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Smile Over The Phone: 7 Phone Skills Small Business Owners Need!

I spend hours of precious work time each week analyzing small business owners phone calls, habits, skills, bad habits, etc. I have found that hands down phone skills are one of the most needed areas of improvement among small business owners. It is in the improvement of phone skills/phone sales skills that almost every business owner can dramatically increase their bottom line.

This article is my way of giving back to the small business community by sharing 10 phone skill tips/techniques that should be developed or used by every small business owner out there.

Phone Skill #1: Smile Over The Phone

People can hear a smile over the phone! Read that sentence over again. People can hear a smile over the phone! Now think about it. If you can take one thing away from this article, please let it be this one.

Practice it Right Now!

It is really important that this becomes engrained in your brain. So I want you to do it right now. Out load answer your phone as if someone just called you. Before you answer put a big smile on. After your conversation with yourself hang up and try it again. This time do not smile. You will notice a big difference. It is amazing what a smile can do and you will be even more amazed at how a smile can make you hundreds or even thousands of dollars more. Again, if this is all you read and if you apply it every time you answer a phone call, you will improve your bottom line. Am I being clear enough?

You can keep this simple yet amazingly powerful tip/skill to yourself but I encourage you to do like I did and share it with one person or many people via facebook, an email, a phone call, a text, or if you are really feeling generous write your own article on your website and talk about it or share it with people by sending them here. It is worth passing along.

*If you feel awkward practicing this without someone actually being on the other line, feel free to call me at 678-723-3558 or 877-830-3075. I answer my phone religiously from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST Monday – Friday & am pretty good at answering it on saturdays too but will not answer it on sundays or do any business on sundays.

Words from the Pros:
Travis Clarke with Earls Quality Car Care located in Peachtree City, GA.

I wish I could say that I came up with the line "They can hear a smile over the phone" but I didn't. While working on this article I was meeting with one of my good friends who manages an auto shop in my town. I immediately began to pick his brain regarding phone sells and customer relation skills. During the interview he said "They can hear a smile over the phone", referring to the customers. After the interview I tested it out and was like, duh, of course they can. Every time I smile and begin to talk my enthusiasm increases, my mood is better, and I am way more energetic.

Thanks Travis for sharing your years of experience. His comments and ideas have been spread throughout the article.

Visit our Resources section at the bottom of this article to read more about our professional contributors and visit their profiles.

Phone Skill #2: Assume Every Person Calling is Going To Be a Customer

If you doubt that the person on the other end of the phone is going to be a customer, they will doubt too. I have seen large increases in conversion percentages based on this. When you assume that they will buy your conversion % will increase. Another way to put this is to expect success

What Does This Look Like?

Assuming that the caller is going to buy your services or products will look slightly different depending on your business. Here are some examples of what a person may say who assumes they will be a customer.

Questions

1. I am looking for an air conditioning company to fix my ac in my house. Do you guys do that?

2. I have a leak in my roof and need it fixed.

3. I locked myself out of my car. Do you unlock cars?

Assuming The Sale

1. Yes we do. We repair air conditioning units every day and will do this for you. We will get someone out to you today. Does the morning or afternoon work best for you?

2. I can look at it today, give you a price on the spot, and can repair most basic leaks within an hour to 2 hours. What is your address?

3. Yes we do, Mike is our locksmith on call today. He is the best and has over 12 years experience unlocking cars. What is your address and I will dispatch him immediately?

Phone Skill #3: Qualify The Call

One of the most valuable assets a small business owner has is his or her time. Each and every business owner has 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Each hour is precious and can’t be given back.

Qualifying each call is a key phone skill to have. What does it mean to qualify a call? It means to listen and ask the right questions to know if the person has a profitable probability to spend money with the company.

For example, if every business owner could tell the difference between a price shopper without the means or intentions to actually buy verses someone who is motivated and able to make a purchase, then a lot of money and time would be saved.

Know what questions to ask to determine real potential custoemrs.

Qualifying Questions

1. What is the purpose of your call?

2. When are you looking to get this done by?

3. Are you just price shopping?

Phone Skill #4: Don't Be Afraid of Silence

Too often sales people or small business owners get nervous after telling the potential customer the cost of their services. This especially happens when there is silence after the price is revealed.

Don’t be afraid of the silence. Be confident in your price and the value of services or products your are offering at that price. The silence is not a bad thing. Nervous talking that interrupts the silence can hurt the sale, lose the sale, or dramatically decrease the amount of revenue generated by the sale because you talk yourself into a deal.

Phone Skill #5: K.I.S.S.

Of course everyone has heard of this one before. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. When someone says too much they end up saying nothing at all. Don’t get trapped in the all too human behavior of overcomplicating something. Remember that you don’t have to tell the customer everything and about your services, company, guarantees, system, etc. There will be time later for explanations and details that may be long and complicated…the first phone call is not the place for it.

Phone Skill #6: Let Them Talk

Knowing when to talk and when to listen is a huge skill when talking on the phone. Phone conversations can be very awkward because it is easy to interrupt, talk to much, say the wrong things, not be understood correctly, etc. The more you talk the more chances you have at doing one or more of these things.

Let them talk.

The more you know about their needs the better and you will learn by asking the right questions and then listening. Remember that there is a difference between letting the other person talk and losing control of the conversation. You don’t want the other person to control the conversation but you do want them to do the majority of the talking.

A good way to plan out or practice what you need to say is to create three columns on a sheet of paper. The first column will be questions that you can ask. The second column will be all the possible answers they can give to those questions. The third column will be the simple yet precise value you offer to them based of the questions and answers.

Phone Skill #7: Highlight Value

People always want to know what they are going to get. A good phone skill to have is the ability to make the value clear and desirable to the caller. Remember to always highlight what you are going to do for them and what they are going to get.

A lot of small business owners will subconsciously highly the cost which is often seen as a negative by consumers unless it is an amazing deal. Most small business owners don’t make money off amazing deals but they are known for extremely good services that are high quality.

Join My Facebook Group For Marketing!

I have created a private Facebook group where I answer questions and share my articles on marketing. Feel free to connect with me here and ask me whatever you want.

I can’t promise that I will always be able to provide the answer for you but I am working on it everyday. I do own and operate a business and have many clients that I do marketing for.

How To Join?

Click on the link below and request to join. Once I get your request I will approve it. I invite you to participate in the group and always add value to the group and I will do the same.

→ Join Here: eWebify’s Facebook Group on Marketing

Resources

1. Travis Clarke from Earls Quality Car Care. Travis was kind enough to do an interview with me as I picked his brain on phone skills and working with customers.

2. I have helped train small business owners to develop some of the above phone skills in order to increase their conversion %. I also analyze hours and hours of phone calls each week between small business owners and customers.

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