A few years ago, I was about two months into a new job that required information from clients to get to various teams. I had one client that hadn’t responded to a single email I sent. I went to my boss and asked, “What do I do?” Her answer: “Pick up the phone and call them. Talk to your clients face to face.”
This was such an easy answer. Pick up the phone. Call the client. TALK to them, person to person.
Life requires phone calls. Actually picking up a phone and talking to a human being. I’ve talked to a lot of people lately who are terrified just thinking about doing this. Here are my tips to making it easier.
1 – The worst answer you will get is “No.”. Embrace the no. Expect the no. This then prepares you to use a back up plan. Don’t have a back up plan, well, you’re going to need one.
2 – Use a script. I have scripts for EVERYTHING I do on the phone. My outgoing voicemail, my out of office voicemail, my email out of office, I even have a script for when I leave a voicemail for someone else!
3 – Have notes, a list, your questions, written down and ready in front of you.
4 – Take notes. THis way, after the call has ended, you can send the callee an email recapping what you just discussed. That way any action steps are in writing. It will be harder for you and them to forget!
5 – Make calls in a quiet place, using speakerphone if needed. I love making calls in the car. Not while driving, unless it’s my mom or other family members where I don’t have to remember specific details. (I know I’m going to pick up nephew’s birthday gift. I don’t need to write that down in that instant.).
Here is my script for leaving someone a voicemail.
“Hi, this message is for *Callee*. This is Safety Pin Queen. You can return my call to 312-456-7890. I am calling about setting up a meeting to discuss my current project about phone calls. I’m available all week. Again, this is Safety Pin Queen and you can reach me at 321-456-7890. Thank you. Goodbye.”
One last tip, when leaving your return phone number, pretend like you are writing it as you say it. I know, sounds silly, but how many times have you had to re-listen to a message just to get the phone number? Pretend you are writing it down, it will force you to speak slower. Bonus, the person you need to call you back will actually be able to and you won’t have wasted their time.