Ten Tips for Effective Business Telephone Calls

September 24, 2013

ID-100113741When most people initiate their first verbal communication with someone (outside of their department or company), it is typically done over the phone. That said, don’t you think this should be an area of focus for your training?  If your answer is yes, then here are ten tips for effective business calls from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training that can bring you and/or your organization more revenue.

Avoid All Background Noise — When making your calls, always keep background noise to a minimum. If you are a leader, make sure your people have a quiet “sanctuary” to use at your office. This will help them tremendously when making their calls.

Avoid Negotiations On The Phone — If you have to negotiate something, drive to the person’s location—it will be to your advantage due to being able to judge his/her body language.

Avoid The “Price” Discussion On Your Initial Call — A lot of times people will ask a salesperson about “the prices they charge” on the initial call, especially if you are selling a commodity product or service. The best way to handle this is to give them a low and high price for what you are selling and then immediately explain that so much depends on X, Y and Z. The key to this technique is to immediately ask the prospect to take the next step in the sales process, i.e., face-to-face meeting or webinar.

Keep The Person’s Name/Company Name In Front Of You — To help you avoid using the person’s wrong name or company name, use a CRM program like Sales Force and have the person’s name in front of you. Not only is it embarrassing to use the person’s wrong name, but it also projects a poor image of you; two things you want to avoid.

Know Your Objective When Calling Someone — When making a call to someone, you need to have an objective. No matter what, keep this in mind as you make your call. Doing so will not only keep you focused, but also keep your eyes on your target.

Think Everyone Who Answers The Phone Is An Owner — The person who answers the phone is not just the receptionist. It could be the owner or a decision maker for buying what you sell. In fact, it is always good practice to assume this on every phone call.

Use A Headset — High performance telephone users know the value of a headset, because it allows them to 1) Take notes using both hands (great when using a CRM tool), 2) Talk with their hands, 3) Walk around, 4) Make changes to a document or 5) Send off an e-mail to the person you are talking with.

Use Open-ended Questions — Asking someone an open-ended question will help keep the conversation flowing versus a closed question. Case in point: Are you happy with your present source of X, Y or Z?  Or If you could wave a magic wand over your present source of X, Y or Z, what would you change? See the difference in potential answers!

Use The Person’s Name In A Sentence — People like hearing their name, so use it. In most phone calls, experts all agree to use the person’s name three times.

Your Tone Matters — The tone of your voice matters more than you think. If your tone lacks enthusiasm, people know this and will react negatively.

The key to your phone success hinges on many elements — elements that can be learned. So if you are a leader, spend some time just listening to your team make their phone calls. Not only is this a great exercise for you and your salespeople, but also one that keeps everyone focused on great phone skills.


This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in PhiladelphiaWe’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/stockimages
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