Anyone who conducts marketing and sales has to deal with using the phone as an important communication tool. The problem is that most people don’t maximize its effectiveness. Using the phone poorly can inadvertently act as a detriment to our success. Understand that the phone conveys our personality, our sincerity, our belief, our energy, our attitude, our professionalism, and our message. If you aren’t aware of how you sound, you may very well be sending the exact opposite message that you want!

One of the best examples of the misuse of the phone is a typical telemarketing call. Let’s analyze why that call is usually so ineffective. What is it about that call that marks it as a telemarketing call? There are several factors that make us cringe at these calls. First off, telemarketers are either overly friendly to start with or they sound completely disinterested. Either extreme makes the caller sound insincere. Secondly, telemarketers talk and rarely ask. The call is all about their product and service, and not about you, the person who received the call. Thirdly, they usually launch right into their script and plow through it, not allowing us to get a word in edgewise. And fourth, it’s always evident that they’re reading a script to you rather than having a conversation with you. Those four factors generally mark the call as a telemarketing call.

It’s good to be enthusiastic with an appropriate level of energy and a positive attitude, but when a person is too enthusiastic they come across as phony and insincere. If they go to the other extreme and are very low-keyed (perhaps as an attempt to sound “professional”), they run the risk of sounding bored or apathetic. Secondly, when a person is focused on making a sale instead of looking for ways to help solve a problem, the gist of their conversation revolves around their products and services, rather than their prospect’s needs. You’ve probably heard the expression, “Telling is not selling.” It’s true. If your phone work consists of calling people and telling them what you sell, you are going to have a hard time succeeding. People don’t want to be sold. Instead, they want to make a buying decision – and you can’t achieve that if you’re telling and not asking. The next issue with telemarketers is that once they start their “pitch” or script, they plow right through, barely pausing to take a breath. How does this make you feel? To most of us, it demonstrates that they are insincere and are focused on their products - not on us. In addition, it comes off as being very unprofessional. The final issue regarding telemarketing calls is that they always sound like they’re being read. Know why? Because they are! In fact, many telemarketers are REQUIRED to read their script word for word. Of course when they do that, it quickly becomes evident that there is no conversation taking place, but rather that a scripted presentation is being made. And we all know that if a script is being read to us, then it’s the same one that everyone else hears. There’s nothing personal about it and it pretty much precludes rapport building.

I’ve observed another phenomenon that occurs when people create a script and develop a style for the phone. Even though they dislike telemarketing calls, they can’t seem to help themselves from behaving and sounding like a telemarketer when they get on the phone! I guess when we’re not sure what else to do, we tend to emulate what we’re most familiar with.

Author's Bio: 

Written by Michael Beck, an executive coach, speaker & trainer. He is the nation’s leading expert on recruiting independent sales representatives, and helps executives and managers build and lead productive sales teams. For more information, and to receive his program: “Smart Recruiting Strategies in a Tough Market!” for FREE, please visit: Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.