The phone is an interesting device that since the 21st Century has moved further and further away from it’s original objective- making phone calls. We now have these spectacular handheld bits of technology that we use to take photos, engage in social networking, throw small and explosive birds at wobbly structures, and trawl through the endless pit of information available on the world wide web. In this day and age, it’s almost rare to see people using these things to make calls, but let me tell you- if you’re an entrepreneur, being prepared to make calls could be the most important thing you ever do.
See we’re living in this strange space right now where to get things done, making an actual telephone call seems to be a last measure on the list.. We’d rather text, email, Facebook, or anything else that’s devoid of audible speaking. Trust me when I say, that as a Gen Y and an entrepreneur, picking up the phone and making calls could be the inch of difference that helps you make it whilst the rest break it.
I’m a big believer in making calls.. No matter who the recipient. I’d battle gatekeeper after gatekeeper to get to speak to the right person. It’s actually really funny because on more than one occasion I’ve been called out by people I’ve worked with and around who see me use my phone for calls and they point out that it’s strange for someone my age! I take it as a compliment.. as ludicrous as that may be.
No matter what you’re looking to achieve- if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, an activist, an anyone with a purpose or a mission, the telephone is the tool that will bring you closer to your goals. It’s easy to ignore an email, or a text, or a Facebook message, but a telephone call is hard to shrug. Phone skills can make the difference in the number of zeros that line your bank account, and phone calls can enhance the way you operate as a whole. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend you read my other article on Young Web Builder- “How to Get an Audience with the Queen”.. A lot of that article is indirectly related to this one.
So the elephant in the room is that picking up the phone and calling the people you might need to speak to to get a sale, to build a relationship, to try get a meeting, or any other valid reason is… that it can be daunting! No doubt about it.. However if you don’t think it’s scary at all and you’re NOT making calls already then stop reading, pick up the phone immediately and start dialling! But for the rest of you, if you’re like me I was really terrified in the beginning about picking up the phone to make a connect, to make a sale, or to just enter someone’s world at that moment completely “cold”.. We all want to be liked and accepted, however the “pushy salesman” stigma is so rife that it can turn the best of us away before we even really have a go.
My first real cold calling experience came in my first year in business.. I had written the crappiest script in the world looking to secure a meeting with real estate franchisors to discuss their pain points and how I could potentially gain the opportunity to develop coaching programs to help them beat those problems. Whilst that day was not my most successful in terms of business and sales, it was one of my most successful in the way that it lead me to one of my greatest mentors who’s still a mentor to me today.
See in doing those calls I got “gatekeepered” all day.. I think I managed to get through 3 times to the right people.. One said he’d call me back- he didn’t, one just didn’t have time for me full stop, and it was the third who made the time to sit down with me and actually discuss my intentions. The telephone gave me that priceless experience that nothing other than going and knocking on doors could have provided.
That was an important day for me where I realised that tenacity and desire go a long way. At the end of the day, all the telephone really is, is a tool. It’s a tool that connects person A to person B, from which infinite possibilities are capable.. You just have to be willing to have faith and give it a go.
Whilst Gen Y and potentially late stage Gen Xers seem to have built up an allergy or developed a phobia to making phone calls, my purpose in writing this is to inspire you to give it another chance, or even just give it a chance at all. The telephone is such an incredible invention that it allows us to connect with other human beings anywhere in the world at what was once a spin of a rotary wheel and what’s now the tap of a touch screen. No email, text, or tweet can ever replace a real world conversation. As the technology behind everything expands- phones included, the necessity for conversation, even the need for face to face interaction is slowly drifting.. But as humans we desire that contact more than you might realise. As we slowly lose it altogether, there’s a bigger demand than ever before to go back to the way it once was, where business was done face to face and where real world conversations did take place.. In this sense I believe a revolution is going to take place where we go back to the handshake.. or at least I hope.
At the end of the day, the question will always be “how badly do you want your success?” Whatever the arena it lies in, it’s almost irrelevant.. It always comes down to action. It’s about the conversations you may be frightened to have, the phone numbers you shudder to dial.. The worst thing that can happen on the phone is you get told “No” or you just simply don’t get your message through to the other person.. But I promise you that if you dial enough numbers, talk to enough people, your magic will happen. Think of the phone as a catalyst for your glory, and your attitude towards calls will change forever.