We all get comfortable using email to introduce ourselves to people we find compelling or share common business interests with. It is a quick and painless way to connect with people all over the world. But with the influx of email in everyone’s inbox these days, as an alternative, why don’t you try picking up the phone?
In this episode, I cover some tips for phone networking so that you:
- Know how to professionally and quickly get to the point of the call
- Respect the other person’s time
- Make sure it is a mutually beneficial conversation
It is about 4 minutes long, and you can listen or download it here.
I certainly don’t advocate dispensing with email altogether. I couldn’t live without it. But every once in awhile, to make a more personal connection, pick up the phone!
What are your thoughts about phone vs. email for initial introductions?
Networking by Phone – Advice from a Successful Networker
Entrepreneur, consultant, blogger-extrordinaire, and all around success Pamela Slims most recent podcast is four full minutes of solid information aimed at making you (and me) a better networker. In this podcast Networking tip – use the phone!,…
Ah, what a great question- I’ve been wrestling with this quite a bit ever since I started blogging, since the communication in this medium is a lot like e-mail. Ultimately, I crave and need the personal contact, so meeting face to face is best. Failing that, a phone call is still better than e-mail. It’s just more “human”. That’s why a group of us are trying to get bloggers together to meet face to face (see http://www.sobevent.com). Looking someone in the eye with a warm hansdshake is still the best way to make that connection! All the best.
I think that an initial conversation should always be done on the phone – once it’s scheduled through e-mail. Before I have a telephone conversation with any of my existing or new clients, I always ask that they e-mail me to schedule a time.
During the day, I rarely pick up the phone – especially if I am not expecting a phone call. For me, I like to be prepared before a call and answering unknown calls is disruptive to what I am working on and it isn’t fair for the other person calling because I’m not prepared and in that ‘telephone mindset.’
I think that before you begin working with someone, you should always have an initial conversation over the phone because it allows you to get to know one another through voice.
Unfortunately, the phone does not immunize you from ‘tag’ 🙂
For initial contacts (e.g. for an initial marketing effort), the following might be good:
1) if it’s someone you aready know and are on speaking terms with, and who you want to make aware of your business, call and follow up with an e-mail after asking permission to do so (no spam)
2) if it’s someone that you’re not on speaking terms with but whose e-mail you have (again, no spam), e-mail first and follow up with a call (if you have their number). As this group tends to be larger, BC’d bulk e-mails might save time. My e-mail list is definitely longer than my phone list.
I’ve found an introductory email that includes asking the question as to whether I may follow up with a phone call is a really appreciated courtesy.
But then, I’m dealing mostly with solo professionals who don’t look fondly upon unexpected phone calls that interrupt their time.
With an introductory email, we can then coordinate a phone call at a more opportune time for both of us, and having something scheduled allows us to be mentally prepared and fully present when it’s time for the call.
I do really appreciate your post, however, because I think there’s an extreme where online business owners come to “hide” behind their computers, are afraid to use the phone in conjunction with all their other communication methods, and sometimes simply forget to use it even.
Hey, we’re still all living in the very real, physical world, even if we may spend a large part of our time on the Internet.
Recently, a colleague was having trouble communicating with a client or vendor (can’t remember which) to resolve an issue. They were playing “email” tag and not getting anywhere. I asked if she’d tried to get them on the phone, and the thought hadn’t even occured to her! LOL
Funny how the Internet is shaping our habits. Consciousness is important; let’s not lose it or our ability to think critically/independently.
If it’s a introductory call, I’d say email first, then follow up with a phone call. Otherwise, I prefer email. The first thing that should be done after identifying yourself and letting the person know the reason for your call, is to ask: “Is this a good time?” Launching into a conversation without doing so is insensitive and rude.
I think it depends on who you are contacting… see if you can find out their preferred method of contact and use that.
For me personally i’m very much an email person, and when someone does call me I either a) don’t get the message for a long time cause I always forget to check my phone or b) I will email them back a response. Being a work at home mom it’s hard for me to answer the phone at times, so email is the way to go.
If I was contacting someone about something important, I would probably email first and follow up with a phone call as needed.
I’m a shy person, but I do like to connect with other people, and I find that if I can get over my shyness I get a lot out of a phone call. Cold calling and expecting to have a lengthy chat right then, I agree, that’s not quite fair – but I always ask if it’s a good time to talk, and if not, then I make an appointment to talk to the person at a later time, and also give him/her an idea of how long I expect the call will take.
You really get a much more rounded view of the person, and vice versa, through a phone call. Worth it!
Using the phone for an initial introduction of my writing services is horrible, horrible. I can’t bear to interrupt someone who’s working, because I know how disruptive the phone can be when I’m concentrating. I far prefer email as an introduction. With a good signature and link to my site, readers can get as full a picture of me as they want before responding. I even prefer conducting interviews for magazine journalism by email. People have time to consider my questions and we both have a verbatim copy of their replies. So much easier and more accurate than trying to catch dictation over the phone, or spending hours transcribing a recorded interview. Yet some people prefer the immediacy of the phone, but then that’s not usually for an initial call. Cold calls are death!
Depends on how important it is to make the connection, Phone call followed by lunch are my opening plays on developing a serious connection,less important e-mail follwed up by a phone call…e-mail only for introduction to people who you are not sure where they will lie in your network..nodes or activators…once I have decided , then I take the next step…
hope you had a good weekend