. Each one of these responsibilities plays a vital role in your business’ success. However, due to time constraints, you may sometimes be forced to prioritize one over the other.
It is well known that 80% of consumers who reach a voicemail box will not leave a message or wait for you to return their call. Instead, they will move on to get in touch with your competitors. However, picking up the phone is just one part of the puzzle. You’ll also need to know how to sell your product without being aggressive and while building rapport.
Are you losing leads due to time limitations or poor sales skills? Olly Olly’s 24/7/365 US-based answering services prevent our clients from losing leads that took them hard work to attract. Besides offering friendly voices and customized scripts, we ask the right questions, so you only speak with qualified customers.
If you have lots of questions about outsourcing this task to a this-party answering service company, feel free to contact us or visit our blog, where we go over the most common questions about answering services.
Article by Francis Espinoza
Francis is a Social Media Coordinator here at Olly Olly. Born and currently based in Nicaragua, her professional background and passion are all things inbound marketing.
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