In the past 6 weeks two entrepreneurs have approached me about making calls to potential clients on their behalf. And in both cases, they picked up the phone themselves and discovered their own “phone power”.
There’s freedom in this – a greater confidence in creating a strong bottom line, when one can pick up the phone and make things happen.
You have your own phone power; we all do. To discover it, like all skills and talents in life, you have to begin.
Here’s some suggestions for getting your fingers dialing:
1) Jot down on a blank piece of paper or an index card the main points you want to cover in your phone conversation. That way, if you do get nervous, you’ll still be able to state the reason for your call.
2) Start with people you already know. These could be past clients you haven’t worked with in awhile, or individuals you have met through networking, or someone you’ve been introduced to through LinkedIn. All of us have names in notebooks or on bits of paper, business cards on our desk, emails in our inbox of people we’ve been meaning to call.
3) These “warm” calls (calls to people with whom we already have a connection) are an important part of discovering your phone power. Think of them like the warm up one does before exercising, or playing an instrument, or singing on stage.
4) Make phone calls a small task, not a big project. For example, begin with one or two calls each day (which will take 10 minutes if you leave messages and a maximum of 30 minutes if you have 2 conversations).
5) Acknowledge the good things that happen when you reach people. In fact, write them down! For example, one of the entrepreneurs started by contacting past clients. And one of those calls resulted in a meeting to discuss a potential project. This success is the motivation for making the next call so it’s important to remember the opportunities you create when you pick up the phone.
6) Take the time to learn more about phone communication (which you are obviously doing by reading this blog). Much like public speaking, you can improve your phone power when you are aware of, and practice, specific skills and principles.
7) Get support. Again, like any skill or talent, it takes time to become proficient in your phonework. Connecting regularly with others who are developing and using their phone power will help you stay on track, keep you accountable and accelerate your learning curve.
8) Take advice from Sydney Smith (1171-1845), an English writer and clergyman, who said “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little.” In otherwords … begin!
Speaking of beginnings, today – March 10 – is the anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s first phone call in 1876. He called his assistant in an adjoining room with the words “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”
Here is a link to a delightful video that tells the story of how the first telephone operators were young boys, and how and why that changed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njW70pofZsg