I’d guess you have attended networking events, struck up conversations with strangers, and exchanged business cards.
You’ve expanded your reach via LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups and Twitter lists.
You’ve posted articles on your blog and maybe even guest articles on other people’s blogs.
You’ve added friends and connections on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and perhaps you’ve even started your own list.
Maybe you have done email marketing and direct mail campaigns.
But have you ever tried picking up the phone and calling people out of the blue?
I’m not talking about prospecting for freelance work or applying for jobs. I’m not talking about selling anything at all or even doing market research. Not that there is anything wrong with phoning people to offer your services and research your industry.
I mean simply giving people a quick phone call to keep in touch and show them you care and are thinking about them.
Why phone someone for no apparent business reason?
There is always a reason to phone if you give it a little thought. If you are connected to people via LinkedIn or Facebook, they continually give you ideas to follow through on.
Here are a few occasions on which to pick up the phone:
- To congratulate someone on his birthday.
- To ask a person who has invited you to connect on social media about her work. Ask what types of referrals or assistance he would like from you. Don’t ask for reciprocity unless he offers.
- To invite a contact to lunch or coffee.
- And the list goes on . . .
You’ll note that some people send written notes by postal mail on many of these occasions. That’s a good idea too, but let’s remember how much effort it is to write and send correspondence. We may have good intentions, but it’s difficult to get it done promptly. Phoning is much easier.
What if the person doesn’t answer? Leave a message?
Of course! If you don’t leave a message, it is as if you never made the effort at all. Furthermore, due to caller ID, the person knows you made the call and may be wondering what it was all about.
Keep the conversation (or voicemail message) short. The person you are calling didn’t schedule a conversation so don’t burden her by keeping her on the phone for an extended period. In addition, you have work to do, don’t you?
What to say?
Remember that the purpose of your call is to show interest in the individual and offer help as appropriate. Don’t ask to be called back unless the purpose of your call actually demands a response.
Here are some sample scripts:
In each pair, the first is how to start the conversation if the person answers. The second is a voicemail message to leave if there is no answer.
A happy birthday call.
Hi, [name]. This is [your name] at [your phone number]. I see it’s your birthday and I’m calling to wish you a happy day . . .
Hi, [name]. This is [your name] at [your phone number]. I’m calling to wish you a happy birthday. Sorry I missed you, no need to call back. Have a great day. Bye.
A call to someone who asked to connect with you on social media.
Hi, [name]. This is [your name] at [your phone number]. I’m calling in response to your LinkedIn request to connect. I’m calling to learn a little more about you so I can be alert to information and leads of interest to you . . .
Hi, [name]. This is [your name] at [your phone number]. I’m calling in response to your LinkedIn request to connect. I thought it may be helpful for us to speak briefly so I can be alert to information and leads of interest to you. Please call me back if you would like to talk. Have a great day. Bye.
To invite to lunch.
Hi, [name]. This is [your name] at [your phone number]. I will be in your city next Thursday and want to see if you will be available for lunch . . .
Hi, [name]. This is [your name] at [your phone number]. I will be in your city next Thursday and want to see if you will be available for lunch. Please call me back to let me know if that works for you. Have a great day. Bye.
The telephone is one of the friendliest ways to connect with people so they experience your warmth. It is second only to in-person networking in building relationships. So why not give it a try?
How do you build strong networks? Drop us a note; we'd love to hear from you!