According to a Salesforce study, 92% of all customer interactions happen over business phone calls.
Then why do people feel so uncomfortable on phone calls?
To help ease your call anxiety, I put together a list of steps for you to follow to feel more comfortable when making phone calls:
Prepare. Is there even such a thing as being over prepared?
For a call, this means sitting down, writing a script, and figuring out what exactly you are asking from the customer. Are you calling to make a sale? Get feedback? Build a relationship? Clearly defining the goal prior to making the call will help to cultivate the conversation.
Tip: Writing down the main idea and other key points you would like to discuss is a great way to ensure that all important information gets covered during the call. Check the points off as you go, but be sure to feel comfortable improvising and shortening that list if need be.
Being prepared also means doing research into who you are calling.
If you’ve met the contact before, bring up casual conversation about the last interaction you had or an interest they may have mentioned. Following up on a topic that you have previously discussed shows that you were actually listening and even better, interested in what the person had to say.
If you are cold calling, map out some conversational pieces that are relevant to each person. This is where you need to do the most research. Using tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, or even downloading Rapportive for your Gmail can help to give you specific information tailored to every individual.
When it comes to actually speaking with customers, you will want that customer to see you as an individual who is prepared, professional, and someone they wouldn’t mind doing business with. To achieve this level of expertise, you have to practice.
Practice. Practice, and you guessed it, more practice.
A common belief when making business phone calls is that people sound scripted if they write down notes or specific word-for-word points they want to make.
However, you only sound scripted if you haven’t practiced and aren’t confident about what you are saying, and that lack of confidence comes off in the tone you use.
A SlideShare by Hubspot collected 107 Mind Blowing Sales Stats, and one stat worth mentioning was that over the phone, tone is 86% of how we communicate.
Getting comfortable with your message is only half the battle. However, once you do, you will be able to communicate your message clearly in a tone that resonates with your customer.
Tip: Authenticity is the key here. Your authenticity and the authenticity of your brand is what relates value to your customers. Practice the small talk, the pitch, and the specific call to action. Be confident and believe in your message, and if you can’t, don’t do it!
Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it certainly goes a long way to show customers how serious you take communication with them.
Perform. Pick up the phone, start dialling, and build relationships with customers.
Your brand is a reflection of the relationship between your customers and your company.
Customers are making the decision to buy your product and your business depends on them. Building lasting relationships with those customers is what helps to keep them involved in the success of your business.
Again, 92% of all customer interactions happen over business phone calls.
That number proves how important learning how to communicate over the phone really is.
Tip: While on any call, remember to take as many notes as possible. Whether it be the name of the customer’s dog, what their favourite food is, or that they like a particular sports team. This kind of information will help you when you go to follow-up with that customer in the future.
Prepare, practice, and perform because those calls are only the beginning.
After the initial meeting, 80% of sales require at least 5 follow-up calls, says Marketing Donut.
Learning how to conduct yourself and your businesses needs over the phone is an important skill to have. It helps to turn potential leads into customers and helps to guarantee that customers trust your brand, because they trust you.
So, excuse me while I go make some calls!