A factor is an “influence that contributes to a result or outcome”. With our prospects and customers, we want our conversations to move everyone forward into decision making and deeper relationships. There are four factors we need to work with to make this happen.
Understanding the back story, leaving messages that get returned, dissolving defensiveness and creating conversation are the four factors that allow us to build relationships and communicate clearly with customers and clients on the phone. While each one involves a bit of study and skill, everyone can master them.
Factor One: The Back Story
It’s very difficult to create a great conversation if you have no knowledge of the other person’s life and what they might be experiencing. While we can never know all the minute details, we can work with some basic assumptions that allow us to craft our message so it will be heard and understood. Last week I launched my free webinar on this subject (utmost thanks to the 180 people that joined me) and I’ll definitely be offering it again in the early Spring. In the meantime, this post introduces you to three elements of the back story: Top 3 Challenges to Effective Phone Communication.
Factor Two: Leaving Messages that Get Returned
When people call us back, they feel in charge, so they’re less defensive. Not only that, they have time to listen. For anyone who needs to consistently connect with prospects and clients, knowing how to leave messages that inspire return calls is an essential skill. I’ve put together an online course that starts Monday March 4 that will give you all the knowledge you need. You can anticipate experiencing an increase of 25% to 30% in calls returned … which translates to more meetings and demos booked, more proposals out, etc. I’ve also written several posts about leaving messages that can help you get started on acquiring this skill:
- The AABC’s of Leaving Messages – Part I
- The AABC’s of Leaving Messages – Part II
- The AABC’s of Leaving Messages – Part III
- The AABC’s of Leaving Messages – Part IV
Factor Three: Dissolving Defensiveness
All of us are a bit more defensive when we receive an unexpected call from someone we don’t know … and this isn’t going to change. It’s vital that our prospects and our customers both hear and experience our respect for their time. This is what dissolves their defensiveness and allows them to be open to conversation. Check out this post for some details on how … and how not to … dissolve defensiveness quickly at the beginning of a call: Case Study: Lessons from a Cold Call to The Phone Lady.
Factor Four: Creating Conversation
A great conversation is built on curiosity and genuine interest in the other person. While there are likely a zillion ways to create and sustain a fabulous conversation, one of my favourites involves a simple phrase that always works to support and expand my relationships with prospects and clients – and friends and family. You’ll find it in this post: The #1 Way to Increase Success With Customers & Prospects.
All relationships demand communication and speaking to each other in real time is our best and most powerful communication choice. We should always be honing our skills to make the best of those moments when we can #InspireConversation.