Email provides an excellent means of multitasking and exchanging information quickly, but it isn’t always the most effective way to conduct business. Here are four reasons to pick up the phone instead of sending email.
- You’ll build key relationships. Remember the old “80-20 rule,” which says the bulk of your business comes from a relatively small percentage of your customer base. Chatting with clients and partners can go a long way toward understanding your colleagues’ needs, preferences, operations, and temperaments — all of which are fundamental to establishing relationships that will last, even when times are tough.
- You’ll cut down on confusion. People often rely on email because it feels like the quickest way to communicate. But is it? If your initial message is bound to start a long, ongoing thread of questions, then you’re better off using the phone. For example, if you’re kicking off a project or changing an existing system, calling people not only enables you to answer their questions immediately, but also helps you to avoid the potential misunderstandings that back-and-forth email exchanges can create. If you prefer to document your conversations, use email as a follow-up tool.
- You’ll be proactive. The spontaneous nature of phone conversations gives you the opportunity to probe deeper into the intricacies of your clients’ business. Valuable vendors are those with the unique ability to offer solutions and eliminate problems before they escalate — email won’t give you enough of a feel into the big picture to do that.
- You’ll gain insight and negotiating power. For years, psychologists have studied how the pitch of a speaker’s voice helps to reveal his or her emotional state. According to Psychology Today, men who feel intimate raise the pitch of their voice. When people feel less dominant in a conversation, they tend to drop their pitch in an effort to assert and regain power. A speaker who is being dishonest often speaks in tones that are “deep, loud, moderately fast, unaccented, and clearly articulated.” Hearing a speaker’s voice pitch can improve your negotiating power, help you understand how a customer or vendor perceives your relationship, and perhaps indicate whether they’re being wooed by competitors — before it’s too late.