Telephone Meetings and Telemarketing are Not Dead!
The business telephone meeting and telemarketing to generate leads is not dead. It’s not dead in the one-on-one context and it’s not dead in the context of the teleconference that involves several people. In this day and age of the Internet with its instant messaging and e-mails and even its online virtual meetings, it seems like the telephone meeting is an afterthought. But telephone meetings are not only still around, they also have the capacity to be just as effective as they ever were.
People like hearing a voice in real-time instead of reading IM messages or e-mails. What about those virtual meetings held online? They’re great in many ways, but they’re not flawless. Sometimes they are much too cumbersome where a teleconference would do just fine. And what about using the telephone to actually set up these meetings, or in-person meetings, in the first place? Not even Skype is as convenient, what with the fast pace of business, as the cell phone or the office “ground line”. The cell phone is even more portable than the laptop (if docs or pics need to be shared, the 4G cell phone is now here!), and you can’t pace to heat up those thoughts with a laptop (ha!). The ground line, though nowadays so often a VoIP line, can still be navigated from individual contact to individual contact faster than Skype can be.
But telephone meetings won’t get you very far without professional telephone skills. It’s got to be said that many people in business today don’t have much skill in that area because of their dependence on the Internet. So let’s look at some important telephone skills tips.
Telephone Skills Tips
First, you should place or take a telephone call from a quiet area. It’s not pleasant for either party to have to try to deal with lots of background noise during a telephone call. Call from, or receive a call in, a quiet place that you know well. If you happen to get an expected call while in a place with much background noise, just move to the quiet place. If you’re on the ground line and it’s a noisy environment, ask the client to let you call him back in a minute or two, so that you can relocate yourself. By the way, a “quiet place” has absolutely nothing to do with a relaxed place. You should be sitting forward, sitting straight, and even dressed in a way that professionally inspires you.
Next, once you’re on the call, be prepared to listen much more than you talk. And by listen, that means hear. Actually hear what the client says, rather than just let their words go in one ear and out the other while you wait to jump. And don’t jump in with punctuated efforts like “Right” or “I see” or “OK”. These are insincere responses and will turn off your client whether you even realize their feeling of offense or not. It is quite alright to begin a response with any of those words and phrases, but you have to be able to follow right up with something much more detailed and to the client’s point. It’s quite alright also for you to take down written notes on your end, for you to refer to when you do get the chance to speak back to the client.
If you have anything negative or critical to say, don’t be dishonest, but at the same time use neutral language. Say things like “I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I would advise” or “I think you could find it helpful to…”. Don’t confront the client with “you should” or “you need to”. Even if you are truly smarter than the client, never appear so. Always appear as a friend who is just trying to give wise counsel.
For teleconference calls, some basics are: plan for the meeting to be simple; write down and distribute your objective for the meeting; and, write out the agenda and make sure that all participants have it at least 24 hours in advance so that they can prepare their thoughts on the matter.
Now that you know some of the basic things that you need to do to have successful telephone meetings, if you’re like many people you’ll still find that you need help setting up the appointments. ALEA Group can help you set appointments for your meetings or online events. Call for a free consultation on your next demand generation process today.