The Best Business Phone Call Ever

Part of owning a business is spending time on the phone. You can maximize your effectiveness and make those phone calls pay off by remembering a few guidelines.
 

1. Prepare for the Call: First get very clear about what you want as an outcome for the call. Is it to build relationships? Get information? Set an appointment? Make a sale? Prior to making your call, make a list of the items you want to cover. Some of the most effective sales people work from scripts and outlines. By preparing, you're not wasting your time, or the time of the person on the other line, trying to remember things during the conversation.

2. Permission to talk:  Always assume the other person is busier than you and check to see if this is a good time to speak to them. If it isn't, have another specific time in mind that you can call back. "How would tomorrow at 10 AM work for you? Good? I'll put you on my calendar and call then."

3. Know your time limit: "I only have 10 minutes, but I know we can cover what we need to in that time." You have let them know you respect both your time and theirs. When those minutes have passed, tell them it was wonderful talking, and hang up.
 

4. Take notes: Few of us have a perfect memory. Keep a phone log of who you talk to and when. I keep a spiral notebook by my phone and record information of incoming and outgoing calls with a brief log of what we spoke of. If I need to remember a specific date or time, I immediately write it on my calendar, usually while I'm still on the phone.
 

5. Set a timer: If you know you have an issue with lingering on the phone too long, set a timer to go off after the allotted 5-10 minutes you allow. It is so easy to get involved in the details of the conversation that you forget the time.
With conscious practice, you will become much more efficient and productive with the telephone. That will result in time saved, a better bottom line.