One of the things I’ve noticed many business owners find challenging, is picking up the phone and calling people – whether it’s to ask for help, reaching out to past clients and prospects, contacting new leads, indeed contacting anyone with a view to that contact leading to business growth.

I get it – it’s something I’ve been reluctant to do on many occasions.  Especially these days when so much is online and we tend to send texts or Facebook messages to communicate.   We’re reluctant to call because we don’t want to intrude on someone’s busy life, we don’t want them to feel obligated to help us, we don’t want them to tell us to bog off, we don’t want them to get cross that we’ve bothered them.

It’s easy to equate business calls, or follow-up calls, with cold calls and we know how annoying those are!

However reaching out to someone who doesn’t know you from Adam (and has no interest in what you are offering) is very different to reaching out to past clients, or to a business colleague who might be able to refer you to their associates.

It can not only make a massive difference to your business, it is a great gift for your past clients and prospects.

I just received a call from a friend of mine who I met through networking – Leigh from Special Additions who makes beautiful bespoke party bags for children’s parties. We haven’t been in touch for a while but when I saw her name appear on my phone I was delighted – how lovely to hear from her.

We had a great catch up before she let me know the purpose of her call – which was to ask me a favour and see if I’d be happy to write a testimonial for some emails she wants to send out to generate new business.  Of course I was delighted to – she was brilliant at helping out at the last minute for my daughter’s birthday party.

It also struck me how pleased I was to be able to help someone out.  And how much easier it was for me to be able to provide the help she wanted than if she’d emailed.  She even wrote the testimonial based on what I said in the call – all I had to do was approve it.   Had she emailed with the same request I know it would have gone on my “must do” list and I’d never get round to it.  The result being I’d have felt bad at letting my friend down, and Leigh wouldn’t have had the testimonial she needed.

I realised I’m always really pleased to receive calls from people I’ve worked with in the past.  Having worked in sales for 24 years, I know that the ultimate aim of the call is to lead to new business somewhere down the line – whether it leads to a direct sale from the call itself or it’s more energetic and sales come in from a different area, because by making calls you’re focussing on sales.   For me it’s great to reconnect and I love that someone is taking time out of their busy schedule to see how I am.  I never think of calls from past suppliers as a pain or an unwelcome intrusion.

Cold calls yes – but only because I’ve already told them I’m not interested yet still they call me.

Since I began my business 15 years ago I’ve taught people that the fastest way to grow a business is to pick up the phone.  Forget emails, forget texts, simply pick up the phone and call.  If you’ve had a good relationship with them in the past they’ll be delighted to hear from you.

I also know I have avoided this many times in the past – resorting to text or email (or sometimes not at all).

However Leigh’s call today shifted that for me – if I’m delighted when I receive such calls surely my past clients will be as delighted to hear from me.

And thinking about it now, it’s far simpler to pick up the phone and make calls when I have 20 or 30 minutes available in a day than emails back and forth trying to schedule something!

So that’s a long way of saying if you want more business: pick up the phone.  Whilst I didn’t give Leigh any business on this occasion, the testimonial I gave her might encourage  someone to buy – or I might be chatting to someone who’s hosting a children’s party and I’ll recommend her awesome party bags!

Indeed I’ve written this post which is free advertising for her.  She’s told me she’ll share it which is free advertising for me.

Win / Win!

You never know what magic might come out of a call.

So who can you call right now?