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8 tips on how to save time on outgoing calls

OK, now let's talk about another time thief who steals way to many hours every day. Here are your tips on how to get outgoing calls to be more efficient:

1. Why are you calling?
Most telephone are too long. If you already have a clear purpose of why you're calling, the call will be much more effective. Write down a few points to be discussed and what your goal is with the call. The delicate balance here is to determine what kind of phone call you're dealing with. Do you talk with a supplier that you already know, maybe it's better to send an email than call him/her. Is there a customer that you don't know all that well, perhaps it's it important that you call and let him/her know that you're willing to make your time available to him/her.

2. Who are you calling?
What does this person need? Set the client's needs against your list and make sure that they meet in a good way.

3. Start correctly
Ask the person you are talking to if he/she has time to talk. It's the first thing you should do when you get hold of the person you call. Everyone I work with are just as busy as I am and it's important that they aren't busy with other things when I call, for both parties' sake, of course.

4. Pay attention and make sure your tone is right
The smartest way to make the person you call is to ask questions that he/she can't answer yes or no to.
”Are you satisfied with your current provider?” is wrong. ”What works well today with the provider you have?” is right. Getting their attention is, of course, important. You probably get a lot of calls from people who obviously do other things while talking on the phone with you. They might check their emails, eat something or rustle with papers on the side. Boring. Don't treat your customers on the phone like that.

5. Avoid becoming manic about getting hold of a person (do you recognize yourself?)
You will get manic if you call someone every five minutes because you just have to get hold that particular person NOW (mainly because it's the only thing on your agenda right now). Make sure you have other things to do. Maybe it's enough that you recorded ONE message.

6. Schedule all your outgoing calls to a certain time during the day if possible. This is incredibly important in order to gain time. Most of us aren't good at keeping track of fragmented tasks and we lose lots of valuable time if we jump between different tasks. If you have a dozen phone calls to make - it's smart to make them during one or two hours instead of making two calls here and there during the day. Simply create a certain time for telephone calls.

7. Book an appointment
If it's possible - try to schedule times when you should call people to let you know that they are available. It not only saves time to actually know that you will get hold of the person you are looking for - he/she will also be prepared to discuss what you have agreed to talk about.

8. When you end a call
Repeat what you have come up with or agreed upon. Repeat the date, time and place and how, where and when the other person can reach you if something would change.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
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