Whether you are in an office wearing a suit or at home in jeans and a sweatshirt, your communication needs to be polished to consistently close business. Here are some successful business communication basics.
Studies show that words only convey 7% of meaning. Tonality provides 38% of our understanding and body language. 55%. Keep this in mind when writing e-mail.
- Be short and factual in your communication. People are busy and long e-mails are less likely to be read.
- Ask clearly for what you want. If you want an e-mail response or a phone call, be sure that you have stated that directly.
- It is good to speak in conversational language, which is friendly and inviting. Yet, sarcasm or humor can be misunderstood without tonality. Reread your e-mail, out loud without expression, to ensure that it says what you meant.
- If you use Outlook, you can request a return receipt, which will advise you when your e-mail has been opened. This can be helpful for important notifications and avoids the need to ask for an acknowledgment.
There is money in your telephone. You have the opportunity to make new relationships every time you pick up the phone. While e-mails are fine for communicating facts, they can never substitute or one to one communication.
Prepare Your Self
Prepare yourself before you make phone calls. Your mood and attitude will be communicated in your voice. Imagine you are going to a party with your best friends. You walk in with a big smile, feeling great, and expecting a good time. When you make calls with this attitude, people will be more receptive.
When you are not the right mood, do something to lighten up. Put on music and dance. Read or listen to an inspirational message. Place pictures of your dream home or travel or loved ones in your workspace. Be willing to be silly. Could you smile, if you wore a red clown’s nose while making calls? Working at home means you have more options than in an office.
Develop the fine art of phone courtesy and listening.
- Ask whether your client has enough time for your call. If they say no, reschedule and call another time.
- Listen for cues in their voice. If they speak fast match their speed. If they speak slowly then slow down to their pace. Increase or reduce your volume to match theirs.
- Notice whether they like to be social, or simply want to get the task done.
· If they are fast-paced and task oriented. They will appreciate your getting right to the point. Don’t waste their time. Tell them what you need and ask for a decision. They will appreciate your no-nonsense approach.
· If they are fast-paced and social, be prepared to name drop. They will want to know who else uses your product. They will be interested in meetings were lots of other people are present.
· If they are slower paced and very friendly. They may want to take their time in making a decision. You can help them make a decision more quickly if you tell them all the ways that you minimize their risk. They will want to know about guarantees and proven results.
· Someone who is slower paced and is detail oriented, may want lots of facts. They may want ingredients and proof of results as well as certifications, comparisons, and documentation. They are likely to ask questions for which you not have the answer. Be honest at all times. If a question doesn’t make sense, feel free to ask, “ Why is that important to you?”
Every phone conversation is an opportunity to improve your skills. Some people you call will be a delight, others may be downright rude. Keep it light! If you look at it as a game, it can be far more enjoyable.
If you are new to working at home. It is easy to fall into the “Howard Hughes Syndrome”. Suddenly you find that because you CAN work in your pajamas, you haven’t been out of them for two weeks.
The strongest relationships are made in face to face meetings. It is very acceptable to meet people in coffee shops and over meals. Find time to meet with people in some of the following ways:
- Networking Meetings.
- Chamber Of Commerce meetings.
- Special interest events. (Check out meetup.com for a list of special events near you).
- Closing contracts.
- Delivering products.
Celebrate the opportunity to work from home. You have the flexibility to control your destiny.