Telephone Etiquette Essentials

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Those of you who live in Florida or visit here know that Floridians love their driveways. Weve got all kindsfrom stone to concrete to blacktop. I remember visiting the client of a Niles dealer in Naples who had custom-made pavers shaped and colored like the famous M.C. Escher ink and watercolor drawing Study of Regular Division of the Plan with Birds.

With this in mind, when it came time to resurface my driveway, I wanted the job done by someone I could trust. And finding someone wasnt hard. Two driveway companies in my area send out regular mailers and I had saved copies of both.

I began by calling one of them, Jims Driveways. A professional-sounding person answered, Jims Driveways, this is Jim speaking. I explained to Jim that I wanted resurfacing work done and asked him to stop by my house, look over the driveway, and call me back with a quote. He agreed, took down my number and said goodbye.
Feeling I was halfway to having the job completed, I called the second company, Perfect Pavers. Again, a professional person answered, Hello, this is Perfect Pavers. How may I help you? As I did before, I explained that I needed work done and asked the same that I did of Jims Driveways. The agent agreed to have one of their installers, Alex, call me with a quote.

Later that week I received calls from both companies. The quote from Perfect Pavers was 15-percent higher than that of Jims Driveways. And guess what? I gave the job to Perfect Pavers. Not based on price, but based on the telephone skills, and particularly the voice mail message of Alex at Perfect Pavers. You see, when Jim called me back, he didnt sound very focused and he did a few things that just teed me off, like talking too fast, saying too much, and rushing through his phone number. While Alex, the installer from Perfect Pavers, spoke slowly, asked politely for me to return his call, and left his phone number in a clear and easy-to-capture way. I figured that if Alex could leave a clear and concise message, he would do a better job on my driveway.
So if you want to get more jobs, learn to leave perfect voice mail messages. Heres how:

Think about the purpose of your call and what you want to convey before picking up the phone. Theres nothing worse than leaving a rambling, hard-to-follow message.

Start by saying a greeting in an enthusiastic tone and use your customers name: Hello, Mr. Detmer!

State your first and last name, the company you represent, and your phone number: This is Alex Rodriguez from Perfect Pavers at 305 (pause) 555 (pause) 4434. Note: A simple way to make sure you are speaking slow enough during the phone number dictation is to write down the number as you speak it.

State why you are calling: Im calling to give you the quote you requested for resurfacing your driveway and to answer any questions you may have. Note: Dont over talk. Your objective is to get a call back, not to give details. People are busy and you must respect their time. Some people will delete voice mail messages half way through because the caller simply talked for too long.

State clearly what you want from the
person you are calling: May I ask for you to return my call at your earliest convenience?

Leave your name and phone number slowly and clearly, Thats Alex Rodriguez at 305 (pause) 555 (pause) 44 (pause) 34. Note: The second time I leave my phone number, I say the last four digits in pairs, which makes it easier for some to remember.

You probably have some good phone techniques of your own. If you want to share them, feel free to e-mail me.