Martin Farrugia specialises in training your team on telephone techniques and has many years' experience to share with you. I interview him here to find out more about his role.
What is it that you do?
I share proven strategies that allow people to overcome their self-limiting beliefs and feel empowered in using the telephone as an effective business growth & follow up tool.
Most people don’t realise the power they have in the palm of their hand to transform & grow their business.They can literally reach the world from the comfort of their armchair and build a global business.
I have been on the frontline for over 30 years and am now coaching business owners, entrepreneurs and people who understand effective communication is a key to success.They realise that the telephone is a vital business building tool and when used correctly can bridge the gap in winning more business quicker.
Due to the advance of technology, people seem to “hide behind emails” and expect an email is going to work for their business. However, the reality is, when you delve into it, . I think a lot of people are starving for it, they’re crying out for it. Simply picking up the phone and saying hello to them can really make a difference to someone’s day. I know I get excited when there is something in the mail, even if it is a bill! People are not even getting mail these days. From the moment we are born to the day we leave this earth we all yearn for human interaction. Pick up the phone and make a call.
“This is actually something I fell into.”
I was promoting a multi-speaker event handing out flyers and noticed people were just walking away throwing them down on the ground. This got the better of me, so I suggested to the owner of business,
This was a top event, with main speakers such as Zig Ziglar, Og Mandino and Dr Wayne Dyer. This event had 6 top international speakers, so we needed to let our fingers do the walking and start calling people, then we could fax them some information. (Yes, it was in the days of fax machines!) The promoter, Stephen Klemich, said “Great idea! Go for it!” At that point, I must have turned 10 shades of white! I certainly didn’t know how to go about it. That night, I sat down and thought about what I would like people to ask me, what would pique my interest to say YES. The following day, I started on phone and the rest is history!
What sets you apart?
Number One is my real experience from the frontline, from the trenches if you like. These days, there are people calling themselves educators and I’ve put a few of them on the spot. I ask them what kind of real experience they’ve had, what kind of calls, what roles, and what objections have they faced. Unfortunately, most give me some reason that they need time to compose themselves or not in the right headspace etc. My belief is when you are passionate then you must always be ready to demonstrate your expertise.
Secondly, I am comfortable working with people either face-to-face or over the phone.
Some people are okay on the phone but panic when they have to deal with customers face-to-face or vice versa whereas I’m comfortable in both arenas. I’ve had people say to me that I’m one of those “Rembrandts of communication” because I can use both very easily. That’s because I view the phone as purely another form of communication. A technique I train in my workshops is the power of creative visualisation. I explain that, “When you’re on the phone, close your eyes and visualise that you are there sitting in front of the person and enjoying a cup of coffee with them.Just talk like they are a long-lost friend.” The immediate improvement in results is incredible which in turn increases confidence and so on. Very powerful.Give it a go now.
This breaks down, cuts through, clarifies, and dissolves
any objections and your results will improve.
I trained a small team of Appointment Setters in the Philippines and shared this insight with the team. After only a few days, one of the appointment setters took action, implemented what
we covered in the training and followed the script I wrote in a specific format. He improved from making only one appointment per day to securing four appointments and now achieving this regularly. That’s very, very exciting and also gives belief to the rest of the team who are also improving. Everything I share comes from my experience of being either in the field or on the telephone, making all the mistakes, falling over, failing, getting back up, brushing myself off and moving forward again.That’s really what it’s all about, being able to pass on my experience and get people on the right track for business growth and sales success.
When team members tell me that they are not performing at their best, I understand from personal experience.I can also sit in their shoes. If they say to me, I can suggest ways to gain that.Confidence comes from using your whole body, so I might suggest that they stand up to make their phone calls. The energy will transfer through your body, into your voice and you will perform better. You will be nice and clear in your communication. Taking that one action alone, makes a real difference. Try it & see for yourself.
If you are not confident on the phone, any call you make or take will come across badly. It’s what I refer to as call reluctance. People don’t like being rejected, so they do not make enough calls to reach the prospects who are ready to be clients. You need to ask yourself how much is each “No” to you?
If for example, you are a Financial Planner and out of 10 calls you make, you book one appointment. Each appointment was worth $500 of business, so every “No” is worth $50. I suggest that you put a $50 note on your computer screen to remind yourself that for every call you make, you’ve just earned $50 for your business. So, every call is worth making! Earlier I spoke briefly about the power of Creative Visualization.
Applying this kind of thinking changes how you perform in your communication. You are communicating human to human. You need to set the difference in your communication so that when the person hangs up the phone, they think “That was different. I could have spoken to that person a lot longer.” That is what sets you apart!
Most importantly, you need to use my three L’s for success in business and in life: LISTEN, LEARN and LOVE.
I wouldn’t be able to pass that on if hadn’t done then myself.
I’m a strong believer that you can’t teach people something that you haven’t done yourself. People can see through that very quickly these days. In the same way that I can visualise the prospect on the phone, I also understand what the person is going through learning telephone skills. The way I communicate with them is tempered by my understanding of what they may be feeling or may be dealing with. It’s more effective in having them learn what to do than being “the boss” and shouting at them about what they have to do.
Having run teams in call centres, the team have known my background and they learn that I am happy to assist them and go on the phone to help them. I encourage them, “If you’re on a call and you’re getting stuck, put up your hand and I’ll assist.” They learn by watching me in action implementing all the things I have recommended they do.
The makeup of the teams is important too. I’ve lead 20 odd teams and dealt with different personality types. It’s about learning how to manage the mix of personality types as well as helping them get the job done. Some may be needy and like you to make a big song and dance when they achieve result. On the opposite side of the room, you have the quiet achievers who just get on with the job. Then there are people in between these two extremes. These are the kinds of personalities you deal with and you need to nurture each one to get the best out of them. With the team in the Philippines, there is also a different cultural background to take into account. One of the things I’m getting used to is being addressed with “Hello Sir” when I am used to being called Martin. They are very polite and love to learn but also like to be directed.