There's something about picking up the phone and talking to another person that can strike fear in to the heart of the most rational, competent person.
What is it about phone calls?
You don't know what to say? Jot down a few notes - the reason for the call, a few things you'd like to say, key points to be discussed.
You'll mess up what you want to say? Create a script - think about and practice what you want to say before you make the call. Don't read from the script when you actually make the call but use it as a guideline or reminder.
You'll sound stupid? It's easy to feel self-conscious if you're in an open office and you're worried about being overheard. Chances are people are too busy with their own work to worry about what you're saying on the phone. Find a meeting room
You'll call at an inconvenient time - you don't want to trouble them? Check when they answer the phone - "Is this a good time to talk, do you have five minutes?" Respect their time. If it's not convenient, arrange a time to call them. Yes, you may catch them when they're busy or when they're just on their way out but always ask if they're OK to talk.
You're afraid of rejection? If you're calling prospective clients or hoping to make establish a new contact, don't stress about it. See it as one step in the process to finding the 'right' client or contact. Sales teams expect to get one successful call out of every 100. Look at it as getting you one step closer each time. No doesn't necessarily mean never - perhaps it's just not right for them right now. What's the worst they can say?
Make several calls at one time - while the first one might be awkward and feel uncomfortable, you're more likely to get into the swing of it, if you make several calls together.
Stand up, smile. It gets you in to the right frame of mind when making the call and will show up in your voice.
If you have a difficult call to make - be clear about the facts. Don't get defensive - state your case clearly and succinctly. Practice with a friend or colleague so you feel more comfortable about what you want to say.
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