Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, much as their businesses do.
Sometimes you’ll never know they run a small business unless you actually meet them.
Then, there are others, that have the telltale signs of being a small business:
- Their email address is a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or some other free one.
- Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Their web address is some free-hosted site.
- When you call them, they answer the phone as your kid does when you’re calling him downstairs for dinner.
“Yo,” is not an acceptable way to answer your phone if you want to be taken seriously as a professional.
Neither is: “Hey, how ya doin’?”
Nor does: “What?” inspire great things when calling someone you might be looking to hire.
How you answer the phone makes a big difference, even if you’re running a small business.
You’d think this would be common sense, however, as with most things in life, common sense doesn’t seem to be all that common.
When you answer your work line as above, you instantly put your potential customers on edge.
“Does this bozo really think I’m going to pay him for his services?”
How can you trust someone with your money, if they can’t answer the phone like an adult?
Unless I’m calling a stand-up comic, or someone that works in a business where light-hearted fun is the business, anything as the above tells me I’ll be looking elsewhere to spend my cash.
So, how should you be answering your work phone?
A good rule of thumb is to simply say your first and last name as the introduction: “John Smith.”
That works in the mega-huge faceless corporate world, so it also works in a small business.
Though adding some personality and customer service isn’t a bad idea: “Hi, this is John Smith, how can I help you?”
Want to sound like a big company? Use the company name in your greeting: “Thanks for calling XYZ Inc., this is John, how can I help you?”
We’ve all heard the saying, you never have a second chance to make a first impression – that is very true on the phone, especially if this is the person’s first time calling you and your business.
If you don’t sound like a reputable, professional person, you won’t get that person’s business.
Competition in all fields is immense these days, so you really don’t have a second chance to make that all important first impression.
So, unless you’re a Sylvester Stallone impersonator, answering your business phone: “Yo” just doesn’t cut it.
Once you’ve established a rapport with someone, and know the number, then perhaps you could answer slightly less formal.
However, that’ll never happen, if you scare off potential customers by answering your phone like your kid.
So, until that time, always answer the phone like a business person – unless of course, you don’t want to be in business.