The Telephone is NOT Dead – Start Using it More Effectively in Your Business!

by Chris C. Ducker · 32 comments

sydneyThis is a short post.

But, an important one.

I was on the phone with a client earlier this afternoon, from my hotel room here in Sydney (I’m in Australia for a couple of speaking gigs). We were discussing the expansion of his calling campaign with my call center. He’s been with us for almost 2-years and we know each other well – however, this is his first expansion.

It was a short, sharp and to-the-point conversation where we discussed price breaks, set-up, start up time as well as training of new recruits.

The entire call took no more than 20-minutes. The result was additional income for our company, extra support and lead generation capabilities for his business, and we both left the ‘table’ happy.

After the call, I sat and asked myself how long the decision to expand would’ve taken if we had of handled it like so many other people do nowadays with important business decisions – via email.

This drives me nuts – really. I even get emails from people that work for me, in my office, when I’m in the office – instead of them just popping their head around my door to answer a quick question!

Email is for Confirming Details, Not Having Discussions

Hours, if not DAYS would have gone by, taking into consideration time-zone differences, and everything else that would have reared it’s head. And the chances of the ‘deal’ dropping off the table would have been very high.

He had a couple of concerns that I took care of quickly and effectively, right there on the call, which enabled the decision from his end to happen – and happen faster.

The moral of the story, children – pick up the damn phone.

It’s been used in business for decades, and will still be, for decades to come. Don’t hide behind emails – especially in a sales related situation – it’ll get you nowhere.

Emails (or any other type of ‘virtual’ communication) don’t close sales.

People do.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Billy Murphy February 6, 2013 at 20:41

This is something I’ve changed that’s made a huge difference for me. Much better connections this way, and people you’re just getting to know are willing to open up and share much more if you pick up the phone. So few people are doing it, so it makes you stand out even more.

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Chris C. Ducker February 7, 2013 at 04:58

Connections.

Thats the golden word, right there.

Isn’t this why we are doing everything we do? To make connections, change lives, solve problems with our solutions, as business owners…?!

Glad you’re of the same mindset, buddy.

Keep rockin’.

C

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Andrew Minalto February 6, 2013 at 23:32

Can’t agree more!

Especially in eCommerce World – having a phone number people can call you makes a huge difference. When I want to order something online, I never call (I look for live chat or e-mail support instead) BUT that doesn’t mean other people will have same preferences, especially older people.

We get calls every day – people want to find out how fast will be shipping (even though it’s clearly displayed in the shop’s header, lol), many will want to place order over the phone (yes, they’ll trust a sales rep over the phone to give card details rather than a 128 bit SSL) and many simply want to learn more about our products or promotions we’re running.

So yeah, every online business should use same old Phone to reach more people and increase conversion rates!

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Chris C. Ducker February 7, 2013 at 04:57

And I couldn’t agree more with you.

Phone and even WRITTEN NOTES – thats also considered ‘old school’ today and there is an act of ‘class’ attached to it. Sending someone a hand written note or letter is vastly under utilized in today’s business world.

We should all try going back to the days of smoke signals, right….?!!!

Thanks for commenting, Andrew.

C

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diamantis February 7, 2013 at 00:26

And you should develop this habit of answering every phone call .
My experience says it’s a quite rare habit .

Be healthy and smile .

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Chris C. Ducker February 7, 2013 at 04:54

Making calls, or answering them – we’re in BUSINESS.

Just use it properly… enough said.
:-)

C

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Paul Donovan February 7, 2013 at 02:17

Sadly I’ve developed a telephone phobia. I rarely make a telephone call any more. And well over 75% of incoming calls go to voice mail (where I tell people to email me — or leave a message). I agree Chris that there are things that can be done faster if we can speak (telephone, Skype, Face Time, MagicJack, etc.) to the person. And I agree that email should to “inform”, “confirm”, “cancel” but when there’s a chance the telephone voice mail chase is going to go on at least get the process started.

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Chris C. Ducker February 7, 2013 at 04:55

Gotta get out of that, Paul.

It’s a tool that brings massive success – and faster than anything else I’ve come across in business. And not just recently – forever! :-)

The ability to talk to each other has never been anymore important, than it is in todays business world. People dont do it enough.

We need to change that.

