Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to live in this high-tech digital age. For online business owners, it's provided new opportunities that simply wouldn't have been possible just twenty years ago.
One of the many boons of the advancement in technology is a seemingly endless array of ways to instantly connect: text, Skype, FaceTime, email, Slack. The list goes on and on.
In spite of all these options for communication— no matter how much you hate it, avoid it, and refuse to accept it— there will be times when there's just no substitute for an old-fashioned phone call.
“If they won't do business with me via email, I don't want to work with them. I hate talking on the phone.”
If your disdain of phone calls is simply because you don't like to talk on the phone, our best advice is for you to reconsider for business purposes. We've urged you before to get on the phone during the negotiation process, but embracing the telephone meeting can serve you well in all aspects of your career.
Here's why you should make the call— to take the call.
You can accomplish things faster on the phone.
Our job involves a lot of phone calls and a lot of back-and-forth emails. We can say with great confidence that it is almost always easier to jump on a five-minute call to review everyone's questions, confirm their understanding, and address any anxieties, than it would be to do the same over a lengthy email exchange.
A phone call allows you to build greater rapport with your client.
It's important to build relationships. You know, the fine art of small talk.
Sure, we know that time “wasted” on chitchat is precisely why some people HATE talking on the phone in the first place. But the time invested in building a positive impression and personal rapport with your clients will pay off over time. Remember: you want to foster ongoing relationships with your clients, not just one-off transactions.
It's easier to read tone on a phone call than in an email.
Have you ever received an email and thought: omg, this person is so mean and I don't want to work with them. Then when you relay the gist of the conversation to a friend, your friend says they don't think that sounds mean at all.
Sometimes it is hard to determine tone in an email and there is ample room for misinterpretation. Different people may react differently to the same set of written words.
Very simply, it's easier to avoid misunderstandings about tone during a phone call.
You can engage in active listening.
Active listening is the act of mindfully paying attention to and comprehending the meaning of the words another party is speaking. It is an essential life skill that can set you apart from your competitors in the eyes of your clients.
When you are engaging in active listening, you are only focused on what the other person is saying and what it means. You are not thinking about what you are going to say next; your goal is to be attentive and retain the information you are receiving. Ask open-ended questions and ask follow-up questions to confirm your understanding.
Plan to let the other person do 70% of the talking, while you do 30%. Remember, focus on listening rather than trying to get your own points across.
You can more easily gather information and learn about the other side's pain points in a negotiation.
When you engage in active listening, it's far easier to learn about what the other side is looking for. Bloggers say, with great frequency, that they have nothing to offer big brands. This simply isn't true— you are bringing so much to the table. Listen carefully to what the other side is saying and determine what you can do to assist.
Keep in mind that you are the greatest expert on your audience and the greatest champion of your capabilities. Once you've ascertained the other side's pain points through active listening, you can share exactly how you and your audience can help.
It's easier to change your tactic in a phone call.
Just like it is easier to gauge tone in a phone call, it's also easier to decide if you need to change your tactic. We always recommend that you have an agenda prepared prior to any business call to help you stay on track. However, based on the conversation, you should stay flexible. Make sure you are willing and able to change tactics if needed.
Opportunities to upsell are more apparent.
When you use only email for the sales process, it is hard to know when to try and upsell. However, when you in the midst of an actual conversation, it is easier to determine the other party's interest in what you are offering. If they are interested in what you are offering, why not also provide an upsell package? This is a simple way to provide additional options and maximize your income.
In summary, we can do almost anything via our phones these days. Don't hesitate to talk on it, too.
It may be awkward at first but as with any other skill, the art of the phone call can be refined and perfected with time, effort, and practice.
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We believe phone calls are an important part of the negotiation process. If you need additional negotiation tips, you can download our Successful Negotiation Blueprint below.