Back in the mid-to-late 1980’s, when I
was in high school, cell phones did not exist as they do today. When I wanted
to make plans with friends or ask a girl out on a date I picked up my home
telephone and called them on their home telephone. If they were available we
would talk; two people conversing using the English language discussing plans
for tomorrow night or what was happening over the weekend. If they were not
there I would leave a message with their parents or on their answering machine.
No matter what the outcome of the initial call, in the end I had a live
telephone conversation with another human being.
Fast forward to today. On a personal
level conversations are now taps on a small screen in the form of texts. The
human interaction has been reduced greatly. However, this is not the case in
business, and that will not change. Live one-on-one interaction is and will
always be a necessity. And no, email is not a replacement either.
Business relationships begin with “hello”.
Your tone of voice and what you say following up to “hello” can either lead to
more conversation or it is DOA. That is up to you. However, many sales reps don’t
get the chance to have the conversation. They are fearful of the telephone and
so more calls are DOA. Why is this happening?
In the example above, people have
become accustomed to using their cell phones and email for conversation,
beginning with personal and leading into business. But when you are attempting to
contact someone for the first time, remember, they do not know you. DELETE!!!
It is more important today, than ever
before, to practice the art of live communication. One way to overcome the fear
of the telephone is to attend a networking event. That’s right, a networking
event, not a phone-a-thon. Go someplace where you must engage other human
beings in conversation. Leave your cell phone in your pocket, or even better,
in your car. Walk up to a perfect stranger and say “hello”. Is this
uncomfortable? Maybe. Does this get easier? Absolutely. And, before you know
it, a couple of hours have passed by and you’ve had live conversations with former
Now get on the telephone. In much the
same way as the approach with the networking event, you must have a good
demeaner. You need to have a positive tone. Put a smile on your face. Sure,
they can’t see you, but the smile will be seen through your tone. The most
critical time in a telephone call is the first few seconds. You must capture
that person’s attention. You must put them at ease. You must intrigue them to
want to continue talking with you. And, you must do all of this in seconds.
Cold calling, warm calling,
whateveryoucallit calling – not every call is going to be perfect. No matter
how long you’ve been in sales or how great on the telephone you are, not every
call will be perfect. The call may not be, but you can be. If you strive to be
your best, to make every call perfect, than when one does not go well you are
prepared to say “oh well” and move on to the next one.
Successful use of the telephone boils
down to one attribute and it is found in every ‘A’ level sales person:
ATTITUDE. If you look upon your telephone as a useful tool, and not an obstacle
or some scary device, you will have a positive attitude toward making calls.
When you embrace the live conversation as your primary means of communication
you will have a positive attitude toward making calls. And, when you realize
that your sales process (and the quality of your leads) increases dramatically because
of your positive attitude then you will be witness to your own unbelievable
improvement in your calls and the use of your telephone.
Stop Texting. Stop Emailing. Pick Up
The Phone And Call Someone.