The telephone is a communication vehicle where you only have one chance to make a first impression and like many aspects of the business development process, preparation can dramatically enhance your performance. Here are some points you might like to consider before your next call.
Ensure that your physical location is conducive to having a productive conversation. Ideally you want a quiet location with no background noise or interruptions. If you are in an office that does not have this, consider using a meeting room to make those important calls.
Frame of mind
A positive frame of mind is essential. If you are not in the right frame of mind, hold that call.
A useful technique for getting into a positive state is to remember a previous phone call that went well and to re-associate with the positive feelings of that experience.
Also “visualize” your next call; feel, hear and see yourself speaking in a confident, friendly, engaging, professional and assertive manner with the prospect responding positively to you.
Be clear on the objective of your phone call. If you are providing a service or solution requiring a degree of financial commitment, it is unlikely that the prospect will buy on the phone, so the objective of the call is to get a meeting. Once a meeting has been agreed, end the call and start preparing for the meeting.
Ensure that you have undertaken enough prospect research to help you have a meaningful conversation.
Ensure that you have planned the key elements of your call – the conversational milestones- which should include; informing them of the purpose of your call, demonstrating that you have done your homework on their business, creating interest of what’s in it for them and outlining what you want to happen next.
Think through their potential objections and your response.
Pen and paper ready
Have pen and paper ready to capture the key points of the conservation – avoid the “what was that other point they said was important?” thought to yourself after the call.
Practice the call
Role play a call with a colleague; it might give you an insight on how to improve your performance in the real call.