C

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Murray Lunn February 7, 2013 at 04:58

I rarely use the phone these days but I do make a point to pick up the phone when it’s necessary such as hashing out the big picture when talking with a potential client.

Email is great for getting something over quick and having some time to act on it but you gotta love being able to pick up the subtleties during the conversations, on the phone, which can give you a really great edge in conveying the right message.

With that being said – I definitely need to get back into phone calls.

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Chris C. Ducker February 7, 2013 at 05:02

Love that you feel that way, Murray.

A lot can get lost in translation, via email – a HELL of a lot.

Pick up that phone, buddy – then let me know how it went… you’ll thank me, I know it.

Thanks for dropping by.

C

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Peter P February 7, 2013 at 06:49

People scare me. More specifically talking to people scares me.

I hide behind email because I can always leave it in my inbox for a few hours (or days) until I can pluck up the courage to read it.

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Chris C. Ducker February 7, 2013 at 06:58

The word that stands out here, more than anything else for me, is ‘hide’.

I think you need to ask yourself, Peter, why you’re hiding behind email. I mean, is it REALLY that scary to chat with people on the phone – especially when there could be money attached (the gaining of, or the losing of) attached to it…?

What exactly ‘scares’ you about talking business on the phone? I’d love to try and help you, if I can.

Thanks for dropping by, man.

C

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Peter P February 12, 2013 at 04:58

Chris, sorry I didn’t respond back earlier.

I am deeply introverted, extremely self-critical and way too sensitive.

On the phone, I read into the sound of someone’s voice things which may not be there and get hurt/offended by them. I am also afraid they are always going to shout at me, because I live in a state of constant belief that I deserve it.

That was probably a little more honest than you wanted here, but I don’t see the point in denying the truth!

When I saw that you had responded to my comment, I had to take a deep breath and steel myself to even bring myself to read it for fear of what you might say.

:-)

Yes, I am in therapy… and no, it doesn’t seem to be helping :-)

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Chris C. Ducker February 12, 2013 at 08:01

Okay, so a couple of normal explanations came from this – so you are certainly NOT alone, buddy – seriously.

One the fear of being shouted: If you’re the one making the call, you are instantly the one ‘in charge’, in the position to ‘control’ the conversation. And even if you’re not the one making the call, you can still control the conversation by being sure that you’re the one with the ‘knowledge’ on the call. Just remember that.

People rarely feel confident when making sales calls, at the beginning. But, it’s like anything else, buddy – the more you do it, the better you’ll get and the more confidence you’ll build.

Pick up the phone and go for it. My gut feeling is that you wont be as bad as you think you’ll be!!!
:-)

C

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Vince @ How to Create a Website Online February 7, 2013 at 09:11

Whateer it’s email, text message or phone call, I know one thing. I love money! Making money is a lifestyle and it sealing a deal on the phone = more of it? Then it appears I need a unlimited minutes plan! Good Article Chris!

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Chris C. Ducker February 8, 2013 at 07:57

Great way to look at it, Vince!
:-)

C

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Brain Cutlery February 7, 2013 at 15:49

Totally agree with you: it’s a “right tool for the right job” situation.

I think it’s worth pointing out that there’s a time and a place for both phone AND email – the challenge is picking the right tool and then nailing your technique.

I wrote a post this week on “writing better email” that touches on ‘not using email’ – you can find it at http://bit.ly/XQXbOU

thanks

BC

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Chris C. Ducker February 8, 2013 at 07:56

That’s the perfect way to look at it:

“The RIGHT Tool, for the RIGHT Job”.

Love it!

Thanks for the comment, Brian.

C

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Farnoosh February 7, 2013 at 21:47

Funny you say that about the telephone! Just today a customer asked for a refund for my green juice guide and of course, I gave it to her right away, no questions nothing – she thought it was a real book and then we got to talking, she asked to get me on the phone with her and her words “I’ve been burned before by other online salespeople and I just want to make sure you are for real!” … I kid you not so I called her right away of course and now she is buying my more expensive product – my juicing clinic – and trusts me after we had a real live chat … it was a huge revelation for me…she just needed to know I’m for real and we sometimes forget that’s all customers need – they are just people looking to find someone they trust …I am putting that # on my sales pages now and you should too. Great post Chris!

