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Telephone psychology, lesson 101

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As familiar as we are with using the telephone to communicate, there are some very simple techniques that can really help to build a relationship over the telephone. Although it would appear difficult to develop a relationship quickly with a virtual stranger, given practice and know-how it can be done.

The secret of rapport building is for the recipient of the call to feel comfortable within the telephone conversation. For it to feel familiar enough not to notice the differences between you, like the feeling you have when you call a friend.

Think about calling a person you know – a close friend or relative. Now think about how often you use their name when in a telephone conversation. Surprisingly little. Once perhaps at the beginning of a conversation, but unlikely that it would be used again.

Telemarketing agents tend to regard it as good practice to generously sprinkle a name throughout a conversation – they feel it creates a friendly environment. In fact the opposite is true, it often sows mistrust and certainly sounds artificial.

The opposite however is true for telemarketing agents. Rapport is all about building trust between the caller and the recipient of the call. By introducing themselves using both names, an agent is showing transparency as to who they are. Subliminally this says ‘I have nothing to hide’ and helps to build both trust and rapport right from the first seconds of the call.

Finally, the tone of voice and tempo of the conversation is critical. Callers should adapt their tone and tempo to that of the other person. Speaking too quickly will result in the recipient of the call feeling that the cold caller is too aggressive or too pushy. Speaking too slowly will irritate the recipient.

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