When we pick up the phone to speak with our customers or prospects today, we encounter three main challenges that often prevent us from communicating effectively.
Challenge #1: Everyone is overwhelmed. It doesn’t matter who we are calling, or whether we are calling them at work or at home, or if they’ve been our customer for years. Each and every person we call has too much to do. Their lengthy to-do list could be connected to their career, their growing family, their aging parents, financial or health issues – or a combination of all these things. We don’t need to know the “why”; only that everyone is experiencing the pressure and stress of too little time.
Challenge #2: We are all impacted by decision fatique. Never before in human history have we made so many decisions each day (research indicates 36,000 daily decisions – Dr. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University). This means that all of us reach a point, a moment, when we can’t make another decision. This fatigue applies to our ability to book an appointment, view a demo, receive more detailed information, change providers, adjust a plan or policy, etc. etc. etc.
Challenge #3: While DialAmerica, which began operation in 1957 with one inbound and one outbound phone line, is generally considered the first “telemarketing” firm, the aggressiveness and persistence of this industry started to emerge in the 1970s when Bell introduced the WATS line (Wide Area Telephone Service). So for 40 years we’ve been receiving pushy and uncomfortable sales calls. Today this industry has risen to unexpected levels of aggression with call spoofing and robo calls becoming everyday occurrences. As a result, we are all defensive and suspicious when we answer unexpected phone calls.
Faced with these challenges, how can you make sure your time on the phone is effective? How can you dissolve the defensiveness and skepticism, and inspire both conversation and action?
1. Remain empathetic and compassionate about how these challenges are impacting your customers and prospects. Choose language that includes them, indicates your interest in them, and make sure your tone of voice is calm, friendly and welcoming.
2. Create a phone experience that quickly reveals the purpose and intention of the call. Don’t take up time with unnecessary conversation. Let the person you are calling know you have a purpose for your call that is valuable to them.
3. Make sure the focus of the call benefits your customers and prospects; that it’s not about you and your needs. The people you call need to clearly hear a value for them in listening to you and engaging in conversation.
These solutions aren’t as easy as they sound. In future posts I’ll provide you more information and ideas on how to meet and overcome these three challenges, and a few more lurking nearby. In the meantime … enjoy your phone work!
What’s The Phone Lady Doing?
November 23 – Email & Phone Skills, The AIL Group of Companies, National, (Tele-training sessions)
November 24 – Phone Skills for Job Search, Older Wiser Labourforce , Halifax, NS
November 24 – Phone Communication Excellence, Oxford Learning, Stoney Creek, ON (Tele-training sessions)
November 24 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabuous, CBDC NOBL, New Glasgow, NS
November 24 – Phone Communication Excellence – RBC Royal Bank, ON (Tele-training session)
November 25 – “Pick it Up – Talk to Prospects” Phone Skills for Start Ups, Starting Lean, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
November 26 – Phone Communication Excellence, TD Bank Group, ON (Tele-training sessions)
November 26 – Pick Up the Phone and Build Relationships, CUSource, Credit Union Knowledge Network Annual Virtual Conference (Tele-training session)
December 10 – Phone Communication Excellence, TD Bank Group, ON (Tele-training sessions)
December 11 – Phone Communication Excellence, Heritage Memorials, Bedford, NS
January 5 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CEED, Halifax, NS
February 10 – Phone Skills for both Job Search and on the Job, ACEE, Halifax, NS
February 17 – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous, CEED, Halifax, NS
March 14 – Master Class in Phone Communication for Startups, Propel ICT, Moncton, NB
March 16 – Master Class in Phone Communication for Startups, Propel ICT, Halifax, NS
March 18 – Master Class in Phone Communication for Startups, Propel ICT, St. John’s, NL