The way you answer the phone seems like a trivial, irrelevant detail. Yet it sets the stage for everything to follow and creates a powerful impression that can either work for you or against you.
Think about it—When you’ve called a company where the person who answered sounded bored or surly, did you want to do business with them? In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, one single bad impression can be enough to lose a sales opportunity forever.
So don’t take a chance on blowing the sale before you even get started. Here are seven tips to begin your conversation positively.
1. Answer Quickly
People hate waiting. Don’t make them.
2. Say the Company Name
Callers want to be certain they’ve reached the company they were intending to. Give them a quick confirmation.
3. Say Your Name
People want to know who they’re talking to. Remember, this is the start of a relationship.
4. Say Your Department
If you’re in a large organization and calls can be coming to you from both outside and inside, it can be helpful to state what department you’re in, so the caller knows they’re talking to the right person.
5. Don’t Be Too Wordy
But don’t go overboard with the opening script. I’ve called companies where people answered the phone with something like, “It’s a wonderful day here at OmniConsumerGlobalTech. Thank you so much for calling us. This is Josephine St. John Smythe in the customer care department. How may I be of service to you today?”
6. Speak Clearly
It doesn’t matter what you say if your prospect can’t understand it. Speak slowly enough and distinctly enough so your caller can easily understand you. This is one of the problems with an overly wordy greeting—people tend to rush through it, and the caller doesn’t get any of it.
7. Answer Enthusiastically
Words also mean nothing if the emotional tone of voice doesn’t support them. Sounding stressed, annoyed, tired or otherwise negative completely alienates your prospect, regardless of what you say. Even if you’re having a bad day, greet your callers with enthusiasm. Smile before and while you answer the phone. After all, this could turn out to be the call that turns your entire month around!
8. Ask Permission to Place on Hold
If you have to put someone on hold immediately, ask permission: “May I put you on hold?” or “Can you hold for a moment please?” And then wait for the answer. It only takes a couple seconds, and makes your prospect feel valued.
Answering the phone effectively isn’t difficult, but it does take some effort. It’s well worth it though, to start your conversation off on a positive note. Because buyers judge you and your company on every little detail. So make this detail a good one.