Let’s Talk about Talking on the Phone
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners share a mobile phone number for personal and business calls. This often makes good sense financially, and prevents one from having to carry around two phones. As a result, however, some business owners frequently answer their phone in a very casual manner, like they would respond if a good buddy called. I’ve heard “yeah”, “hey”, “what’s up”, and “hello” spoken with a very laid-back tone, which gives me the impression that they don’t value me or my time. Being greeted so casually throws me off a bit, as I expect a more formal greeting when I call a business. Sometimes I wonder if I called the correct number, and I am often tempted to hang up. At minimum I find myself having to ask, “Is this Business XYZ?”
A colleague recently told me that her husband conducts frequent interviews over the phone as a part of his job. If the person he calls answers the phone in a less than professional manner, he simply hangs up. He feels that if they don’t bother to greet him with a respectful tone, they are not qualified to even interview for the open position. Have you ever jeopardized an opportunity because of the way you answered the phone? It’s possible you did but you didn’t even know it!
How you answer the phone matters! If you are conducting business, speaking in a professional manner (or not) can win or lose customers. Here are some tips to help you instantly establish rapport with the people who call you and set you up for business success.
1. If you know the call is for business, answer the phone with your business name. For example: “Command Communication – This is Helen.” You might add, “How can I help you?”
2. If you aren’t sure if it is a business call or not, at least provide your name when you greet your caller. “Good Afternoon. This is Helen. How may I assist you today?”
3. Stand up (or sit up straight if that’s not possible) and smile when you answer the phone. Your callers can hear your smile as you speak, and good posture adds a confident tone to your voice.
4. When you recognize the name on the caller ID, greet that person warmly and by name. “Hi Sarah. How are you today?”
5. Consider also your outgoing voicemail greeting and the voicemail messages you leave for other people. Be succinct, professional, and pleasant. Also be sure to use your business name in your recorded messages.
6. If you use your phone for business and personal calls, make your outgoing voicemail greeting represent your business. Your friends and buddies don’t pay your bills!
Does your voicemail greeting sound professional? Is it the right length? Can people understand you? Are you wondering what to say in your greeting? I can help! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about my voicemail greeting makeover service.
“Think your voice mail message doesn’t mean anything? WRONG! I had no idea how much a simple message can affect what people think of me. Helen listened to my message and gave so much feedback I had to take notes. It was a valuable lesson in a first impression by phone. Taking advantage of Helen’s Voice Mail Makeover service doesn’t take much time but makes a giant difference.”
– Marcey Rader, Productivity and Health Coach. Bestselling Author and Speaker. Founder Work Well. Play More!® Institute