Archive for October, 2010
Halloween is this Sunday! Need a tip to market your practice? Have a Spa or Treat Week! Find out how by watching the video.
“There are three kinds of people in the world, the wills, the won’ts and the can’ts. The first accomplish everything; the second oppose everything; the third fail in everything.” -Eclectic Magazine
Last week, I talked about how to win clients over the phone. This week, let’s look at how to leave telephone messages that will boost that final opinion to one of an on-going, on brand, positive relationship!
We live in a world of answering machines and “voice mail”. This is especially true in the business world. How many of us find ourselves playing “telephone tag” with each other. By the time you actually speak with the person you were trying to contact you’ve left 2 or 3 messages. In those short message exchanges, the party on the other line has already formed an opinion about you based solely on your speaking voice.
In order that people form a good image about you here are some tips which will can help your spoken image.
Tips when “Leaving” a telephone message
1. Do not speak too fast! – Slow down when you are leaving a message, especially if you have an accent. I receive many messages where I cannot even understand what the person is saying. Even worse, I cannot write fast enough and I find myself replaying the message several times to record the entire message.
2. Pronounce your name clearly – Announce your name slowly and clearly, especially if your name is not a common name. Spell your name slowly if necessary. Allow people to get the correct spelling of your name.
3. Slow down when saying your telephone number – People state their telephone numbers TOO FAST! Say the numbers slowly and place a “pause” somewhere in the sequence of providing your number. People will appreciate this, especially me!
4. Give your company name, your title & why you are calling – Describe in a few short sentences who you are, which company you are with and why you are calling.
5. Let them know when to call you back – Leave a date, time, and preferred telephone number for people. They can’t return your telephone call if you don’t leave your telephone number. Providing them with the preferred time to call back makes it much easier for them.
6. Always sound professional – Remember what I indicated in the beginning of this article. People DO judge you by the tone of your voice and what you say. If you come across sounding unprofessional in your message, they may not return your telephone call. Also, do not leave very long winded messages or they will stop listening. When you answer the phone, be warm and enthusiastic. Your voice at the end of the telephone line is sometimes the only impression of your company a caller will get.
“By associating with wise people you will become wise yourself.” –Menander
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but how many of us make judgements about people just based on their telephone speaking voice? People form opinions and make judgements about us in the first 60 seconds they see us. People also make judgements about us based on the way we sound on the telephone. There are some interesting statistics that show people develop a perception about you within the first 30 seconds of a phone conversation and their final opinion of you in the last 30 seconds.
Because people cannot “see” us over the telephone they will form these opinions based not only what we say, but also on “how” we say it. In fact the message we communicate over the telephone is based on two qualities; (1) “What” we say (Verbal) and (2) “How” we say it. Several studies have indicated that as much as 87% of the opinions people form about us, when speaking to us on the telephone, are based on the tone of our voice. Only 13% is based on the actual words we use. We all do this. People can “hear”
our personality and mannerisms through the tone of our voice.
Tips “Answering” the Telephone
1. Breathe! Before you pick up the phone, take a deep breath. Most of us are what they call “shallow breathers”. We take small breaths we sound tired when we answer the phone. The goal is to sound like you like your job and you are glad they called.
2. Identify yourself. Since they have taken the time to call you, you may answer the phone this way; “Thank you for calling Alexandria Therapeutic Massage, this is Linda Roisum, how can I make it a great day for you?” Hokey, maybe; memorable, maybe; friendly, you bet. Since I have an unusual last name, this helps me say it first so that the caller doesn’t have to fumble with the pronunciation.
3. Be Sincere. If we are honest with ourselves, we are all “problem solvers” in some way. People call us on the phone to have a problem answered. Whether it is to get driving directions, or hours of operation or questions about our services, they have a question and want it answered quickly, intelligently and politely.
4. Be prepared before you answer the telephone – Have a pad of paper and pencil ready when you answer your telephone. Write down the person’s name who has called so you can use their name during your conversation with them. People “love” to hear their name.
5. Listen attentively. Put everything down when you answer the phone! Easier said than done, isn’t? How many times have you been in your office answering email, talking on the phone, listening to your ipod and sipping on a Starbucks? Me too. Shame on us. Customers don’t like to be ignored and by multitasking, we are not focused on the customer’s wants and needs.
