|A bit camera-shy, Tanya only agreed to have her photo taken in disguise… We’re just glad she’s so at ease on the phone!|
Now that I’ve been doing it for a while; I thought I would share a few of my favorite tips and best practices that helped me to find my comfort zone. I hope they help you as much as they did me.
- Ask permission: Whether they are expecting your call or not people appreciate it when you understand their time is important. Ask them when a more convenient time is to have the conversation and set a reminder in your calendar.
- Be prepared: Ensure you know something about your prospect’s company…look up their website to learn more about them and/or the kinds of meetings & events they plan and where. It can make for a more natural conversation.
- Be more prepared: Know your stuff! There are always objections as to why a prospect may not be interested…but are they founded or assumptions? Knowing what the common objections are ahead of time and being able to address them can often help to overcome them.
- Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask…There are certain things we may not be comfortable asking for example; you may not like to ask about their budget or who approves contracts or even why they choose one hotel over another. Just remember; they gave you permission to speak with them and if they think it’s not your business…the worst that can happen; they won’t answer.
- Active Listening: Once they have answered a question don’t ask it again. If you’re unsure of their point; ask for further explanation. Don’t just repeat the question.
- Never multitask: Give the prospect your complete attention, Pencils and pens are quieter than keyboards. Jot down notes as the conversation progresses so that you can jog your memory once you’ve gotten off the phone. Even if you’re only leaving a message don’t get distracted by something else. If a smile can be heard over the phone…
- Never Interrupt: When you ask a question don’t assume you know the answer. Interrupting and over-talking is not only rude but think of all the things you may not learn as a result. If you let the contact speak freely; it will often trigger their memory, perhaps about lead for another event all together.
- Honesty: When you don’t have the answer…say so. Most people would rather hear, “I don’t know but I can find out and get back to you.”
- Follow through: When you’ve made a promise…keep it! If you’ve offered to email or call with more information; make sure to do it in a timely fashion.
- Staying in touch: If you’ve set up a phone appointment…be on time! If you aren’t able to reach them at the fixed time; leave a message apologizing for missing them and letting them know that you will try again and when.
Remember that you’re just talking to people and try to let the conversation flow as naturally as possible. It really just boils down to polite respect.