Monday, April 13, 2009

How to Make Your Phone Calls SO Engaging that Customers Never Want to Hang Up

“I feel like we could talk forever!”
“Wow, has it been a whole hour already?”
“This has been the most enjoyable phone call of my week!”


How many of your customers are saying that about YOU?

Answer: Not enough.

Take your pick:

Chatting with a hot prospect…
Following up with a new client…
Interviewing with a potential employer…
Interviewing with a member of the media…
Hosting a teleseminar for your membership…
Participating on a conference call with your superiors…

Whomever you define as your “customer,” the challenge in approaching people over the phone is to make your phone conversations MORE.

More engaging. More listenable. More interesting. More fun. More relaxing. More unforgettable.

REMEMBER: Because they can’t see you, (unless you’re Skyping), they need to FEEL you.

After all, the only judgment people can make – the only impression their unconscious mind can form – is a function of how interacting with you made them FEEL.

Here are three practices to make your phone calls SO engaging that customers never want to hang up.

1. Poll your past. Think back to the five most engaging phone calls you had this month. The ones where you felt like you could talk forever and never wanted to hang up. The ones where you sprung out of your chair and started pacing around the room.

What made those calls so interesting and listenable? Was it the passion? The energy? The topics discussed? The attitude you had before picking up the phone?

Now think back to the five most BORING phone calls you had this month. The ones where you caught yourself bobble heading and/or drooling. The ones where you tuned out the speaker and started playing solitaire.

What made those calls so boring and unlistenable? Was it the irrelevance? The lack of energy? The topics discussed? The fact that your boss was about as exciting as a WNBA pre-season game?

THEN, TRY THIS: Make a list of the attributes of those five engaging/boring calls. Look for commonalities and patterns. Then, step back ask yourself how well you embody/avoid those same attributes in your daily telepresence.

If the answer is “Not enough,” here’s what you do. Extract a few reminders from that list, i.e., “Get out your chair!” “SMILE” or “Talk about your passion!” Then, write them on sticky notices and post the reminders next to your phone.

This measure of accountability will punch youself in the face and immediately double the engagement and listenability of your phone calls. What structure could you put in place to remind yourself to do this consistently?

2. Writing metabolizes ideas. You know my mantra: “Writing is the basis of all wealth.” Now, one of the cool attributes of this philosophy is that writing makes everything you do easier, which, in turn, makes everything you do BETTER. Speaking. Thinking. Selling. Marketing. Talking. Everything.

Think about it. Imagine you have a phone interview with The Wall Street Journal THIS afternoon. At the reporter’s request, let’s say you’re going to share your expertise about how entrepreneurs can recession-proof their business. Cool!

TRY THIS: Spend an hour the morning of the interview journaling; brainstorming or free writing as many ideas as you possibly can on this topic. Forget about grammar, punctuation, spelling or sentence structure. Just think. Just write. Just puke onto the page whatever comes to mind. Let what wants to be written be written.

This process accomplishes four things:

FIRST: It clears away the crap. Gets the mental shanks out, if you will. This frees up a space where your best insights can comfortably arise.

SECOND: It brings clarity to your ideas. After all, you don’t know how you truly feel about anything until you’ve written about it.

THIRD: It normalizes, naturalizes and internalizes your material. See, any time you write something; it becomes etched upon your consciousness. “It goes into to The Matrix,” as the late George Carlin used to say – who, by the way, wrote twenty pages of new material EVERY DAY. Think it’s a coincidence he won dozens of Emmys, Grammies and The Mark Twain Award? Nope.

FOURTH: It builds your confidence. Writing isn’t exactly rehearsal, but it IS a form of preparation. And although most of the benefits will be subconscious, come interview time, the reporter on the other end of the phone will think, Wow! This girl really knows her stuff!

REMEMBER: The art is hiding the art. And writing makes everything you do easier and better. Especially making phone calls. Find a way to merge your writing practice with your telepresence. What did you write today?

3. Meaningful concrete immediacy. Those three words changed my life. (Read them again, please.) Timely. Relevant. Practical. The “How.” Stuff people can use TODAY. All keepers, no fluff. That’s what your clients want. That’s what the media wants. That’s what your audiences want. When they’re listening to your words, they need to be thinking to themselves, “I believe it, I can do it and I’d like to try it.”

TRY THIS: Grab a few more sticky notes. Post any of the following Phrases That Payses on your computer, bulletin board or, if you’re ambitious, directly on your phone.

o “How can my customers apply this TODAY?”
o “Does this leave an impression of value or vanity in people’s minds?”
o “I tell you that because I’m curious how YOU…”
o “This is important for you because…”
o “The secret is…”
o “Here’s the best part…”
o “Yes, and here’s why…”
o “Here’s the good news…”
o “The question you’ve got to ask is…”
o "The three questions you need to ask yourself are…”

REMEMBER: Give people the meat. Tell them how. Make your information applicable and actionable. What can people do TODAY?

More engaging. More listenable. More interesting. More fun. More relaxing. More unforgettable.

That’s what will happen to your telepresence if you execute these three practices.

Your customers – whether they’re clients, superiors, audience members or the media – will never want to hang up.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How engaging is your telepresence?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "27 Ways to OUT Your Competitors," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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