Marketing Tip: Never Underestimate the Telephone

When you mention "telephone" and "marketing strategy" in the same sentence, we instantly conjure images of being summoned from the dinner table to take a call from a telemarketer selling something we don't want or need. However, every call to your business is your opportunity to market. If someone calls asking for directions or business hours, provide the requested information and offer free quotes or brochures to entice the caller to visit your business. By doing this, you establish a relationship with a potential client through open lines of communication. Show your responsiveness by developing a conversation with the person to find out what needs the person has, and address these needs proactively.

Answering the telephone is important to everyone within the organization, and is a vital part of everyone's job duties. That is why it is extremely important that those who handle most of the day-to-day phone calls for a business be as informed about in-house operations as top level management. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made by a small business is to let temporary employees, who do not know or understand much about the business, answer the telephone.

Following is a list of ten "Phone Etiquette Tips" for business owners and managers.

  • Use your first name when answering the phone.

  • Use a standard greeting such as "Good morning" or "May I help you?"

  • Be as helpful as you would be if the caller were there in person.

  • Leave a friendly, concise and helpful message on the answering machine.

  • Eliminate as many background distractions as possible.

  • Keep callers on hold for as little time as possible.
  • Promise to phone back if you can't help them immediately.

  • Smile as you talk to people. They hear the difference in your voice.

  • Do not act rushed.

  • Provide additional information such as directions to your location or parking options.

As you talk to these future clients, treat them as such by sounding interested in their inquiries. Good telephone etiquette can create new, money-making opportunities for your business, and is a cost-effective tool for your marketing arsenal.

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