Dear Millennial, Pick Up The Phone. Love, Your Boss. (Part I)

Sections of this topic

    Confession: I don’t love making phone calls.

    In fact, there was a time when I’d do anything to avoid calling prospects. Like many in my generation, I was far more comfortable emailing or texting, or even sending them messages through LinkedIn.

    Digital tools are great, but it didn’t take me long to realize that the top performers in our line of work are good on the phone. It’s better for building rapport, and it creates a sense of urgency that email and other tools simply do not.

    Now, I make at least four outbound calls daily. I still don’t always love it, but I’ve come a long way.

    In this post, I want to begin to focus on the type of call that is among the hardest to make: an introductory call requesting a face-to-face meeting with someone you’ve never met.

    For my fellow phone-averse Millennials, there are six perspectives that have helped me:

    1. Divide and conquer. Making outreach calls requires mental and emotional energy; and, let’s face it, our supply of those is limited… so is our willpower. But I’m able to make more calls if break up the process and make each step a separate activity:
    a. Deciding whom to call, what I want to talk about, and when to call
    b. Preparing for each call I’m planning to make in a given session (see #4 – next week)
    c. Calling
    d. Following up, if needed

    This approach gives me the least opportunity to talk myself out of picking up the phone. By the time I’m ready to make calls, the decisions are all made; the preparation is done; and all I have to do is pick up the phone and “dial.” ☺

    I’ve learned the hard way that, if don’t frontload most of the work, I’m just not going to get through as many calls.

    2. Call when you’re fresh. I like to do A and B (above) at the end the workday, and then C and D the next morning. I know that I’m freshest (read: most caffeinated) between 9:30 am and 11:30 am.

    3. Write a script. Yes, I know you’re not a sleazy telemarketer, but having a script, or at least an outline, will keep you on track, reduce your fear of the unknown, and boost your confidence. And sketch out the message (see #6 – next week) you’ll leave (under 30 seconds) if you don’t get the prospect on the phone. A script is also a handy tool to help you remember specific, phrases that have proven effective.

    Be sure to come back next week, when
    K. Michael Johnson lays out the rest of the list!

    K. Michael Johnson is a major gift officer at a large research university
    and the founder of,
    where he discusses the inner game of deeper relationships and bigger asks.
    You can contact him at K. Michael Johnson.
    Have you seen
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks ??

    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)

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