Are you ruled by the telephone? Does that small packet of electronics hanging on your belt demand your attention – and do you give it – constantly? If so, you could be under the control of a wild telephone. Time to tame it!
You might consider the phone a drain on your time and your single greatest source of disruption. However, the phone can be your ally if you will follow a few simple guidelines.
Take Control Through Preparation. Whenever possible, do the majority of your phone work in advance, making more outgoing calls on your time frame and taking fewer incoming calls. Prepare each outgoing call or appointment by having all the necessary material at hand and writing down in advance any key questions or area to be covered as well as a projected time limit for each call. Prioritize and consolidate all callbacks.
Planning the time you call can be critical in preventing phone tag. Calls between 9am – 11am are the busiest times of the business day. Before 9am or after 5pm are good times to reach people, always taking into consideration what might be best for the person you are calling.
Keep a Positive Phone Attitude. If it's appropriate to the conversation, try smiling as you talk. The person on the other end can't see you, of course, but the smile comes through in your voice. A positive attitude is essential to building rapport and good working relationships.
What You Say Goes A Long Way. There is nothing like the power of praise when you’re trying to accomplish your goals by phone. Acknowledge good phone behavior by those who assist you, be they assistants, contacts, prospects or clients. Make a point of thanking anyone who has gone out of their way to take down a long message or connect you with someone who is difficult to reach.
Use Concise Communication. Be specific. Get and give just the facts. Nothing will speed up a call faster than getting to the point sooner. Set time limits up front: "I’ve got five minutes to talk." Outline your call: "I’d like to discuss these two questions." Even your voice mail or answering machine message should be as concise as possible. “Thank you for calling the Accelerated Performance Coaching Company. Please leave your name, number and the best time to return your call.”
Take Notes And Take Action. Don’t rely on a good memory. Always date your notes, list the party and any main points to be covered, and write down your comments. Right after the call, highlight any key points and take any necessary follow-up action, like transferring the information to your calendar, computer, or To Do List.
Train Your Telephone Team. If you are fortunate enough to have someone else in your office handling your calls, you have the opportunity to boost your effectiveness if your provide training on how to screen and prioritize call, take messages, and use all effective phone techniques.
Without our office and cell phones, we'd be hard pressed to run a successful real estate business. The trick is not lose sight of the fact that it is a tool. Just as the phone's battery needs recharging in order to keep operating, so do you. Phones can and should be turned off (not just silenced) when it's time for family and relaxation.
Talk to you soon.
About Coach Patti Kouri:
Coach Patti, the owner of Accelerated Performance Coaching Inc., and The Real Estate Game®, strives to maintain an atmosphere of community, connection, and harmony by becoming your resource base to enhance and enrich your personal and business life. Coach Patti was voted one of the ‘Top 50 Most Influential Women In Real Estate Leadership in 2008’ by the 2008 edition of the Swanepoel Trends Report. www.CoachPatti.com and www.TheRealEstateGame.com.