The Importance of Phone Etiquette and Manners
A prospective client will most likely make first contact with you by phone. Make your first impression a memorable one by utilizing proper phone manners. Your first interaction by phone could mean the difference between an event inquiry and a secured event. The initial conversation can set the tone for a successful event.
Before answering any calls, collect yourself. Do not answer the phone while you are eating your lunch, conversing with a colleague, or answering an e-mail. The task you are performing will come across in your voice as you greet your caller. Stress, anxiety, and disinterest can all be detected over the phone. So before you answer, take a second to focus on the task at hand and say hello.
Establish a Rapport
In event planning, the goal of a conversation is to turn the caller into a client. If you can establish a rapport over the telephone, chances are you are closer to reaching your goal. One way to establish a rapport over the telephone is to connect with your caller. Making a connection or finding something in common is a start. Inquiring about an accent, the guest list, or a client's company may start the connection. At the very least, it will indicate to the person on the phone you are personable.
Smiling as you answer the phone sends a warmer greeting to your caller. When you smile it convinces your voice to follow. Your voice will become more upbeat, alert, and friendly. Try it the next time the phone rings.
Discovering a commonality over the phone may put the caller at ease. It may even gain you a bit of trust. Be sure to be brief in conversational dialogue. Sharing too many personal details can turn off a caller off and give the impression you are not a good listener.
Placing Calls on Hold
Ideally you should answer a call within three rings. If you are in the middle of a call, ask the first caller to hold while you ask the second caller to wait a moment. In the case of a lengthy call, take a message for the second call. Having a voice mail system, which allows a second call to be routed to a voice message, is a good investment. This is especially true when running an office without an assistant or receptionist. It is easy to engage in phone tag with callers if you are always leaving voice mails for each other. Be sure to make yourself available for a return call.
In event planning, an inquiry refers to a call or visit from a person investigating your services. An inquiry can also refer to a lead or a referral you received from a client or another event planner.
End a Phone Call with Persuasive Language
It is important to end each call with persuasive language. It will leave your caller with a lasting impression. Additionally, a positive upbeat tone in a conversation will leave your caller looking forward to your next conversation. Following are examples of positive, persuasive ways to end a conversation.
“I will follow up with you in a few days.”
“I promise to send this information right out to you.”
“Feel free to contact me with any questions.”
Never ask a caller to hold more than three times during your telephone conversation — it is not polite. Tell the client you will call him back when you can give him your undivided attention. Once you call your client, do not let any interruptions distract you.