Make Money on the Phone - Part 3
Presenting a Business Image on Your Home Phone
My friend Brenda mentioned last week that she was going to have to stop answering the telephone by saying "Hello."
Brenda is a phone-savvy woman, and a superb marketeer. She has built three multi-level marketing businesses - providing her children with college educations, wonderful wedding receptions, and netting a new Cadillac each year for herself.
But this month Brenda hit the big time. People started calling her. And she found that answering with a cheery Hello? doesn't give the same professional image she portrays when she is placing a call.
You can join Brenda in presenting a business image from your home phone by implementing these practices.
1: Answer the phone on the second or third ring. Studies show that callers aren't prepared to speak when they've only heard the phone ring once.
So give your callers a chance to swallow - let the phone ring two or three times before you pick it up.
2: Say "Hello" and then say your name. Whether in my office or at home, (I give my home number to all my clients,) I answer "Hello, Wendy Kinney speaking." With this script the caller recognizes that it is now their turn to identify themselves.
If the caller doesn't respond with "This is Chris Jones" it's my cue to ask, "Who is calling, please?"
3: Teach everyone in the household rules 1 and 2. You can post a sign by each telephone, like managers do at the pizza parlor, or you can have a family business meeting with role playing exercises, but make it a rule that any member of the family who isn't 'phone certified' by your business doesn't get to answer the phone.
This rule applies to your children's friends, your visiting in-laws and your next door neighbor.
4: Be sure everyone is prepared to take a message. If your home phone has now become your business line, anyone who answers the phone must be prepared to represent your business professionally. Make it the 5-year-old's job to check each phone for paper and pen every day.
Your income depends on making callers feel they've gotten better service from you than they would have received from anyone else.
5: Get each message through. Have a system for passing phone messages on. A cork board with columns for each member of the family; magnets on the refrigerator; a quick call to your cell phone voice mail - be sure everyone knows that the success of the family vacation may depend on the message they just took for the family business.
6: Get a hold button. Use it. Yelling "It's for you" isn't the image you want to portray. See your business big now, and it will grow to meet your dreams. If your phone doesn't have a hold button, get a new instrument.
In the mean time, teach everyone to say "He'll be right with you," and then walk to the next room to deliver the message.
7: If you're going to take the call anyway, there's no need to screen it. Teach family members that you'll let them know who was on the phone when you finish with the call. It isn't necessary for them to ask who is calling.
If you would like your calls screened, consider the phrase "Shall I tell her who's calling." The words "shall I" give the caller the impression that it is their decision.
8: "Thank you for calling me. " Gail Kurlansky taught me this script. I use it on my voice mail message, "This is Wendy Kinney speaking. Thank you for calling me. Please leave a detailed message. I'll call you right back."
I remember how I felt the first time Gail said "Thank you for calling me," to me. I see dollars marching to the bank every time I let a prospect know that I appreciate their call.
9: Disconnect Call Waiting. You're on the phone with a new prospect and Call Waiting cuts in. If you ask them to hold you are telling them that the unknown caller is more important to you than they are. If you ignore the beep they'll wonder if someday you will ignore them, too.
Call waiting is never used by a professional business. Instead choose features called Call Forward When Busy and Call Forward No Answer to send the second call to voice mail. Let each caller know that they have your full attention when they are speaking with you.
10: Have a separate business line.
If your family isn't ready for these systems, get a separate business line.
If you have already prepared business cards and brochures with your home phone number on them, the new number will become your personal line.
Spread the word - you're in business now.
This is part two of a three part article.
Part 1: The Best Techniques to Use When Selling Over the Phone
Part 2: Using Voice Mail Effectively
Ready. Set. Go Make Money!
Wendy L. Kinney, PowerGenerator at the referral marketing network PowerCore, is a speaker, trainer and author based in Atlanta. Known for her trademark seminar titled "Ready . . . Set . . . Go Make Money!" Kinney also covers such topics as "Fishing for Referrals in the River of Life," "Money is Chocolate: Get Off Your Diet," and "Networking Aerobics: Cardiovascular Activity for Your Wallet." She has produced an audiocassette tape pack titled "Exceptional Networking: Getting in Touch, Staying in Touch, and Making it Count in Dollars and Sense." Reach Wendy by e-mail at email@example.com.