I won’t mince words: I don’t like the phone. Talking with people I have yet to develop a relationship with I like even less. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been well suited for success in the digital age. Social media and the Internet have allowed me to build relationships with people without having to hard sell them. Still, in my line of work, marketing and public relations, the phone—more specifically, follow up and the prospecting call—is something I can’t avoid. In fact, working the phone to help my clients promote their people, products, and services is an important part of what I do. As a growing small business, it’s something that should be an important part of what you do as well.
To ensure the time you spend on the prospecting call is valuable, ask yourself these three questions before you dial:
- Who am I calling?
- What do they need?
- What do I want to accomplish?
The underlying theme here is purpose. If you don’t have a good reason to make a prospecting call, don’t make the call. People are busy, and unless you can clearly articulate how you can help them solve a problem or address a need, you’re simply not worth their time and they will make you feel that way. It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for the image of your business.
On the flip side, failing to make a call when you have purpose and even cause can be just as damaging. This is especially true when it comes to follow up. Again, people are busy. Just because someone isn’t beating down your door to give you their business or learn more about your products or services doesn’t mean they’re not interested. Your call is often the reminder they need to take action. In fact, appropriate follow up is something most people appreciate—and expect—which is why learning to call with purpose, as well as knowing when not to call, is a valuable skill. It can save you time and make you money…two things that are good for any business.