How to Make That Phone Call

It’s amazing how many people are afraid of making phone calls.

Do you procrastinate over phone calls? Even people who like talking on the phone have some kinds of calls that they don’t like to make–which means waiting too long to make them. Like sales calls–I’m amazed at how many sales people dread making phone calls, and literally lose money because they don’t make enough of them. For other people, it might be calling to complain to a company about an order you placed that they messed up.

How to phone the people you’re afraid to call:

  1. Make a list of people you need to call. This implies “chunking”–putting a bunch of similar activities together. It’s a lot easier to make phone calls in clusters.
  2. Make notes. Beside each name and number, write 1-2 sentences summarizing what needs to be said to them or what you need to ask them. Note form can work as well, eg:
    • Katsumi Roberts (Pine Crest Furniture). Ask if her company is finding our new accounting software useful. Explain to her how great our POS add-on could be.
    • Steve Koothrappali (Big Bang Events). What happened Saturday? Waiter obviously drunk. Get 20% discount.
  3. When is best to call them? Make note of that too. Even a guess is good. That can dictate the order in which you make the calls.
  4. Start with something a little difficult. On your list you’ll have easier and harder calls to make. Start with one of the harder calls, to get prepared, and then go for the really hard one. Once you’ve knocked them off your list, everything else will seem easier.
  5. Promise yourself a reward after you’ve called them. Don’t get your next coffee until you’ve knocked three names off the list. And when you’ve called 10 people, you get to make that purchase on Amazon/Ebay/etc. that you’ve been wanting.
  6. Smile when you call. This is crucial if it’s a sales call. But even if you’re calling for something unpleasant, it’s amazing how effective it can be to start off on a positive note. For one thing, people can hear your smile on the other end of the phone. And smiling will make you feel more confident, which helps you deal with difficult people and situations even better.
  7. Celebrate a string of successful calls with that reward you promised yourself! Don’t stop too early though–as you make the calls, you’ll find you gain momentum and the calling becomes easier.