"Can I put you on hold while I find a pen with ink?", you ask your customer on the phone while your hand searches the desk frantically for another pen. In frustration you are wondering how to sound calm when you can't lay your hands on the tools you need to do your job.
I hate to scramble to find things when I am on the phone! When you run a home-based business and you rely on your phone voice to win customers, you need to sound professional. People trust a person who is organized and sounds confident. If, like me, your business depends on your phone voice, you want to make sure that you sound cool and collected- not flustered and up-tight. How can you convey to your clients the assurance that you are a reliable self-possessed individual that they can trust?
These are a few tips to help you acquire the phone image you want to project:
1. Have a daily routine. If you set aside a “best time of day" for you when you have your peak energy, you will feel more motivated and energized. Some of us are morning people, and like an early start. Try to handle the bulk of your calls during those times, and slog away at the paperwork later.
2. Try to start your day looking good. This may sound strange, but if I am in my housecoat and slippers when I phone people, I feel less charming, and my attitude is affected. I prefer to shower and dress as if I am going to the office- my manner is more professional and assured. (My husband loves to work in soft tee shirts and comfortable clothes, so choose whatever makes you “feel good").
3. Make sure your space is organized before you pick up the phone. Ensure that you have note paper and several pens or pencils within reach. Do you have your planner open to schedule appointments and a calendar to check? Have a list of all important phone numbers within reach. Are there other reference items you will need- license numbers, phone scripts, contracts? I like to doodle while I talk so I need to have a clean sheet of paper or I will end up making notations and scribbles all over my good working notes!
4. Have good lighting and a comfortable chair. Ergonomic equipment plays an important role foe those people who have to work from home. Try to get the keypad and chair that fits you so that you can relax while you work.
5. Keep a carafe of coffee or glass of water nearby. If you spend lots of time talking on the phone, you will need to stay hydrated. Don't strain your voice, or you will begin to feel hoarse.
6. Take a short break to get refreshed. Get up for a snack, or short walk around the house to help stretch and renew your energy. Sort your thoughts and write down important items that you will need to take care of before making the next call. Send the email you promised so that it does not weigh on your mind while you are discussing business with the next client.
7. Avoid distractions around the house. It is great work from a home office to take care of domestic issues, but don't let the small daily things interfere with your occupational tasks. If you are listening for the dryer to indicate the cycle is done, you will not be listening attentively to the client on the phone. Close your office door, tell the family to keep the TV low and make your environment as phone-friendly as possible.
8. Let technology work for you. A cordless headset for the phone allows freedom of hands to type on the keyboard, take notes, or doodle!
9. Take a deep breath before you dial and SMILE often! You will sound relaxed and people can hear the friendliness of a smile. We all need to do it a little more often.
10. Let go of anything negative that happened previously. Remember that each day is a new day and if you don't feel your best you can reschedule some tasks for another day. After all, that is why we chose to work from home!
Follow the tips and forget the frazzled nerves!
Diane Zorn has a certificate in Human Resource Management. She has over 15 years experience operating 2 retail businesses as well as a home-based e-commerce site http://www.4luxuryvacations.com