In business, the humble phone is such an important tool – yet many business owners will not dial a prospect or debtor. The reasons for this span from; a simple lack of purpose, through to a real phobia or fear, however the outcome is the same – the call is not made – and this is what costs business.
For the bulk of people, the avoidance of making critical phone calls can be overcome by following some practical steps along with some honest perseverance. For the smaller group who still find issues, then face into the issue and seek some professional assistance to work through the underlying fear.
The two types of phone calls which I continually witness Business Owners having the greatest aversion to are;
- Prospect calling – ringing to proactively offer services or products. The primary reason for this appears to be an aversion to imposing themselves on someone else – typically, because the owner fears the rejection of them saying no. In business, some prospects will say no – but until you call them, you will never know. Often it is that one extra call you make which will drive real success.
- Debtor calls – calling to follow up an outstanding account which is now overdue. For this call type, the underlying reason appears to be embarrassment around having to follow up the outstanding account. The clear reality is that you have delivered the product or service, which the client was not embarrassed about taking – so there is no good reason to be embarrassed about asking them to now pay for it!
I want to acknowledge the genuine concern that business owners have about these, but equally – you must push past them. Not ringing prospects and not following up overdue accounts are two great ways to kill off a business.
So when faced with the prospect of calling, try these simple (and time tested) strategies;
- The clearer you can be on the objective of the call – the simpler it is to steer the conversation towards it.
- It could be booking a meeting, arranging to drop in a sample or just get acknowledgement of an outstanding debt – whatever it is, know what you are trying to achieve before you pick up the phone.
Mindset / Confidence
- Start with a positive mindset, as you will be more effective when you are in a good mood and high on confidence. This may be the primary influencer on when you make calls, so if you have a good “win” in another part of the business, then capitalise on it and make a call. Equally if you make one call and get a good result – then make another, and another and another.
- Whilst I’m cautious of giving too many “opt outs”, if you come into work having had a bad nights sleep, are low on energy and perhaps have a headache – don’t pick up the phone. You are physically at a low point and this will impact your calling ability. Its better to acknowledge this – put the calling off until the next day (no longer) and do some other type of internal work.
- Having all of the relevant information in front of you, knowing what you are going to say, and being clear on the objective of the phone call – simply makes the call easier.
- For example, if its a prospect call, have all of the relevant information of your product or service at your finger tips. During the call you don’t want to have to pause the conversation to find specifications, pricing and availability.
- For a debtor call, being clear on the details of the outstanding account – what it was for, when it was issued and the details of any prior conversations.
- Scripting does not need to be something that you perfectly recite on a call…..but it can be. It can also be one or two lines or a half dozen bullet points which provide some guidance when you are speaking.
- Scripting can be an incredibly powerful tool to get over nerves, as it provides a clear structure for you to follow. As many phone calls are short – good considered scripting also enables you to cut to the point quickly if you need to.
- This will vary depending on the type of call, but I have always found that out-bound calling is best completed on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 9.30-11.30am. This avoids the busy Monday’s and the often disinterested Fridays, as well as giving the recipient some time at the start of each day to sort out emails etc and get into their own daily schedule.
- Naturally, you can make calls at any point of the week – but just think about when its going to be the best time for your energy/mindset etc and also when it is going to be convenient for the recipient.
- As these calls need to be made, book the time in your schedule to do them – as you will be more likely to get them done.
- Simply relying on making them when you get to it, will seldom work.
All of these points will assist with the effectiveness of your calling. While I have not included Practice as one of the points above, practice and experience do make calls easier over time. The more you make, the more comfortable you become with your scripting and…the more successful you will be.
As with most elements in business – action is the key to achievement. If you are having issues with picking up the phone for the outbound calls, then spend a few minutes considering the above points to better position yourself for calling success.
To learn more about how you can remove contact calling as a barrier to success in your business, contact us at www.scsperformance.com.au.