They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but how many of us judge people by the way they talk, or even by the way they answer the telephone? We form opinions about people the first time we see or hear them. We even form opinions about people we have never met!
A Note Holder’s “perception” about us DOES matter. As a Note Business owner YOUR company is judged by the way you answer the telephone. Think about it! You CANNOT, NOT make a first impression.
People always form an initial impression about us the first time they come in contact with us whether it is in person or over the telephone or even by the way we leave a message on THEIR answering machine. Every other contact with us after that first time either supports or conflicts with that first impression. Create a good first impression and the relationship grows from there. Create a bad first impression and your relationship with that person can be an uphill battle.
Note holder’s impressions of us are very important and we should work hard to make sure that FIRST impression is a great one. I have always said that I can get your phone to ring but I can’t be there when you answer the phone. Therefore, I have written some tips to help you make a great first impression in two telephone situations: Part one this month will be on Receiving a telephone call and part two next month will be on Initiating a telephone call.
Receiving a Telephone Call
1. Answer the telephone by the 3rd ring (Or your answering machine) – I usually answer my phone by the second ring and rarely do I answer it on the very first ring. My answering machine will automatically answer my phone after the third ring.
2. Make sure your greeting is professional. – It is important that your greeting is friendly and professional. Don’t answer the telephone and try and speak with food in your mouth! – (How many of us can tell when the person we are speaking to on the other end is EATING!).
Playback your answering machine’s personal greeting. Does it sound professional? Do your greet people politely? Do you leave them with instructions on “what to do”? I am amazed how often I call someone and their answering machine greets me with a greeting which I can’t understand, and worse the person has used the words, “Uh”, or “Uhm” over 3 times during the 15 second greeting. Remember I have been doing this a long time and I especially notice these things.
3. Be prepared before you answer the telephone. – Have a pencil or pen along with a pad of paper AND a Note Worksheet near your telephone so you can write down important information such as their NAME. When speaking to them, use their NAME during the conversation but don’t overdo it.
4. Be an “active” listener. – by using step 3 above you can be an active listener by writing down important information. Ask them to spell their name if you are not sure. Ask them when it is the best time to call them back.
5. If you answer the telephone and someone wants to ask you some specific questions but you ARE NOT prepared because their file is in the other room or at the bottom of the pile just say, “I am in the middle of something at the moment, can I call you right back?”. This will give you a chance to collect the materials you need and when returning their phone call, you are now prepared to speak. (A more controlled situation). If they insist on “holding on” just say, “Please give me a moment to get your file”.
NOTE: If you put someone on hold DO NOT make them wait more than 30 seconds. I have had people put me on hold for so long I was able to read that article I was dying to read while waiting for them.
6. If you are out of town, check your messages frequently. I usually check my messages twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon, unless I am not able to interrupt what I am doing. If I am in the middle of speaking at an event or at a meeting with an investor, THEY are the most important priority. I will call at a break or when I get home.
7. Return telephone calls promptly. – One of most unprofessional things a business can do is NOT RETURNING PHONE CALLS. How many of us have attempted to contact someone over a period of days or even weeks and you find that YOU are the only one initiating the telephone call. One of the comments I have heard from note holders is, “Thank you for returning my call so promptly!” or “Thanks for getting back to me”. I actually know that I have been able to purchase notes from note holders for less than others might have offered because I not only returned their call but I returned it that same morning, not 3 days later.
I have been contacted by newspaper reporters who are working on an article and have contacted me for my expert opinion. I have even had calls from magazines who would like to publish one of my website articles and are calling for permission and need to know TODAY! Remember, these people are often working on a deadline to complete their article and cannot wait days for you to return their call.
8. If you have any people that work with you on transactions, call in once in a while and see for yourself how they greet people when they call. Pretend you are a note holder. How were you treated over the telephone? If it was less than favorable, it’s time to make some changes.
Remember that first impression WILL be initiated by that “in coming” telephone call and the impression you make, either directly by you or even your answering machine’s greeting or voice mail will determine if they call you back. Think about the eight points I have discussed and make changes or adjustments where you need to. Next month I will share some tips for initiating a telephone call. Success demands action, keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!)
Jeff Armstrong of Armstrong Capital has been a note investor and broker specializing in the performing seller financed note industry since 1991. For more updated and current information on how he can help you with your note business, your note investments or to request a quote on a note you currently have visit www.armstrongcapital.com to email him and subscribe to his weekly Note-Able Newsletter.