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Steve Wyman February 8, 2013 at 03:18

Hi

Im a fan of your work and your business story :-)

Thats a great story. really gets the message across.

regards

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Chris C. Ducker February 8, 2013 at 07:24

Thanks, Steve.

Appreciate you, mate.

C

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Chris C. Ducker February 8, 2013 at 07:52

What a GREAT story, Farnoosh.

Thank you for sharing it here.

This type of thing happens all the time in business – and the phone is definitely a convincing tool to use, when it comes to business, customers and RELATIONSHIPS.

Thanks again.

C

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Austin Hodge February 7, 2013 at 23:39

Great points and great reminder!

I loved this short but great post because I need to remind myself about this as well. I usually get sucked into the email thing because I want people to be able to take their time and respond when it’s convenient, but of course, that so easily leads to lack of follow through and too much dabbling around instead of action. I love the feeling of getting on a call, hearing the sound of a satisfied partner/client/etc. in the other person’s voice, then getting off and realizing how quickly things got put together.

Thanks for the great reminder,
Austin

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Chris C. Ducker February 8, 2013 at 07:50

You’ve hit the nail on the head, very squarely, with this comment, Austin.

Pick up the phone, mate!

C

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Chris Hufnagel February 8, 2013 at 11:24

I used to be terrified of the phone. I still have some anxiety with it for some reason however it has improved over the past few months as I have had to do it a lot more. I guess its like they say “practice makes perfect!”

Email does work great and I did hide behind it in the past, but the connection you make with someone over the phone is so much better!

Thanks for the great read (love the short posts sometimes)

Chris

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Chris C. Ducker February 8, 2013 at 14:52

Yeah, I’m gonna do more of these short, sharp and to the point posts, I think. I enjoyed writing it, and it gets just as much engagement as longer ones!
:-)

Glad that it resonated with you, buddy and that you’re over your phone-aphobia!

Stay tuned.

C

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Tawnya February 12, 2013 at 08:45

Chris, thanks for the advice. I laughed when you called us “children.”

I always talk with clients on the phone when scheduling (I’m a mental health counselor). But, I realized I never use the phone for marketing/networking. I think I am another person hiding behind the email.

In fact, I’m still waiting for a definite date to get together from two people I connected with through email. I’m certain they want to meet. If we talked on the phone, it likely would get finalized right away.

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Chris C. Ducker February 12, 2013 at 09:00

Hi Tawnya

So, good. Get on the phone and set up the meeting.

Then come back here, PLEASE and tell me how long it took to arrange it on that call, instead of email.

I’d love to know!!!

C

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Filipe March 22, 2013 at 00:20

Hi Chris,
Nice that you have brought this topic into discussing. On an entrepreneur perspective what would be the best choice for a phone system? Any idea? I’m looking at skype, google (only available in US), voip provider,. and I’m struggling to select the best option to stay reachable everywhere I go and also save on my phone bill.
Do you have any setup that you could recommend?

Thanks.

PS. Digging the bootcamp.

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Chris C. Ducker March 22, 2013 at 13:42

I’d suggest you go with Skype.

As long as you have a reliable internet connection it’s about as good as it gets. Most international phone calls I’ve made over the last 8-years have gone through Skype, pretty much exclusively.

Glad you’re enjoying the Bootcamp, too! Thanks for the feedback.

C

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Justin Gilchrist March 26, 2013 at 04:51

Hey Chris,

Stumbled across this a little late but great post.

I think what often holds people back from making calls is the fear of having to do them personally, or the perceived cost of outsourcing it but it’s pretty affordable if you shop around.

For offline, we outsource lead gen to a company based in Spain, but staffed by British Expats. It works out around £100 for a full day or £60 for a half day all in, and you get the benefit or the British Accent :-) !

For online, I guess I’m guilty of not even taking phone numbers let alone attempting to follow up cancellations, new members etc but after reading this, that should soon change.

Thanks for the kick up the backside

Justin

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Chris C. Ducker March 26, 2013 at 10:39

Hey Justin

What is it with all us Brit’s going to Spain!!? Haha. Good lookin’ on that side of things tough.

Yep. You have a solid view on things, I think you’re right.

Thanks for dropping by, mate.

You can always rely on my for a swift boot, just let me know!

C

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