Many of us fear picking up the phone and calling a client or potential client. For some it’s not knowing exactly what to say, for others it’s the fear of saying the wrong thing, and some simply the fear of the unknown. Rest assured, in all my phone experiences, no one has ever reached through the phone and attacked me.
The phone is not an object to be feared, it’s a tool of communication. It can’t hurt you, the worst thing that can happen is the other party hangs up on you. Be advised, you should always be prepared for a call you are making. If you are calling someone for information, get yourself prepared with your questions. You should have a note pad with you to take important notes, and if new questions arise, write them down to be asked when the other party is finished speaking. If you are calling someone to inform them of something, you should have all your information together. Beyond that, what’s in a phone call?
I admit that I sometimes have an anxiety about calling people. My issue is in starting the conversation correctly so that my objective is addressed. I have to remind myself that I know what I’m talking about, that I simply need to take my time, and get the point across. Sometimes I write a little cheat sheet that I peek at occasionally to make certain I’m staying on course. I like to talk, on occasion I do go off topic, and I need my list to bring me back on point. If you mess it up, excuse yourself and start over.
Not long ago, I was expecting a call from a client while being in a fairly noisy location. A call came in with a very similar number, and I mistook it for my client. I jumped into the call, not realizing it was not who I thought it was and started joking with the person. Suddenly as the noise around me died down, I realized we were discussing two completely different events. I stopped, I looked at my phone and the number on display and realized my error. I apologized and explained my error, asked for his name again (he told me when we began, but I had dismissed it as a joke my client was playing on me), and asked if we could start from the beginning. The gentleman laughed, appreciated that I was honest, and gave me a chance to start fresh. He is now a client.
Moral of the story: A phone call doesn’t need be perfect to be successful, it just needs to have a point.