How to Become a Peak Performer on the Telephone – Part 2 of 3 by Pat Ryan & Jae-ann Rock

Posted on Oct 16, 2017 in Blog, Meeting/Event Planning, Training and HR

During the Call—Be Your Best

In our last blog post, we brought to light three best practice techniques to employ BEFORE you make a call.  This week, we will identify the top 6 things to do DURING every call that will help SET THE PROPER TONE for you become a peak performer on the telephone.

So, what are the top 6 things you should always do during every call to greatly improve results?  Read below, then determine which tips you use regularly and which areas might need a little work…

1. Voice Tone and Projection

How is your telephone voice?  Do you speak clearly?  Do you enunciate your words?  Are you easy to listen to?  Some people think there’s nothing you can do about your voice—and that is simply not true! Practice makes perfect—and being aware of HOW you speak and, more importantly, how to improve your telephone voice will be a big help to you.

We recommend that you record your voice and listen to it—this can be “eye opening” for many people. We never sound the way we think we do.  Record an actual call you make.  Big benefits can be reaped when you review it to see what you do well—and what you need to improve.

Do you project your voice confidently?  Or, are you somewhat subdued?  Do you mumble some words?  Do you start sentences strong and then trail off at the end?  Everyone is different—there is no telling what you will learn!

Set up a mirror so you can monitor your body language while you talk on the phone.  Sitting up straight—or slouching in your chair—affects how you sound!  It’s true!

My sales career began with my setting up a mirror opposite my desk so I could monitor my “telephone body language.”  Glancing over at the mirror while on the phone, I was often surprised to catch myself sunken way down in my chair!  It may sound like a small point—but EVERYTHING counts.  Why not put everything in your favor that you possibly can?   Begin each call with a confident smile and professional “body language,” and this will resonate in your voice on the phone.  Try it!

2. Your Telephone Personality

Be friendly and sincere.

Nothing can take the place of someone who is simply pleasant to talk with.  This may sound SO obvious—but then, why are some people so unpleasant to talk to?  Some people don’t care, for sure, while others have simply forgotten to make a conscious effort to be friendly.  Sincerity is important, as well.  As Dale Carnegie would say, “Sincere appreciation is sincerely appreciated”—”sincere” being the key word.

 3. Get to the Point

Unless you’re talking with someone who likes a “meandering” conversation (see Neuro-Linguistics below), you should be concise.  Exchanging pleasantries is fine, but you should make it clear from the beginning why you are calling.  Be direct:  “I’m calling because…”  People are busy and it’s important that they feel you are respecting their time.

4. Have a Telephone Strategy

  • Practice the Use of Neuro-Linguistics

Popularized by Tony Robbins, Neuro-Linguistics (specifically, “mirroring and matching”) can be a very subtle, yet effective technique to build rapport and bolster your performance.  Studies show that we all tend to like/feel comfortable with other people who are most like us!  The more different someone is from us, the more difficult it can be to build rapport.  The theory says you should take note of what kind of person you are speaking with, and make attempts to “mirror and match” them.  Sticking with the example of telephone use, this means paying particular attention to their voice, tonality, and style of conversation.  Are you speaking with a fast talker or a slow talker?  Put your listener at ease by simply matching their style; reflect their speed of speech. Is this someone who wants to “get to the point” quickly?  Then do it.  Or, is it someone who likes to chitchat a bit before getting to business?  Recognize it and reflect it!

  • Listen!  As a wise person once said, “We were given two ears and one mouth—and we should use them in that proportion!

Take high-level notes—write short phrases, or one and two-word notes that will “jog” your memory later, when you want to write more expansive notes.  If you try to create notes that are too detailed while on the phone, then you won’t be listening as well as you should be.

5. KNOW when you are “on”—and KNOW when you are “off”

As the saying goes, “When you’re hot, you’re hot—and when you’re not, you’re not!”  Personally, there are times when I walk away from the telephone because either I don’t feel “on” or I am just fatigued.  This is the time to take a break—or to concentrate on another aspect of the business that doesn’t require using the phone.  It’s important that you recognize when this is happening—and do something about it.  The tendency for some people is to “just work through it.”  Big mistake.  We all need to take breaks. Just do it.

6. “Closing” on Next Steps

I learned a lesson once while I was concluding an interview with an ambitious, young man who wanted a job as a sales rep.  He asked when I would decide whether he got the job.  As we were in a hurry to fill the position, I told him, “Probably by the first of next week.”  His response was to attempt to schedule a telephone call with me on Tuesday morning at 10 am.  Specifically, he wanted to know which worked better, “Tuesday at 10 am—or 2 pm?”  I agreed to a 10 am call.  It was beautiful—he “closed” me!  Here was a guy applying for a SALES job, closing me on the next steps of his interview—proving he was a capable salesman!  The moral of the story is to make sure you know what the next steps are before you hang up the telephone!  It’s not hard to do—but it is easy to forget.

Employing these six steps during your sales calls will increase the likelihood of success on every call.  Next time, in Part 3 of our series on peak telephone performance, we will review the top things you should always to AFTER every call.  Until then, keep practicing those telephone skills!

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