During a brainstorming session this week I found myself saying “Phone calls are not the right approach for this project.” What! There was certainly a lot of laughter over The Phone Lady saying this.
Yes, I do strongly advocate for everyone to recognize and use the telephone to connect and build relationships. But there are indeed some situations when it’s not the best choice.
For example, my dearest friend has owned a voiceover business for the past seven years through a sound studio in her home. This was a choice she made so that she could be available to her young children. She has built this business up through her website, job sites, social media, email and bi-annual direct mail to a reliable and substantial annual revenue – all the while volunteering at her children’s school, picking them up at the bus stop, managing all the household “stuff”, etc. Her income is exactly what she set out to achieve and … she’s never picked up the phone to call a prospective customer! At the moment, there’s no reason for her to do so.
For any given project or business, consider these questions before you commit to a full-scale phone campaign:
- How many people do you need to reach in order to achieve your goal? It’s so important to know this number. In some cases the number may be small enough that you will be able to achieve your goal through face-to-face networking. And in some cases, the number will be too large to reach through phone calls. There’s a formula I use to determine this number; you can find it in this post: http://www.thephonelady.ca/call-into-fall-the-formula/
- Do you have a specific deadline? It’s possible that the combination of your goal and your deadline mean the telephone is not the best tool to use. I’ve always monitored my own calls and, on average, I am able to make ten calls an hour. Obviously, if I reach someone and inspire a detailed conversation, I make a lot fewer calls. You also have to consider that to reach one person will require multiple messages. If you were to ask me to reach 100 people by phone, I would request a minimum of 40 hours to complete the project – roughly two weeks if I did nothing else but dial.
- Who do you want to reach? There are professions and industries that are harder to reach by phone than others. For example, getting a dentist or a doctor on the telephone is extremely difficult. They are better served when you are able to communicate your message through their office manager. And a recent project that involved calling small and mid-sized trucking companies taught me that the owners are most often available between 8 and 9 am. Other than that … you’re out of luck. So imagine how long it would take to reach 100 of them!
- What is the purpose of your call? In other words, can you accomplish your task without the real-time conversation. For example, if part of what you are doing is educating your audience about an issue, product or service, perhaps a well-crafted email, and a social media and traditional media campaign will produce a better result than leaving multiple voicemail messages.
- Can you get things started with voicemail? When sending an unexpected email to a prospect, letting them know about it will increase the impact. Leave a precise message for someone along with the phrase “I’m going to take the liberty of sending you information to (such and such email address) …” . We all receive too much email and, as a consequence, can be quick with the delete button. Leaving the message above will not only prevent your information from hitting the trash, but also draw attention to it. For more details on this approach, view this post: http://www.thephonelady.ca/sample-pitch-1/
I’m sure there are other questions that can be added to this list. What do you think? I encourage you to share by adding a comment to this post.