Part 2: Business Phone Etiquette

Editor | MLM Training Tips | Monday, January 18th, 2010

Excellent! You’re back.

It takes a real leader to check out tips on phone etiquette. The truth is, I’m likely preaching to the choir. I bet you’re a pro on the phone. Thanks for taking the time to confirm you are presenting the best you over the phone.

Previously I noted the importance of a dedicated phone line and an efficient voice message. I also reminded you, “The phone is not in control.”

Now, let’s put the phone to work.

3. When answering the phone, it is important to present yourself as a person with whom people want to do business. Identify yourself and/or your business, “This is Tami, good morning.” If I called the bank and they answered with a simple, “Hello,” I would pull my money out immediately.

4. When calling someone, do the same, identify yourself. If your first contact is a gate keeper, the receptionist, you still identify yourself. Hopefully, the gate keeper has good etiquette and has identified herself. Use her name, “Diane, this Tami DuBose. Is Mr. Keller available?” Be prepared with a clear concise response in the event she inquires about the purpose of your call.

5. Time is money. If you do not have an appointment, dispense with the niceties as quickly as possible. Yes, I believe in building a relationship business. Creating relationships is easier when each party respects the other’s time. Set an appointment and use that time to create a relationship.

6. Call waiting is disrespectful. If you were on a first date and that person takes a call during dinner, that is a CLUE. They are not interested and you are not important to them. The same message is conveyed when you click over to take someone else’s call, “You’re not important to me. The person on the other line is more important.” Ouch! Don’t do it.

7. When leaving a message, leave your name, company name, and the purpose of your call. Does that look familiar? What’s the last thing? Always leave your contact number and repeat it. Even if you believe they should have your number, this is business. Make doing business with you as easy as possible.

I hate it when someone leaves, “Call me back.” First of all, I am not psychic. Second, too many people call me and caller I.D. is not directory assistance. Third, if you don’t leave a detailed message, it must not be important. I’ll call when I have nothing better to do, and that’s if I recognized your voice as someone I want to call.

8. Keep a call record. Hopefully, you already have a system for tracking your business calls. Remember to use it. Take notes on everything for future reference, spouse’s name, children, hobbies, etc. You only have to ask the same question twice for someone to recognize you weren’t listening the first time.

And, finally, here are a few closing items I hope you already practice.

  • Don’t eat on the phone, or smack gum.
  • Don’t call before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m. without an appointment.
  • Always return calls within 24 hours.
  • Do not answer your phone in a restaurant.
  • When you are spending quality time with your family, turn the phone off.

And, here’s a bonus. Traditional etiquette supports that the caller is responsible for closing out the call. My philosophy is that the person in control closes out the call. This person can discern when business is done or the other party is ‘done,’ and respects any request to close the call.

Wow! I’m exhausted. Who would imagine we’d have to cover so much material for that simple little piece of technology, the phone.

1 Comment »

  1. The sales problem is simple. Most sales people and sales trainers are not aware of the different skill set required when making major sales. There is a huge difference between making that simple sale and making a sale that requires many interviews and meetings.
    Most of the old training methods are no longer viable in today’s selling world. It is time all Sales Training people got to understand this. Research done in the late 1970’s have proven this, yet we still keep flogging the age old sales books with the old techniques.
    Selling an aircraft has a different skill set than selling the gas to run it!

    Comment by Steve Hilliar — May 16, 2010 @ 2:29 am

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