Aug 29, 2017

Pick Up the Phone and Start Dialing

Most business problems can be resolved with one simple behavior: pick up the phone and start dialing.

Surprisingly, this is easier said than done.

Phone fear is a real thing, especially amongst millennials. According to research carried out by Ipsos Mori for Deloitte, 25% of millennials don’t use their smartphones to make calls.

Phone fear goes beyond millennials, and is well entrenched in the corporate world. People avoid the phone like it’s the plague. They’d rather text, email, tap out morse code, send smoke signals — whatever it takes to avoid picking up the phone.

Like all forms of communication, the written word has its limitations. Pick up the phone to solve problems.

Email Doesn’t Sell

Early on in my career my sales manager used to say, “The pen doesn’t sell.”

What he was really saying is “stop hiding behind email.” Email is an incredible communication device, but it doesn’t solve problems. The best way to sell is by talking with your customers.

When you speak with someone directly — whether on the phone, face-to-face, or even on a video chat — you cut through the clutter. You get to understand their needs, and you can work together to solve problems.

Email is a great follow on tool. Use it to reinforce what you said on the phone, and keep the process moving forward. But do the important work directly.

People solve problems when they speak to each other.

Make Calling a Habit

  • If you receive a customer complaint, pick up the phone.
  • If you want to do a survey or find out what your customers think, pick up the phone.
  • If you’re frustrated with someone on your team, pick up the phone.

If the situation is important, don’t waste time with emails and memos. Pick up the phone.

Make it a habit, and shift your behaviors from writing to calling. It may feel uncomfortable, but you will be far more satisfied with the outcomes.

Get Motivated to Call

In the Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) rallies his team with an electrifying speech. He shouts,

So you listen to me and you listen well.
Are you behind on your credit card bills?
Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing!
Is your landlord ready to evict you?
Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing!
Does your girlfriend think you’re a f***ing worthless loser?
Good! Pick up the phone and start dialing!
I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich!

“Pick up the phone and start dialing” isn’t just good advice for sleazy stock brokers pushing penny stocks. It’s good advice for anyone. Confront your problems head on: pick up the phone and talk to someone.

Jordan Belfort’s call to action motivates the heck out me, because the advice is so true.

  • Do you want to generate more sales?
    Good. Pick up the phone and start dialing.
  • Do you want to improve customer service?
    Good. Pick up the phone and start dialing.
  • Do you want to innovate and solve problems?
    Good. Pick up the phone and starting dialing.

You’re not going to grow your business or solve problems hiding behind email. You need to talk with people, and the fastest way to get that started is to pick up the phone and start dialing.

Here’s a short clip of Jordan Belfort’s speech (Note. The language is quite profane).

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