When we look at someone who is in an obviously foul mood, is stressed out, or otherwise is totally preoccupied, that usually shows in their appearance. And often we react appropriately with our interaction with them. In some cases, we avoid them totally.

So, are you a good “mood reader” over the phone?

“What is it?”, you might ask.

A mood reader is a telephone rep who is able to define the frame of mind a prospect or customer is in on a telephone call, and then react accordingly. This is so important, since if someone is being negatively affected by some outside influence or situation, this will affect their decision making ability and actions during the course of the day. If your call happens to arrive at this inopportune time, you might be facing an uphill battle with someone who ordinarily would be quite receptive to hearing your message.

An Example

For example, let’s assume that Jane Prospect had requested a report from a mutual fund company about investing for kids college. She is considering socking away a few dollars now for her five-year old’s education.

One day, Jane has an awful morning. Her husband is out of town, and she has to prepare both her five-year old, and two-year old daughter for the babysitter. The younger child is sick, so arrangements have to be made for Grandma to watch her. The fiveyear old throws a massive fit because he doesn’t want to wear the clothes laid out for him. On top of it all, the dog needs to be taken to the vet for shots.

Jane is late for work, and learns that the overnight express package that was to have been sent to a very important client two days ago is still in the mail room. And, one of her best employees turned in her resignation. So, what normally would be a very composed, positive individual, has temporarily transformed into a firebreathing nervous wreck, ready to snap at anyone who gets in her path. That same day, Terry Phoner with Ultimate Funds logs into his CRM and up pops Jane's contact infomation. He calls, with the intention of explaining the fine benefits of his College Growth Fund. Jane takes the call, listens to about 30 seconds, and blows Terry off the phone in no time.

Did Terry do a bad job?

No, he’s actually quite adept.

Was Jane not interested in the Fund?

No, she’s really a very good prospect for a fund right now. What obviously happened was that Jane’s unfortunate string of crises impaired her attitude negatively. Her ability to react in a normal, rational manner was impaired by her recent experiences. Unfortunately, Terry was a victim of this behavior. Any other day, he might have closed a nice sale. But, because he called on this day, Jane Prospect becomes another “Not Interested” on his call report, and Jane turns into a customer of another mutual fund company who calls during one of her calmer days.

What Can Be Done?

As sales pros who use the phone as a primary method of communication, what can we do about people who are in foul moods, due to whatever reason?

Here are some ideas.

1. Listen. Not just for words, but for feelings. If someone seems flustered, or in a great hurry, or if you hear commotion in the background, or if they are carrying on a conversation with someone else, these are signals that something unsettling is going on in the prospect’s environment, whether it be emotional, or physical.

2. Offer to Call Back. Before much damage has been done—to you—say, “I detect that I may have called you at a bad time. Why don’t I try back Tuesday, OK?”

3. Try to Change Their Moods. Be careful with this one: it could backfire. If you’re good with humor, it can be effective though. “Jane, I barely know you, and it sounds like you already hate me. Normally it takes awhile before I have that effect on people.”

4. Call Back Later Anyway. Even if you do get shot down, call back a week later. Tell the prospect “I felt that I might have caught you at an inconvenient time last week. Let’s discuss that mutual fund you asked about.”

Practice at being able to read your prospects’ moods, and reacting to them. You will salvage some sales that otherwise might have been written off.

Author's Bio: 

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing "rejection." He presents public seminars and customizes programs for companies. Art has a number of books, CD's and other learning resources to help sales reps. See free articles and back issues of his weekly emailed sales tips at www.BusinessByPhone.com. Email him at ArtS@BusinessByPhone.com, or call (402)895-9399) Also go to Art's Telesales Blog http://www.TelesalesBlog.com where you can hear actual recordings of good and failed sales calls.