Talk to most business people about marketing, and you’ll hear about all sorts of great marketing tools, avenues, and more. But what you rarely hear is the fact that interactions between the customer and a business or entrepreneur being a powerful marketing tool.
Few people realize that studies have shown that 82% of business executives form an opinion about the business or entrepreneur they are contacting on the basis of how the telephone is answered by that business or entrepreneur. Yes, people, 82% of those with administrative or managerial authority in an organization make up their minds about doing business with others based on that first point of contact.
Think about it.
With 82% of decision makers in an organization basing their opinion of your business solely on the first point of contact, it’s important to understand why first impressions of the interactive sort are important marketing tools. Even though Generation Y (those babies born between 1980 and 1995) is considered the first generation of Digital Natives, and many of Generation Y are business executives, basic business etiquette still has its place in the business world.
Answering a telephone isn’t rocket science by any stretch of the imagination, but the details behind packing the greatest positive impact into answering the phone is something that needs careful attention. Whether the telephone is answered electronically or in person should be done by the third ring if possible. Most people tend to hang up after the fourth ring and not wait for the ten rings that used to be the rule of thumb just a generation ago. We live in a fast-paced world nowadays, and waiting for that tenth ring doesn’t happen any more. Clients and potential clients hang-up and dial the next person on the list who, if they pass the telephone audition, will cultivate those callers are clients.
Be professional. Use proper grammar. Keep your tone upbeat and positive. Don’t mumble.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to have an Ivy League level vocabulary and perfect diction to interact well with business executives. What it means is that coarse and vulgar language, slang and jargon, buzz phrases et al should not be part of the conversation.
Imagine what the end result would be if the telephone conversation sounds like this.
ENTREPRENEUR: Thanks for calling “Cool Dudes Doing Business.” Waaaaazaaaaap?
CALLER: I’m calling to talk to you about an upcoming fundraising event our business is hosting.
ENTREPRENEUR: F***ing A! Love doing fundraisers.
CALLER: (slight pause) Could you send a portfolio to our head office? Address it to my attention.
It’s evident that the entrepreneur in this case is highly unlikely to hear from the caller again based on this interaction. Now consider this same caller dialing the next number where the telephone conversation sounds like this.
ENTREPRENEUR: Hello and thank you calling “Professional Musician.” Lenny speaking.
CALLER: Hello, Lenny. This is Jenny Bigwig from “Lotsa Hair International.” I’m calling to talk to you about an upcoming fundraising event our business is hosting.
ENTREPRENEUR: Absolutely. We’d love to be involved in your event.
As you can imagine, the second conversation is a far more positive interaction that encourages the caller to continue cultivating a business relationship with the entrepreneur.
So the next time your telephone rings, remember that the way in which you answer that call could determine whether you’re building your business or putting it behind the 8-ball.