11 Telephone Tips to Effectively Reach Out and Touch Others – By Dr. Tony Alessandra

Tony Alessandra

We tend to take the telephone and cell phone for granted, but salespeople must demonstrate appropriate telephone behavior when talking to clients and other business contacts. Courtesy and thoughtfulness are the basic components of telephone etiquette. The knowledge of etiquette makes telephoning easier because if you creatively obey the rules, you can be confident that you will behave in the most appropriate, productive way. See http://www.alessandra.com/products/productdetails.asp?productid=63

With this in mind, here are some guidelines for polite and effective telephone usage:

1. When answering the phone in the office, immediately identify your company, department, and your name. If you are self‑employed with a home office, answer by stating your name.

2. When talking to customers, call them by name. Not only will the customer be pleased, but by repeating the name you’re more likely to remember it. Be sure not to overuse this though, as this habit can be annoying. This also applies when talking to an executive assistant. In the future, you can call her/him by name and create rapport.

3. Know yourself and how you sound to others. You can find this out by recording your voice. Then critique your tone, manners, friendliness, and vocal quality. This is even more helpful if others critique you.

4. Always use the hold button if you must temporarily leave the phone. It’s surprising what the person on the line can hear, and you may inadvertently embarrass yourself ‑‑ or the other person.

5. When placing a customer on hold, make sure you reassure the customer every 20‑30 seconds that you haven’t forgotten him. If you must do this more than twice, it’s probably better to call back when you’re able to talk.

6. Know your customers. Know not only their names, but also how they prefer to be treated. Then deal with them in their preferred mode. Do they like a fast or slow pace? Do they want just the facts or do they prefer to chat first before getting down to business?

7. Know your product or service. Your product mastery should shine through. Then you’ll be able to match customer needs (benefits) with your product knowledge (features). See http://www.alessandra.com/products/productdetails.asp?productid=95

8. Keep a telephone note pad and pen handy so you can quickly write messages or notes. We’ve all waited for what seems to be ten minutes while the harried message taker searches for a pencil or paper.

9. Plan your calls ahead. Try writing a summary of everything you need to know before making the call. Every sales call you make should have an objective (goal).

10. Let the customer hang up first. Have you ever concluded a conversation with someone and just as they were hanging up, you thought of one more thing to say? To avoid cutting off your customer’s thoughts, let them hang up first.

11. Choose your words carefully. On the telephone, your words and vocal quality carry your message. In person, if there is any doubt as to the meaning, you can sense it from the person’s nonverbal feedback. Over the phone, however, you may unintentionally insult your customer and never know it. For example, when you say, “As I said…” or “To put it another way…” you imply that the other person did not understand you the first time. Another common phrase is, “Let me ask you a question.” It may be subtle, but this is a command, not question. A command immediately puts someone on the defensive. A better way to say this is, “May I ask you a question?” or “Do you mind if I ask you some questions?” This involves them in the conversation and makes them want to talk to you instead of resentfully following your orders.


Dr. Tony Alessandra
 is a renowned speaker and author of 27 business books, including Non-Manipulative Selling and The Platinum Rule.  He can be reached at:


1-858-999-2119 Pacific Time Zone

1-858-777-5531 Fax 

www.Alessandra.com & www.PlatinumRule.com

www.AssessmentBusinessCenter.com & www.Alessandra.com/products/index.asp