What to do if you are in a session or are gone for the day
If you use an answering machine to answer calls when you can’t, make sure that you have a professional message recorded. You may want to give pertinent information like your hours of operation and maybe your website for more information. Update your message as needed. For instance, if your business is going to be closed for a holiday, update your recorded answering machine message to say so and to say when your business will reopen.
Return telephone calls promptly! – To me, this is the most professional telephone habit people should possess. Be that person who DOES return telephone calls. Many people DO NOT return telephone calls! I have left numerous messages with people and companies who DO NOT return telephone calls. Quite often I have received a call from someone asking to order one of my products and I spend days, even weeks trying to contact them. I always try and return telephone calls within one business day. People who know me know that I am prompt in returning telephone calls.
You may also be interested in Tips of Leaving Messages
“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves. –Thomas Edison
I’m writing this blog post from Montana. We just arrived a few days ago for a two week vacation…and we drove. Yep, 2300 miles from Virginia — in four days.
My husband drives most of the time and his driving makes me a little nervous – o.k. a lot nervous, because he drives way too fast (in my opinion) – so I try to occupy myself so as to not annoy him with my backseat driving. I did a lot of thinking about new classes I want to offer, what direction I want my business to take and about business in general.
Here are three business lessons I picked up driving and driving and driving cross country.
1. Look to where you want to go.
I’m a much better passenger than a driver because I much rather look around at my surroundings. On our third day of driving, my husband was a little tired and asked me to drive so he could take a short nap. We were driving through North Dakota on a very boring stretch of highway with not many cars, so I found myself looking at some of the scenery mostly wheat fields… What do you think happened? The car started to drift off to where I was looking. Not very pleasant for my husband sleeping as I jerked the car back on to the road.
The same thing can be said for our business. When we don’t look to where we want to go — keeping our business goals — we tend to drift off course.
2. Have business and personal goals.
I heard this saying and I can’t remember who said it, but it went something like this “If you don’t know where you are going, you just might end up there.” We had 2300 miles to cover in four days, so I figured that we had to do about 550 miles per day.
Do you have goals for your business (and for your life)? If you do, good for you! You should! If you don’t have specific, measurable goals for your business or personally, you might want to read this article I wrote for Bellaonline about establishing goals (at the beginning of the year).
3. Be flexible
You should expect that your plan can and will change. Life has a funny way of throwing unexpected events and circumstances at us. Our drive was the perfect example of having to be flexible – very flexible.
Day 1, we got a later start than we had anticipated and by 5 p.m. is was very pissy weather. So we made it as far as Ohio – about 150 short of our goal.
At the beginning of day 2, I said “let’s just take the 175 miles and divide it by three and add that to our 550 miles that we have to do each day. So now, we have to do 600 miles each day for the next three days. Driving through Indiana, we hit a major snag. We were driving along and all of a sudden we came to an abrupt halt. After sitting there for about an hour, we heard that there was an accident ahead and they were cleaning up Hazmat materials after the accident. We happened to be it a very opportune spot. There was an exit ramp about 50 feet ahead…all we had to do was get on the other side of the 18-wheeler that was blocking us. So with my best smile, I asked if he could back up a little so we could get through to the exit ramp. Once on the exit ramp, we asked the booth attendant how we could get back on the highway after the accident. After a few turns and a couple miles down, we were back on the highway and moving at a brisk pace. But now we are 90 minutes behind schedule. Needless to say, we didn’t make the 600 miles.
In order to be in Whitefish by early evening on October 1st (our check day), we had to haul a** on day 3. We did it! Between my husband and me driving, we drove almost 800 miles leaving only 565 miles for day 4.
Instead of getting upset about our drive not going according to plan and creating all sorts of stress, we were flexible and created alternate mini goals (daily goals) to reach the ultimate goal (getting to Whitefish by October 1st before 6 p.m.). Flexibility is the key to accomplish anything but the simplest goal.
Next time you have a goal-setting session, “think BIG and get to the NEXT level” and get uber specific. Do you want more revenue? More net income? Exactly how much more? By when? From what services (or products) services? How will this next level impact your lifestyle? The time you spend working vs. playing?
The secret here is to be precise as you can be. You can have anything you want in your business (really!), but until you can articulate exactly what that is, no one can help you get it.
Got thoughts or feedback here? Leave a comment and let me know!