Communication Talent / Culture

8 Ways to Be More Effective on a Business Phone Call

by Nina Quasebarth
January 2, 2018

In a world of distractions, making a real connection is a rare and valuable event. A business phone call is one of the best ways to make those connections in our noisy digital world, but its also easy to squander that opportunity. Apply these simple rules use your phone time more effectively and be sure that the person on the other end will be happy to see your name pop up on caller ID. 

1. Add a business line to your BYOD

BYOD has grown to become the dominant business model for lean businesses that care about employee engagement. In the past, calling from your own mobile meant exposing your private number to the general public and opening up the network to hackers. That’s not true anymore. The solution is to add a cloud-based business line to your mobile phone with a virtual PBX. If there’s a region of the world where you want to do more business, choose a local number in that region for your business line. Studies show that people are much more likely to pick up the phone if they call a call coming in from a local number.

2. Follow up five times

Nearly all calls require some kind of follow up, yet 90% of sales reps give up after 4 contacts. Nobody likes rejections, but a professional dedications is far more productive. Studies show that around 80% of sales happen after the 5th contact, suggesting that only around 10% of sales reps are making 8 out of 10 sales. The fact is that follow up is an essential success skill for professionals everywhere, not just in sales. Phone-based follow up keeps projects on track and teams aligned for faster problem solving. Two keys to effective follow up are quick preparation and easy access to all your notes so you set up your next steps after the call.   

3. Stay aware of your environment

Teleconferences can save a great deal of time and money, but not if you can’t hear the other people on the line. Keep your mic muted if you have to multitask, chew, or talk to someone else in the room. Mute is also essential when wind or background noise interferes with your sound quality. It takes time to get used to using your mute, and you will probably start talking with the mute on several times before you master this skill.

4. Prevent interruptions

Interruptions are more than just annoying, they are cutting into profitability. Productivity researchers concluded that interruptions cost US businesses $588 billion annually. Employee surveys revealed that they are regularly losing 40%-60% of their most productive time, despite innovations like telepresence, standing desks and collaborative portals. Call from a place where you won’t be interrupted and find out if your calls are interrupting coworkers. Many workers will just silently stew instead of confronting teammates so well-functioning teams regularly meet to smooth out any trouble spots before they become problems.

5. Use professional quality voice services

Your phone line is the audio representative of your business. If there are echoes, jitter or lost calls, potential don’t blame your phone company, they blame you. The most important call your business receives could be the one that dropped. Virtual PBX systems run on VoIP from the massive server farms of the major carriers. Next generation VoIP improvements like HD Voice have vastly improved voice quality over early deployments. In 2018, 5G is rolling out to more locations with much faster broadband speeds while boosted WiFi will offer a stronger signal over a wider area. Growing business will be able to better quality voice calls at a rate much less than an on-premise PBX.

6. Prioritize the time you spend on the phone

You should never miss a call from a present or future customer, but you don’t have time to field random questions or deal with unwanted calls. Even small businesses can now afford to have an AI auto-attendant to give the business a professional voice, direct calls to the right person and screen out unproductive calls. If you have to miss a call, make sure your call log automatically keeps track of who has been called back and who still needs help.

7. Don't call until you are prepared

There's a big disconnect between sales reps and buyers in terms of how they view their interactions. A Forrester Research report found that 80% of execs feel that sales meetings are a “waste of time.” While sales reps grade their own understanding of customer issues at A-, execs give the a solid F. Good preparation comes from solid notes. Spend just a few minutes researching the prospect’s industry news, social posts and company website before the call. Keep good notes of any call you make as soon as possible after the call and make sure notes from previous contacts are available to everyone who may talk to the prospect. There are so many disappointed buyers out there that a little extra preparation can have a huge positive effect. 

8. Use digital tools to enhance the call

A desk phone and a desktop computer are relics of the 20th century. Today, a mobile phone with a series of productivity apps are the signs of a successful professional. Use all the technology at your disposal to enhance your recall of customer data, schedule your follow up calls, research questions while the caller is on the line, etc. Technology can free up your cognitive resources so you can actively listen to the caller and amplify the impact of your work by eliminating repetitious tasks. A phone alone is no longer enough to be successful. You need a global virtual PBX for a rapidly-changing mobile world.

Simplify to reach more buyers at lower costs

The future of work is mobile, and speed is its currency. Technology that is agile, flexible and intuitive enough to serve the mobile user can boost productivity significantly. Technology that's too complex will only slows the mobile user down and compromise company performance.

Spoke Phone was designed to simplify the business phone call and make it easier for you to grow your business. See how easy it is to have a global, mobile network in a matter of minutes:

We’re working on intuitive features that help you manage all your call needs within a simple application that can run in the background. A shared call log, smart directory and smart geo-routing eliminates the need for complex menus and programming.

We’re also building a suite of next generation productivity features that can help you easily follow up and document outcomes from phone calls, all within the application, using voice UX to share and save pertinent action items. Want to learn more about Spoke Phone, and how it works? Sign up for an interactive demo and see how simple a business phone system can really be.

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