Let’s face it, phone calls have become more and more outdated along the years. I mean, people don’t use them at the same frequency it was about 20 years ago, and that’s due to the evolution of technology.
Nowadays, people mostly use other means, like emails in the business environment, and text messages or instant messaging for personal matters.
Achieving that someone you just met calls you is not so easy and due to the facts, I previously mentioned, you can add some more difficulties.
Nowadays, phone calls are for more specific purposes, but when you know how to ask for them, you can achieve that important CEO or that interesting person calls you – or that they allow you to call them.
To ask for a phone call in a business context requires correct timing, formal language and you to be gentle. In a private context you can just say “I will call you” when you feel the conversation is suitable to do so.
There are some general rules that can apply to any type of situation in order to ask for something. That means you can use these rules to ask someone for a favor or to call you. This can be used in a business context, or even in a more private or personal context.
Give people a concrete and honest reason
The number one rule.
According to a study performed at Harvard in 1978 by Ellen Langer, it’s more probable that you get something from someone when you give them a reason.
A volunteer had to get close to someone that needed to use a photocopier and ask them to use the machine in first place. Sometimes, the volunteer had to give a reason, while sometimes don’t.
The study showed that more than 90% of people gave up their place when they were given a reason, even when that reason was ridiculous.
Think in the necessities of other people
Remember that people may have reasons for not to do us a specific favor – like calling us – so it’s very important to previously know those reasons if it’s possible for you.
This point leads us to another important rule…
Use the correct timing
Please, never ask people to call you when they are in a hurry or if they have a problem.
For example, if you want that someone lends you money, don’t ask them for that kind of favor if you know they were recently in a hard-economic situation – and don’t ask them for a call if you know their house just caught fire!
Ask to yourself if that’s the right person
If you want someone to call you, it’s important to be sure that he/she is the right person. When it regards to business, will you try to speak about a service you want to offer to a company, with the sales manager?
Always be gentle
The best method you can use to be a gentle person in this case, is to highlight positive features about the person that you want to help you.
Make it clear for them that they are the only one that could help you because they know, or they have exactly what you need, or that they are the best doing what you need.
Also be sure of using the appropriate words like “would you mind if…” or “if it’s possible for you”. And don’t forget “please” and “thank you!”.
Face rejection, but insist (up to a point)
Never take a rejection like something personal. Accept it like something that can happen in any aspect of life. Show you’re an understanding person and always leave it open the possibility of trying again, at a better occasion.
Don’t forget to give thanks, but don’t be too sweet
Say thanks at least three times. If you ask someone for a minute of their valuable time:
- Say thank you, when they give you that minute.
- Say thank you, when that minute ends.
- And say thanks, once you get that call.
If it’s at your fingertips, and depending on the type of people you are asking to call you, give them a kind of gift or present to let them know how you appreciate their attention.
In a Business Context
Now that we have some guidelines on how to act, how do we apply these rules in a business context? Let’s see…
People in business are busy people, so it’s very important that you make it easy for them. First, think on what is the best way and moment to reach them!
Would you try to talk to someone about having a telephone conversation if they’re on their way to a meeting? So, think on their necessities and use the correct timing.
It’s also very important that you cause a good impression to them, so be sure to use the proper clothing and the correct language. Trying to approach a business person in casual clothes might show a kind of rudeness from you. Usually, business people are more formal, so they want that you treat them in that way.
In the same line of thinking, use a formal language. Use phrases like, “I was wondering if we could…” or “pardon me”.
Use proper grammar, speak clearly and with confidence, but use a soft tone to avoid sounding rude – also avoid reaching that person if there is a lot of noise around, so you don’t have to shout out!
Simply put, be gentle.
Another important aspect is to emphasize the intention of having a telephone conversation from the beginning. But to smooth things out, you can use the tactic of offering them something valuable they can obtain if they call you.
Don’t tell them you’ll get a benefit from them. You must sound like they need you, but make them think that they’re the people you need to talk to. Make them feel that they are important.
If you want to have a phone call to speak with them about a service that you want to offer, use something like:
“My name is XXX from XXX company and I think I have the way to solve this XXX problem you have on your business in the department you are managing. I was wondering if we could have a short telephone conversation in order to schedule a meeting when you have the time. Here is my business card with my contact information. Thank you!”
You can use the above sample even in other forms of communications, like when you want to leave a voice message.
TIP: Using business cards is a good idea to ease busy people to have your phone number, but avoid posting another contact information like emails. Try to force them to call you in a subtle way.
And always remember, be concise. Don’t waste their time trying to give too many explanations; you want they call you for that!
In case you got the agreement to call but they didn’t take the call, make sure to leave a message.
In a Private Context
The same rules, but this time, you can forget about too many formalities.
There are several reasons why you might want that a person you recently knew to call you, but usually it’s because you feel some kind of romantic attraction 😉
I can’t know if you’re a man that wants to call a woman, or if you’re a woman trying to say to that man that he can call you – although many women take that initiative, but as you can see, things can change a bit here.
You must consider that there’s the possibility you’re allowed to call, instead of receiving a call; after all, the result will be the same in the end.
“Calling can sometimes appear aggressive or catch people off guard”, American psychotherapist Dr Jean Mann says in her book “The Relationship Fix“*.
As I said in the first lines of this article, in these days, people prefer to text or “instant-text” before having a phone call. Text messages are more impersonal, and they also allow less compromise when you are knowing someone for the first time.
It doesn’t matter if you want to get involved in a romantic relationship or not, but the modern methods of communication allow it to be easier to break the ice. Of course, the first step is to have the ID or phone number of your target person – depending on the app you use, and in that case, you can apply the rules explained in this guide.
It’s also important to always remember that nowadays, phone calls are used for very specific reasons. Don’t try to call or wait for a phone call at any time, several times per day! And in case you missed a call, call them back!
Try to keep a simple conversation and when you feel it’s the right time, just say: “I’m going to call you” or “Call me!”.
In this context “being gentle” is to make the other person feeling good, and to “give thanks” means to let the other person know that you enjoyed the conversation, and that you expect to have more phone calls like it in the near future.