Digital Marketing Pain Points: The Dreaded Phone Call

Digital marketing pain pointsI regularly collaborate with, even become friends with, other small business owners I meet online. And more often than not, the subject of digital marketing pain points comes up.

We all deal with digital marketing pain points, whether in marketing our own companies, or a client’s. That’s why I started a new Facebook Group. Called The Game Plan for Small Business Growth, it’s free to join, and I’ve already connected with a lot of smart, entrepreneurial people there.

Everyone Experiences Digital Marketing Pain Points

My goal in creating the group was to have a place to connect with other small business owners (see above re: collaboration!), and also bat around valuable business tips and tricks!

And boy, did I get the conversation started when I posed this question to the group recently, “Which of these marketing tactics is most outside your comfort zone?”

I added a Facebook poll, and included the following:

  • Phone Calls
  • Podcasting
  • Networking Events
  • Email Marketing/Newsletters
  • Other

The Dreaded Phone Call

Well, folks, we had a winner (or you could say loser!), and it was definitely phone calls!

That said, the comments were really insightful. They ranged from outright loathing (Lindsay Bell—who works with us here at Spodek & Co.—HATES phone calls), to a range of flexibility depending on the type of call.

Valid points were made about just how hectic and busy the life of a small business owner can be. It’s often easier to just receive a text or email instead.

One commenter suggested cold calling might make it harder to negotiate terms of an agreement, including fees. It can create a veneer of desperation on the part of the caller, resulting in a power imbalance in favour of the client.

“Warm calling,” where you’ve already connected and developed a bit of a relationship with a potential lead through other avenues, is easier. Maybe you’ve chatted online already, or exchanged emails. Remember, this is where good digital marketing and social engagement come into play. Make sure it’s easy for potential clients or customers to find and contact you. And watch this space for an upcoming post where I dig a little deeper into cold versus warm calling.

And we even had an outlier who really liked phone calls! She found them a very effective way of cutting to the chase, and getting every bit of the information needed in one go.

The Decline In Dialling

While phone calls as a go-to means of communication seem to be in decline, I’m going to stick up for the much maligned millennial here, and blame smart phones. As communication technology becomes easier and more efficient, so too have people of all generations pulled away from phone calling. I know boatloads of people who prefer not to talk on the phone.

Here are some of the reasons behind our growing aversion to phone calls:

  • Not having face-to-face social cues—facial expressions, gestures, etc.
  • Feeling put on the spot/under pressure—no time to gather thoughts, edit responses, etc.
  • Fear of judgement—other people listening in, critiquing your rise of the conversation, applies more to people in an open office environment.
  • Because it’s a rarity—in the style of the classic “which came first” riddle, we don’t call people much anymore, ergo when we do it’s uncomfortable.

How to Call in Comfort

Whether it’s a phone job interview, cold call, or just a customer service complaint, if you’re like Lindsay, and loathe talking to people on the phone, take a few tips from her playbook! Bonus: these tips also work for people who aren’t as averse to cold calling, and make any call a better call.

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare! Make notes and have them on-hand. Highlight certain points that must be made. And be sure to jot down unfamiliar language or industry specific lingo that you want to use (especially handy in a job interview or cold call!).
  • Stand up. Yes, that’s right. Stand up and walk around. We all tend to slouch while seated. But standing helps to open the chest and lungs making it easier to breathe. And it brings much needed energy to your chat. As Lindsay says, “Walk around and flail about. Use all the hand gestures! Even though the person on the other end can’t see you, it results in a marked change in your voice and delivery.”
  • Speak clearly. Enunciate in a clear voice. Nothing is worse than talking on the phone with a mumbler.
  • Don’t forget to smile. I know it sounds lame, but it works. When you smile, the tone of your voice changes, and your face and jaw muscles loosen up. Lindsay stands in front of a mirror during important (read: high discomfort!) phone calls to keep herself in check.

Are you ok with cold calling? Or that person who never answers their phone (Lindsay guiltily raises her hand)? What other digital marketing pain points should we explore? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site