As a Client Account Associate at DFS Creative Concepts, talking to clients on the phone is one of the most important parts of my job. Maintaining positive work relationships, communicating effectively and making sure everyone sees eye to eye are just a few of the benefits that generate from these conversations. However, for those who aren’t accustomed to making these regular phone calls, learning how to steer a successful conversation can be a little tricky. It’s not like I started where I am today!

Here are my Tuesday Tips for better business etiquette – phone call edition:

Remember that the phone call starts before you dial. Write a list of all the points you want to cover, all the questions you want to ask, and all the answers you’re looking to find during this call. Keeping that in front of you while you’re talking will help keep your conversation on task. I typically write my list in a black or blue pen and use a colored pen to take notes during the phone call. This way I can easily see what notes I’ve taken while conversing and can cross out or add new ideas from there!

First Impressions Matter. Introduce yourself informatively and confidently. This will set the tone for your entire phone call, especially if you don’t have much familiarity with whom you’re conversing with. It’s hard to gain respect with a stranger, so a professional introduction such as “Hello, this is Claudia Bove from DFS Creative Concepts and I’m calling for Mr. Smith” will go a long way in building your reputation. Tiny Tip: I find that sitting up straight in my chair helps me exude confidence and professionalism in my conversations (even if they can’t see me).

Be Personable. Some people find it difficult to relax during phone calls because they can’t read body language over the phone. I find that remembering details about my clients and tailoring the conversation around this personalization helps them feel comfortable and leaves them feeling positive about their experience with you and your company. For example, if your client makes a comment about their spouse or family, ask them how they’re doing next time you talk to them.
Tiny Tip: Write down notes about more personable stories they tell (see Tip #1) so you can follow up on them specifically – it’s important that your client feels memorable and important.

Be prepared to leave a voicemail. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that it’s important to speak slowly and clearly when leaving a message. However, you might not know how important it is to say a specific reason for why you’re calling. Your client will call you back prepared to ready to answer any questions or topics you mentioned in your voicemail. For example, a voicemail I might leave could be:

“Hi Mr. Smith, this is Claudia from DFS Creative Concepts. I’m calling to talk about the Facebook analytics on we went over last week. Have you had any time to think about launching the advertisement we discussed? I had some new ideas I wanted to get your approval on. Please call me back at 123-456-7890. Thank you and have a great day!”

Keep your tone of voice in mind. It’s easy to get flustered and stumble over your words or speak too quickly or quietly. Staying confident is key! (#GirlBossPower)

Don’t freak out if you don’t have the answer to a question or don’t know what something is, just be aware of your listening skills and take notes (again, Tip #1) so you can put in some research after the conversation ends. Your client will be impressed that you’ve taken their ideas seriously enough to listen closely, research what they had to say, and follow up with them on it.