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.
THE PHONE LADY NEWS & EVENTS
Many thanks to Chelsea Hill and the Centre for Women in Business for this wonderful profile in the April issue of BizBeat: http://www.centreforwomeninbusiness.ca/en/home/aboutus/bizbeat/feature.aspx
April 25 – Halifax – Grow Your Business
10 am until noon
This monthly prospecting practice, in conjunction with The Hub Halifax – 1673 Barrington Street, brings together like-minded entrepreneurs who want to perfect their telephone skills. To register click here http://www.thephonelady.ca/rsvp/ Call me at 902-404-3290 or email me for more details.
May 2, 9 and 16 – Halifax – PhoneWork: The Art (and Science) of Effective Telephone Communication
At NSCC, Institute of Technology Campus, 6 to 9 pm Thursday evenings
From telephone interviews to conference calls, from customer service to market research, from booking appointments to closing sales, the telephone is an essential business tool. Using it effectively requires specific listening, interviewing and speaking skills. Regardless if you are a business owner, an employee, or someone looking for a new job, this course provides you with everything you need to banish phone fear and become phone fabulous!
All the information, including registration, is here: http://www.nscc.ca/learning_programs/coned/Course.aspx?I=690
May 5 – Halifax – Launch for Anthology Untying the Apron Strings
At The Music Room, 6181 Lady Hammond Road http://www.themusicroom.ca 2 to 4 pm
This anthology of poetry and prose created by Lorri Neilsen Glenn ca.linkedin.com/pub/lorri-neilsen-glenn/27/a27/795 remembers our mothers of the ’50s and I am honoured that Lorri has included my essay Eulogy for Eunice.
You can find out more about the Halifax launch here https://www.facebook.com/events/117017758496274/?notif_t=plan_user_invited and about the anthology here http://www.guernicaeditions.com/title.php?id=9781550717297
June 5 – Halifax – Phone Fear to Phone Fabulous – Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CEED)
Whether it’s leveraging supplies, coordinating marketing initiatives or following up on a sales lead, the telephone is often the fastest, cheapest and most effective tool at hand to get the job done. Why is it then that it is also one of the most avoided tools in business? Not feeling confident in your ability to effectively communicate by phone can very quickly create a negative impact on your business’ bottom line. Avoid this impact and overcome your phone fear by empowering yourself with the knowledge that you need to turn your telephone into one of your company’s key competitive advantages. Learn more details and register here: http://www.ceed.ca/index.php?id=4&m=6&y=2013
June 7 – Halifax – Powerful Conversations – Editors Association of Canada
Discover your unique “phone personality” and learn how to be a more effective communicator on the telephone. This workshop will sharpen your existing skills and teach you new ways to use the phone to build relationships and get things done. More details available here: http://www.editors.ca/content/pre-conference-workshops
October 2 – Halifax – Exceed Your Quota: Get More Appointments – Close More Sales!
Peter Skakum of Tangent Strategies joins me for this powerful workshop at Ashburn Golf Club. We’ll show you how to confirm more meetings and leave those meetings with new customers and new orders. Download the course description, learn more details and register here: http://www.thephonelady.ca/registration/