Because there are no visual clues, you must sharpen your listening skills. The following are tools and tips I use to improve my ability to practice the HEARD Process.
Before Answering the Phone
- Take a deep breath. This helps to refocus and switch gears from other tasks at hand.
- Remove or minimize distractions such as your cell phone, IPhone or music source.
- Turn away from your computer to avoid the temptation to check emails during call.
- Silence audio computer email notifications.
- Greet the caller and SMILE. (They can hear this in your voice.)
The “I’m here for you now and later too” Call:
These are suggestions for the second or third call with your colleague/client/customer. It occurs after the initial introduction call from the sales and/or implementation team. The purpose is to begin to build a trusting relationship:
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for the customer to call with a problem. Call them first.
- Ask if this a good time to talk? Sometimes you can hear noise or other distraction in the background or there is just a hesitation in their voice. It’s always good to ask permission to proceed.
- If the timing is not good, ask when they might be available to talk. Schedule the call and stick to your appointment.
- Explain your reason for calling. “I’m following up on ……..
- Your calling to help and make an offer to move a project forward by saying “What else needs to be done and how can I help you reach your deadline?”
Other helpful tips:
- If you work in a noisy and distracting environment, consider finding a more quiet space especially for a difficult call when listening well is critically important.
- Have a beverage available to sip in case your voice becomes dry. When we are nervous, our body automatically responds to stress with shallow breathing which can make our throats dry.
- Take notes to keep your mind from wandering as the call progresses. This is especially important when the prospective member has an accent or speech challenge.
- Prepare a checklist of items you need to cover with the person before completing the call prior to commencing the call.
- If the office is unexpectedly noisy, ask if you might call the prospect back at a mutually convenient time.
Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach. She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success!