With everyone texting, emailing, and messaging each other, it’s easy to overlook the phone.
But with intentionality and skill, that under-utilized phone CAN give you an advantage over your competition. These four tips will help set you apart from your competition.
As you get ready to unwrap and explore these items, pause a moment and remember your brand.
Your phone presence either reflects and reinforces your brand – or it detracts from it – so keep that in mind. Ready? Here they are:
Begin each call professionally.
Answer by the third ring.
With some off-the phone experimenting, you’ll lock in on the best order for providing your name, position, company, and greeting in just a few seconds. The secret is to be consistently upbeat and professional, confirming that your caller has reached the right person.
Inflection is key, so practice that too; it’s your first impression.
(This isn’t the place for your way-cool business slogan. Seconds count; get to the point.)
When calling another, always use your best phone voice, identifying yourself (name & company) first thing. A slight pause allows the person on the other end to respond, but if they don’t, continue with the purpose of your call and who you’re trying to reach.
Verify that this is a good time, even if you’ve made an appointment for this call. It’s courtesy, and courtesy is becoming rare. You’ll be ahead of your competition in less than 30 seconds.
Hint: Posture affects how you come across on the phone. So, stand, or at least sit tall in your chair.
Your voice will exude an energy and authority your slouching competitor hasn’t even thought about.
Think half a minute before you call, and bullet point the 3 or 4 items you need to discuss. This way, if you happen to land in someone’s voicemail –which is likely– your outline for your voicemail is right there in front of you.
If you get to speak with the person directly, your mini-outline will serve as a double-check that you cover all you need to. This is especially helpful when conversations meander off on related or tangential rabbit trails.
If you do end up leaving a voicemail for them, be sure to include your callback number first thing.
Imagine them writing it down as you give it. This will help you with your pace.
123 [pause] 456 [pause] 7890.
Repeat it so they can double check.
Nobody else does this, it seems. You’ll have hero-status for 5 or 10 seconds!
Give the person you’re talking with exclusivity.
You’ll be rare if you quietly consider it rude to divert your attention from your conversation.
If a colleague tries to interrupt you, raise your index finger, signifying “I’m in a call.” They can wait.
It’s common for people to interrupt conversations to answer texts or cell phone calls, so giving someone your undivided attention can easily differentiate you from the rest.
End the call with a quick summary
Review what you discussed in 10 or 15 seconds.
Confirm action points.
If you’ll confirm details by email, say so.
Include “Thanks” in your closing sentence somehow.
“Thanks for clarifying …
“Thanks for your help …
“I’ll let you get back to what you were doing, Chris. Thanks.”
And then hang up.
Crisp, professional, and to the point will ensure that people welcome your calls.
You know who makes you roll your eyes when you hear they’re on the phone, or you see their caller ID.
Four seemingly insignificant action points will keep that from happening when YOU call,
because you’re a pro – including on the phone.