Preparation is critical to good telephone communication. It is not wise to call someone
and just start talking. This may work for family and friends, but it may kill your business.
A business or sales caller has about 20 seconds to capture the hearer’s attention.
Therefore, communication has to be to the point and concise. There is no time to wander.
Scripting is the answer.
Scripting is simply planning what you are going to say.
Most people script important conversations; they just don’t
realize that is what they are doing. Have you ever made an important
call and found yourself hesitating to dial the last number? Or hanging up
before you are finished dialing? You were probably scripting in your
mind what you were going to say. You may want to take it a step
further and write down what you plan to say. That is what skilled
telemarketers do; they have a script that they follow.
Basic Principles of Scripting
- Have an objective for the call. You may be seeking
information, trying to schedule a meeting, or present your
qualifications to a potential employer.
- Have a secondary objective. Often you will not achieve your
primary objective, but every telephone call is an opportunity to
- Know the name of the person to whom you wish to speak with. If
you do not know the person’s name, then obtaining it becomes your
- Outline in writing what you want to say. This is important in
the early stages of cold calling or when the call is very
important. Later on, you will script most of your calls in your
head. Do not read your script. Your presentation should be natural.
- The script will depend on the goal of the call and whether you
know the person you are calling. A good script should include the
Introduction: Tell the person who you are.
Lead statement: A quick statement designed to get the
Body: State your purpose for the call.
Close: Accomplish your goal, ask for information,
schedule the meeting, etc.
Script for Contact Information
Caller: "Hi. This is Bibi Netanyahoo. I am trying to contact the
person in charge of Israel. Who would that be?"
Receiver: "That is Arik Sharon. He is the director."
Caller: "I need to contact him about some marketing
concerns. Does he have a direct number or an extension number?"
Receiver: "His direct number is 055-996655. Would you like
me to transfer you?"
Script for Follow-up Information
: "Hello. This is Jerry Job. I interviewed for the
computer programmer position last week. I am just checking to see if
the hiring decision has been made."
Receiver: "Not yet. We anticipate making our final
selection this Wednesday."
Caller: "I’m still very interested in the position. You’re
doing some very innovative multimedia work that’s on the cutting
edge of today’s technology. Best of all, you have a bright and
energetic technical staff that understands the importance of team
production. I’m sure we would work well together. Would it be okay
if I called you on Wednesday? What would be the best time?"
Basic Principles of Telephone
- "Buy" Signals--A "buy" signal is evidence that you have
captured the person’s attention. "Buy" signals usually take the
form of questions. When someone is asking questions about your
qualifications, they are, for the moment, interested in you.
- Objections--Objections come in many forms. "We are
looking for someone with more experience or education," or "Sorry,
we’re not hiring right now." Press on to your goal and continue to
sell your qualifications. Look for ways to eliminate the
- Location--Call from a quiet place where you can
concentrate. Do not call from a noisy restaurant, bus station,
street corner, when the kids are yelling, or when the dog is
- Listen Carefully--Communication is what is said, how
it’s said, and the body language that is used. It is important to
listen carefully to what you are saying, how you are saying it,
and how you are being received. If you sense you have called at a
bad time, politely ask if there is a better time. It may be useful
to tape record yourself while conducting a simulated call.
- Organization--Have all your materials nearby
and take notes.
- Follow-up--It is the persistent 20 percent who make 80
percent of the sales! The best time to plan a follow-up is when
you make the contact. While you have the contact on the telephone,
agree on when you will call back. Keep a follow-up calendar and
maintain a record of your contacts. If you agree to call back, be
sure to do so. If someone agrees to call you, state the best time
to be reached. The last thing you want to do is sit by the
telephone waiting for a call that may never come.
- Practice--Telephone skills, like all skills, have to be
practiced to be mastered. Start with low-risk calls. Practice your
presentation with a friend and read your script out loud.
- Voice Mail--Whether you like it or not, voice mail is a
part of our lives. Speaking to a machine adds a new dimension to
telephone skills. It is a good idea to know what you will say if
you get someone’s voice mail. Having a "script" ready will enable
you to leave a message that is upbeat, simple, clear, and concise.
Your message should be 30 seconds or less. It is amazing how an
otherwise skilled telephone user comes across as monotone and
unsure on a message machine. If you have an answering machine,
make sure your message is polite and professional, and be sure you
answer your messages.
Additional Telephone Tips
- Wear a smile on the telephone--they may not see it but they
will hear it.
- Dress for making telephone contacts as you would for an
interview. Your professionalism and preparation will be heard (you
may also be asked to come right down).
- Look for ways to compliment the person or the company.
- Don’t apologize for making the contact. You have a product
they need and a right to present yourself.
- Don’t sell yourself from a position of weakness or apologize
for what you do not have or have not done. Sell yourself from a
position of strength and stress those skills, attributes, and
accomplishments attractive to the employer.
Telephone Preparation Form
Contact person (full name and title):
Follow-up action to be taken:
More Tips To Guide You...
If you need to spell your name, or take the name of your caller, the biggest
problem is often saying vowel sounds:
'a' is pronounced as in 'may'
'e' is pronounced as in 'email' or
'i' is pronounced as in 'I' or 'eye"
'o' is pronounced as in
'u' is pronounced as 'you'
'g' is pronounced like the 'j' in 'jeans'
'j' is pronounced as in 'DJ' or
'w' is pronounced 'double you'
'x' is pronounced 'ex'
'z' is pronounced 'zed'
Here's a phone number:
0171 222 3344
And here's how to say it:
"Oh-one-seven-one, triple two, double three,
"Zero-one-seven-one, triple two, double three, double four".
Each digit is spoken separately, unless it's a double or triple. If the
second part of the number was, for example, '5555', you'll probably find it
easier to say 'double five - double five'.
Saying email addresses
@ is pronounced 'at'
For instance, firstname.lastname@example.org is "zooloo, at, zooloo,
/ is "forward slash".
- is called a "hyphen" or a "dash".
_ is an "underscore".
You: "Can I speak to Mr Zooloo, please?" or
"Is Mr Zooloo there, please?"
Receptionist: "May I ask who's calling?" or "Could I have your name,
You: "Yes, this is Zooloo speaking".