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Business Report #1

Tips For Handling Business Phone Calls

Often times, we overlook the power of the telephone. There have been many times when I left the answering machine on to screen my calls. But I discovered that most people don't like to leave a message. They would rather talk to a real live human being.

I saw this trait even in myself. When I was in the market to purchase a modem, for example, I called several companies comparing prices and features. If an answering machine came on, I normally would hang up the phone because I wanted the information NOW so I could make my decision. On modems I was especially interested in buying, I would leave a message. If the company didn't call me back within 24-hours I forgot about them. In the end I chose to buy a modem from a company that had a higher price, but they seemed the most interested in my business and had, in fact, returned my telephone call.

Now I realize that as one-person operations, we cannot always answer all our telephone calls, but we can play back the messages as soon as possible and return telephone calls. In fact, almost every time I return a telephone message the customer will say: Thanks so much for calling me back. Some are amazed that I even made the effort. This tells me a large majority of people are losing a lot of business because they are afraid to return a few simple 2-minute telephone calls.

Now let's look at how to handle the telephone call once you receive one. To reiterate, I landed all my previous jobs due to the result of an interview with an employer. And one thing I learned from an executive a long time ago is to let the employer do all the talking during an interview. Why? I asked. Because when you leave the interview, the employer will have a good feeling simply because he/she did all the talking. Think about this for a moment and you'll find it to be true.

Of course there are variables to this. One time I interviewed with an employer who was smart. He sat back in his chair, was a man of very few words and allowed me to sell my skills. This was certainly a switch but one of challenge, which I enjoyed greatly.

The first step, when faced with a situation like this is to RELAX. This employer is not God. Getting turned down by this employer is really no big deal. You were looking before you had this interview, right? Play any games you have to with your mind to relax. Because if you appear nervous and frigid, the man of few words will be totally turned off and probably not hire you. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule but this scenario holds true for the majority of these situations.

Okay what have we learned by this? When you are marketing any product you must think of your customer as the employer you are seeking to work for. Imagine yourself on a job interview. Pattern your mannerisms in this fashion and you will find yourself climbing the ladder to success.

In direct mail, your mailing piece takes the place of your personal appearance. Sloppy mailings are the same thing as walking into a job interview for an Account Executive with boxer shorts and dirty tennis-shoes on. In other words, sloppy mailings damage all chances for your success. You may be saving money but your company is losing much more.

So stop for a moment and learn how to conduct yourself in a professional business manner over the telephone. Learn to recognize the different types of people by LISTENING to them. Never, never, never do all the talking. Allow the customer time to explain what they want or need and then find a way to fill that need in the hopes of securing an order. Hardselling doesn't work anymore. But when people WANT to buy from you, you have a good customer for life!!