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Preparing for the Outbound Call Seth Brickner

"Hello?"

We get a call from an unrec­og­nized num­ber, and our response is often a "hello" that's not spo­ken as a greet­ing but rather posed as a ques­tion, as in "Hello — who's this?" or "Hello — what do you want?"  We don't know what the caller wants or what we'll say next; there's no way to pre­pare for that.

We can't always pre­pare for an inbound call, but we can always pre­pare for an out­bound call.  Since we con­trol when we ini­ti­ate our out­bound calls, there's no excuse for not being well-prepared.

What's the best way to pre­pare for an out­bound call?

  • Think ahead. Con­sider who you hope to reach, what you hope to accom­plish if you reach them, and what you want to leave as a mes­sage if they're unavail­able. List your objec­tives for both sce­nar­ios and have them ready when you place the call.
  • Study up. If it's an out­bound sales call, learn as much as you can about your prospect. Use your resources to under­stand the needs that this prospect might share with oth­ers in her/his demo­graphic. Then study up on your own prod­ucts and ser­vices and be ready with a few dif­fer­ent options that might ben­e­fit this cus­tomer.  For out­bound sup­port calls make sure to read the account notes in the cus­tomer data­base. Check to see if there are any out­stand­ing issues, even issues unre­lated to the one you're call­ing about, and check on their sta­tus so that you'll be able to report on them (they're going to ask about these any­way, so you might as well be proac­tive and have this infor­ma­tion handy).
  • 10 tips icon Preparing for the Outbound Call
  • Plan your ques­tions. What­ever type of call you'll be mak­ing (sales, sup­port, sur­vey, etc.), you'll be more effec­tive and effi­cient if your ques­tions are orga­nized and printed out before you make the call. Well-worded and care­fully ordered ques­tions can increase your cred­i­bil­ity with a client/prospect, yet you should also be ready to devi­ate from a list of pre­pared ques­tions as nec­es­sary.
    A great web­cast on "10 Tips for Effec­tive Ques­tion­ing" can help you learn to present your ques­tions like a real professional.
  • Get cen­tered, get some water and get going. Once you feel like you're ready, take a few deep breaths, focus your thoughts, take a sip of water and make your suc­cess­ful out­bound call.
Seth Brick­ner is a Devel­oper and Facil­i­ta­tor with Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems Inter­na­tional. In addi­tion to train­ing and devel­op­ment, his back­ground includes edu­ca­tion, tech­ni­cal sup­port and cus­tomer ser­vice. When not trav­el­ing or in front of a com­puter mon­i­tor, Seth can be found run­ning, cook­ing, play­ing gui­tar, read­ing, con­vinc­ing him­self he can sing, or enjoy­ing the hik­ing trails of Colorado.
6 Preparing for the Outbound Call
Seth Brickner
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