Why are so many of us more comfortable to send an email than to pick up the phone? And here, I’m not talking about delivering bad news to a client and nor am I talking about a cold sales call. Even calls to existing clients to simply get back on their radar frequently fall in our ‘uncomfortable zone’.
For many of us, the phone in this case is potentially confrontational; we fear rejection.
So, as most people would say that a successful phone call is a better relationship building tool than an email, how do we overcome our call reluctance to feel confident when getting back in touch with clients?
Here are our 10 top tips that should make it easier for you to pick up the phone and make that call.
- Keep your eyes and ears open. Have you read or got wind of something topical that could interest or offer some help to your client?
- Identify the ‘low hanging fruit’. These may be people for whom you have done a good piece of work in the past or with whom you had a good relationship and who are therefore likely to welcome your initiative.
- Ask yourself, ‘If I were the person being called, what would make me pleased I picked up the phone’?
- Structure your message from the other person’s point of view. “I just wanted to catch up …” is all about me and what I want. “I wonder if you might be interested in …..” is about them. Does your call answer the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question for them?
- What can you offer them – an update, e.g. new tax regulations? An invitation to a seminar or networking event?
- Plan your call before you pick up the phone so you know what you will say (broadly speaking) and what your opening lines will be. After the call, have you moved forwards or sideways? The former is a commitment to the next stage, e.g. a cup of coffee. The latter is a brush-off, e.g. “We’ll call you if we’re interested”.
- Assume your call will go to voicemail and have your short and concise message ready to go. It is always better to leave a voice mail than just put the phone down as it means it is less of a surprise to the other person when you do actually speak.
- Consider standing up when you make the call. You’ll be surprised how different the effect can be at the other end of the phone.
- Remember that however long you have been prevaricating over this call, the other person is not expecting it. Help them to see immediate value in it for them.
- Consider any like objections or blocks the other person may respond with and plan in advance what you might say in reply.
The more you’ve thought these through and worked on how your call might be received favourably, the more confidence you will have in picking up the phone to make the call in the first place.