Top 3 Challenges to Effective Phone Communication

phone receiver hanging

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, whether we are calling them at work or at home, or if they’ve been a 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 fatigue. 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 robocalls 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 with 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!

Closing a sale is the natural outcome of inspiring great conversations and listening intently to our potential customers. This natural approach still involves a process – a plan that moves potential customers through a journey of discovery with you. So ... what's your process? And am I the right sales coach for you? Let's find out.

10 thoughts on “Top 3 Challenges to Effective Phone Communication”

  1. For me I think no matter how many times I make that call I am always a little nervous and shy before I dial. Does anyone else feel the same way?

    Reply
    • Yes … about 75% of people feel the same way! Talking on the phone has a lot in common with public speaking, so there are always some jitters before you dial and get into the rhythm of having phone conversations. Even after 28 years, when I start a new phone project, I get nervous. It is perfectly natural and means that your are giving your full focus to the task of creating effective communication. Thanks for your comments, Amber.

      Reply

Leave a comment

What's The Phone Lady doing?

  • One-on-one coaching with 6 amazing entrepreneurs - info about sales coaching here
  • Designing a sales campaign - that includes phone conversations - for a waste management consulting firm
  • Creating client communication module for college students
  • Delivering remote learning on essential business communication skills for job search
  • Remote learning experience on sales and customer service skills for vet equipment company
  • Remote learning experience for financial advisors
  • In-person learning experience with new business owners on creating a sales process
  • Remote learning experience on essential skills to reach and inspire conversations with C-suite executives
  • Team coaching for a firm representing natural products for arthritis in dogs
  • Remote learning experience on sales and customer service skills for a transportation company
  • Remote learning experience on both discovery and sales calls for new startups

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.