Posted on Apr 23, 2012

Dos and Don'ts of the Get to Know You Phone CallYou’ve set up a “Get to know you” phone call with a potential client, business partner, employer and/or employee (that you have met on LinkedIn), and now the time has come for the actual conversation.

While I’ll get into a few more specific cases, in general, all “Get to know you” phone calls should follow these rules:

  • DON’T immediately launch into a verbal rendition of your autobiography. Even if you’ve spent the last 6 months grooming domesticated lemurs in southern Madagascar, its bad manners to begin a conversation speaking about yourself.
  • DO spend the first part of the conversation building rapport. ALWAYS start by asking about them first, then gently turn the conversation so you can share your background and business information. Ask questions to figure out what you have in common, base questions on their LinkedIn profile, and then build credibility by talking about your credentials.
  • DON’T let the conversation run more than an hour and shoot for 45 minutes. It’s easy to accidentally let these calls go on too long, but watch the time to be respectful of their time and to manage your own schedule.
  • DO end the conversation with a strong closer. Recap any next steps, (the dates of any appointments you’ve made, a list of information you’ve promised to send them, and/or a date when you’re going to check in with them again, if applicable).
  • DO thank them for their time at the end of the phone call and be sure to say something positive, like “you gave me a great tip about…”

Now for the specifics:

1. If you’re talking with a recruiter or hiring manager:

  • DO your homework! Thoroughly research the company prior to your phone call (as you should in any interview situation) and be prepared with intelligent, relevant questions.
  • DO start by thanking them you for taking the time to talk with you.
  • DO tell why you’re interested in working for them.
  • DO tell them what you’re looking for, articulate your qualifications, and make yourself memorable.

2. If you’re speaking with another professional:

  • DO start by asking about their products or services.
  • DO use their LinkedIn Profile to explore things you have in common and build rapport.
  • DO look for ways you can help each other.
  • DO look for ways to refer them business if they seem like a quality resource.
  • If they are a potential client, DO ask questions about their pain point: What recurring problems are they experiencing? What big problems are they having in their business? Or, What are things that might be holding them back from achieving what they want to achieve?
  • DO let them know how you can solve their issues. And, if applicable, move gently into your sales process.

3. If you’re speaking with a potential client:

  • DON’T immediately launch into your sales pitch.
  • DO ask questions about their pain point. Subtly let them know that what you have to offer might help them resolve their issues.
  • DO let them know how you can solve their issues.
  • DO see if they want to know more about what you have to offer. If so, gently  move into your sales process.
  • DON’T push for a sale if they’re not interested.
  • DO send a follow-up email, and be sure to thank them for their time.
  • DO check in with them in a few months if they seemed like a good target, but just weren’t ready to sign up or purchase.
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