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If you work in sales you know the first call to a prospect can make or break your chances. This call is your time to shine and make a good first impression. You’re representing both yourself and your company, you want to portray a sense of professionalism, confidence and comfort. Portraying these qualities to prospects can set you apart from your  competitors and help you turn these prospects into customers.

But in order to dazzle these prospects over the phone, you need to follow a few etiquette guidelines. These 8 call etiquette rules will help you portray  a positive image with your prospects and improve your chances of success. Follow these 8 etiquette rules and turn your prospects into leads and your leads into customers.

Make your introduction polite and clear

Whenever the person you’re calling or their receptionist answers the phone make sure you introduce yourself politely and clear. State your full name, company name and briefly explain your reason for reaching out to them. Ask them if this is a good time for them to speak and if not, when a good time will be to reach out to them again.

Have a clear voice

Most people get cold called quite a bit, especially if they are in a decision making role at work. You need to stand out amongst the rest. Having a clear and pleasant voice is necessary in sounding professional on the phone and standing out. Try to avoid coughing into the phone or having your voice break up. Warm up your voice before the call and practice your sales pitch before hand.

Slow down, don’t talk to fast

When you talk fast, you show that you are nervous.  A nervous voice can come off as inexperienced, which might be the case. Ever heard the saying “fake it till you make it”. Well the same thing counts here, you might be starting out in sales and the best thing you can do is at least portray experience. So if you suffer from motor mouth, slow down and pause. This allows your prospect to ask questions and follow you throughout the conversation. By talking to fast you run the risk of the prospect not understanding you and losing interest.

Beware of background noise

Office’s tend to get quite loud when everyone is on the grind. All the movement, side conversations and printing can become quite distracting, especially while on the phone. When you’re making calls, try and find a quite place that is far away from the racket. This shows your prospect that you are fully engaged in the conversation and that the call matters to you.

Respect the gatekeeper

Part of the receptionist job is to serve as gatekeeper to all calls. It’s important that you treat this person just as well as you would the actual prospect. Their opinion about you and your company can go a long way in influencing your prospect. Show this person respect and they will return you with the same courtesy.

You’re on their time, respect it

Everyone is busy, you’re not the only one. When you call a prospect you want to make sure it’s a good time for them to speak, you want to have their full attention. Politely ask if it’s a good time to speak and if not, find out a better time to connect.  This will make your sales call all the more effective.

Never put your customer on hold for another call

Putting a prospect on hold after you have called them shows disrespect. It also shows that the call isn’t important to you. If someone calls you, let it go to voicemail or have one of your coworkers answer it. Make sure you stay engaged in your present phone call.

End your call with agreement

Once your prospect offers you information or a request, repeat it back to them so you are both at an understanding. Miscommunication is very frequent in business and avoiding it is up to you. Once an agreement is met, repeat the agreement to the prospect and explain how you will enter into a more formal contract. Finally, make sure to offer a sincere thank you for their time and assure the them you are happy to conduct business with them.

For more tips on sales calls, read our previous blog “8 Facts To Help Strategize Your Cold Phone Calls”.

If you’re interested in some tools to make your sales team more effective with their sales calls, check out our phone systems page.