(The following is anarticle about telephone and entrepreneurial strategies I originally wrote and publised at eZineArticles in 2009 – It still attracts a lot of readers, and I thought it was pertinent to what we’re doing here at the Self Development and Growth site, and in particular with regard to successful entrepreneurship. I hope you enjoy it!)
Whether you are working for yourself as an network or internet marketing entrepreneur, or are employed by someone else, if your work ever involves taking telephone calls, then these simple tips can improve the first impressions your callers have of you if they happen to hear your answering machine greeting.
Let us offer an example from real life. An individual was scouring the Internet, looking for items to purchase for resale. After locating what looked to be a nice lot of designer wallets, he called the seller.
The seller was not at home; however, he had an answering machine greeting. After listening for a few seconds, the potential buyer hung up without leaving a message.
When asked why, he stated that he would not be doing business with this person, because the message on the answering machine turned him off. The buyer felt that the message carried a lot of “attitude” – one that would only be appreciated by a very narrow demographic.
Rather than using a universal answering machine greeting, the choice of the seller’s wording and tone of voice sounded as though he was assuming that only people from his particular walk of life would be calling.
In other words, it didn’t sound as though the seller was expecting phone calls from professionals.
You can use your imagination as to the kind of “greeting” met the potential buyer when he called.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.
There is no place in business – home based or otherwise, where slang or profanity is acceptable in business telephone etiquette. Why would you want to narrow your field of business prospects and customers?
So here are a few business telephone etiquette suggestions for recording your answering machine greeting or cellphone message that can go a long way in furthering your business potential – whether you are an 18-year old just starting out or someone who has a few decades of work experience under your belt.
1) When recording your voice mail or answering machine greetings, please turn off the music and/or in the background. While your choice of entertainment may suit your friends, it may not suit your caller. Why give someone a reason – even if it’s unconscious – a reason to avoid working or speaking with you?
2) Lose the attitude. Whether or not you think you are intimidating, tough, worldly, far too busy or cool, bored, or angry – the only thing your customer is going to hear is that you are insecure, immature, insincere, downright rude, and definitely not ready to do business with me. Anything but polite is just a turn off.
3) Do not let the kids record your message. It might be cute when the grandparents call, but if you are doing business (or, perhaps expecting a call about that new job you are really hoping to get) it’s just inappropriate.
4) Stand up and smile before recording your answering machine greetings. In another concrete example, there is one person whose message this author hears on occasion, and it sounds like the person is clinically depressed, or at very least, half asleep. The advice here is not to be giddy or jumping up and down like you’re on a game show – just stand up and smile before speaking.
5) State your name clearly, so that people know they have reached the right person. For example, Instead of “Hi, you’ve reached my phone machine…” or “Hi, it’s me…” or “Hi, you’ve reached Joe…” try, “Hi, you have reached Joe Smith…” If you have a business name, you can include that as well: “Hi, you have reached Joe Smith and ABC.com…”
6) Don’t assume that your caller’s name is “Dude,” or that he or she is “Sweet.” Example: “Dude! You’ve reached Joe – just leave a message…” or “Sweet! You got through, Dude! Sorry I can’t take the call…” Instead, ask the individual to leave his or her name when prompted. If they want to call you “Dude,” or tell you how “Sweet” something is, that’s their decision, and it won’t impact your sales.
7) Finally, when you have recorded your answering machine greeting, listen to it. Would you want to do business with you? Would your elderly great grandfather want to do business with you? How about the richest person in town? The poorest person in town?
If so, then others will as well.
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