The phone call is a valuable and powerful tool – especially in sales; however, it should be used with care and conscientiousness. People don’t like being interrupted by the phone. It is the equivalent of someone showing up unexpected at your front door. Modern-day etiquette is to email first and set up a time to talk.
Unless you know someone specifically prefers emails over voicemails or vice versa, err on the side of using both. Particularly when confirming information, it is better to over-communicate. Voicemails get ignored less often than email accidentally goes to spam.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Be aware of time zones.
2. Get to know your prospect’s schedule... Are Fridays better than Mondays?
3. Assume you are calling a cell phone unless you know for certain that it is an office line, which means don’t call too early or too late.
4. When you call, assume you will get voicemail and be prepared with a concise message.
- Keep it short and to the point.
- If you have to convey details, do so in an email – and let them know that you will follow up with details via email.
- Make sure your voicemail has an action statement. If it is to call you back, great. If it is something else, say it. No need to play phone tag to get someone to fax you a rebate application.
- When leaving your name and number, imagine someone on the other end of the line writing it down. Speak clearly and slowly and repeat it.
- Leave your number at the beginning and at the end of the voicemail. If they have to replay the message to catch your number, they’ll be thankful to retrieve it in the first few seconds of the replay.
5. Send an email documenting the discussion, including the action items and key take-aways. If your prospect were driving or otherwise indisposed while on the phone with you, they would certainly appreciate this courtesy.
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