To paraphrase a popular Bee Gees song: it’s only words, but words are all I have to take a good business and make it into a great one.
Words are powerful. Diplomats, modern-day heroes, novelists, and songwriters know just how compelling words are when used the right way. And great businessmen know how vital words are in getting and maintaining patrons, establishing trust, and even diffusing a potentially disastrous situation.
We’ve compiled seven powerful words and sentences you can use to make you sound like a confident and compelling professional over the phone.
1. “Sample Company. This is Joe speaking. How can I help you?”
Start with a simple but strong greeting. Some may argue that it’s pretty common, but this straightforward greeting allows the person on the other line to a) know the name of the company, b) know your name, and c) jump straight to what they’re calling about.
When delivered in a clear, accommodating tone, this seemingly plain greeting can get you in the right stead with your clients.
2. “I understand how you feel.”
Empathy is a powerful virtue that great professionals understand. Being able to understand how your caller feels — especially when they feel angry or annoyed — and being able to deliver it sincerely, is great for customer satisfaction and retention.
As an entrepreneur, being able to empathize with the people you deal with — such as your clients, employees, bosses, and vendors — would lead to stronger connections and broader perspectives that you can use to bring your business forward.
3. Use you, yours, and you’re
When you’re on the phone with your clients, make sure that you talk about them and their needs. This will ensure that you’ll get their interest and attention.
It’s normal for clients to stick to the call if they know what exactly they’re going to benefit from the conversation or if they feel that they are important to your business.
“You really made an astute observation, and I just want to thank you for your comments.”
And if you’re looking to influence them into getting your services, or getting them to avail of a more expensive option, talking about how the change would be ultimately more beneficial to them would be the way to go.
4. Call callers by their names.
Research shows that “there is a unique brain activation specific to [hearing] one’s own name in relation to the names of others.” This is an important tool that you can use to make phone conversations with your clients more engaging and meaningful.
“You’re right, Melinda. That’s certainly part of our premier package. Have you had any issues with it previously?”
“Thanks for calling me back! My boss and I were discussing payment options and I thought to myself, this would probably be something that would be better for Ben.”
Calling clients by their names shows that you’re interested in truly be of service, you’re competent, and you that you put their interests and needs seriously. Not only that, but it dramatically increases customer loyalty when used sincerely.
5. Always state the reason why.
When speaking with clients, over-the-phone and otherwise, being as objective and precise is the way to go. Incorporate “because”, “hence”, “due to” and “this is why” in your conversations and you’re one step closer to being a trusted and reliable source.
“We had to automatically bump you up to the bigger plan because you’re running out of minutes on your current one. You saved a total of $100 on overage fees.”
Using these words will help you educate your clients, set expectations and provide clarity and transparency.
6. “It’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, but I’m afraid I must attend to an urgent matter.”
Sometimes, you can’t spend as much time on the phone as you’d like. And when you’re currently on the phone with an enthusiastic caller but you have to finish an urgent report, you can courteously inform your caller that you would need to tend to something else.
But whatever you do, do not cut your client off. Wait for the caller to come to a pause before you politely and graciously end the call. Remember to deliver this sincerely. Doing so curtly can turn the nicest of clients off.
Respect for your clients is powerful, and it’s important to keeping a good image.
7. Tactfully reject an idea
Sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary to reject a client or your boss’s idea or proposition over-the-phone. Reality is that not everything your clients will say or pitch is pure gold, but it’s no reason to be sarcastic or downright rude to them. There are ways to “say no” tactfully.
“That’s a great idea Jim, but I think we’d need to check with our Marketing team if that’s doable.”
“Your suggestion sounds good, however, do you think that it would be in line with our current branding?”