Do You Have Repose?

Early in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night” Dick Diver and his friends are enjoying lunch at a Paris restaurant, and Diver announces that he is the only American male in the restaurant with “repose.”  By this he means the ability to be completely relaxed and in control.  To prove his point, he asks the group to pay attention to the men who enter the restaurant.  Each one has some tic or mannerism, perhaps straightening his tie, or looking nervously about the room.  This is the cause of some hilarity within the group as they wait for just one person to enter the restaurant in a state of perfect calm and composure.

I often think about this scene when I train people to do things that make them nervous when they do them on the job, especially the outbound phone call to get an appointment with a prospect, or the first 60 seconds of an on-site call.  Today we’ll talk about the phone call and in future posts we’ll discuss techniques for training people to make a professional call opening.  In both cases, the method of delivery, with complete ease and calm is often far more powerful than the content.

Here are just three of the many best techniques for teaching teleconsulting:

First:  Teach the difference between telemarketing and teleconsulting. In the former, I am trying to push a product after getting someone to stay on the line.  In the latter, I am trying to add value to the conversation for the purpose of developing interest in my idea, usually getting an appointment.  Fact:  People hate telemarketers and won’t talk to them, but they will stay on the line if they perceive there is something in it for them.

Second:  Get the learners to stop saying “How are you today?” after the greeting.  This is what telemarketers do and it’s cheesy.  You don’t care how the person is today.  You are trying to find a way to add value, so stop with the “How are you?”  It is very difficult to break learners of this habit.  They will tell you they are “just being polite.” But they’re not being polite.  They just have no idea of how to organize the call. After the greeting, the caller should make a cogent, value statement explaining the reason for the call.  In other words, get to the point!

Third:  Calm down!  Speak with quiet, measured repose.  I masochistically listen to lots of telemarketing calls so I can teach what not to do, and one behavior that is constant is that the caller always sounds like he just found out his car has been stolen. Prospects will be more likely to listen to you if they feel you are a business professional, so quiet down and slow down.  Believe it or not, pausing to let the customer speak is really a good idea!

Consider that the customer, who cannot see you on the telephone, must form an impression about your competency and professionalism by what he or she hears.  So when you plan your next outbound phone call to a prospect, project an air of repose, and make a statement of value.  In other words…

Think Like Your Customer!

P.S.  If you want this blog sent to you automatically, click on “RSS” at the top of this page and follow the instructions.  If you want to receive my monthly newsletter, click on ActionSystems Training at the top, then on the website click “Contact” and enter your email address.  I’ll add you to the subscriber list.  Thanks.  Gregory

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at

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