Skip to main content


How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore? Part 2

Once the form of business communication, the phone has since been knocked off its pedestal. What we’re left with is a business community with mixed feelings towards its effectiveness – from the stalwarts who insist it’s still primary to the newer business recruits who might prefer to jettison it altogether. And, of course, a large number who sit somewhere in between: we appreciate this small ringing mechanism has a part to play in what we do, but where and to what degree?

Howcome You Don't Call Me? Clifden Consulting

How best to utilise the phone in business then? First, understand how and why we use it. Second, discard the vast majority of adversarial ‘sales’ training we may have received at any point from the days of Dale Carnegie onwards. You know the kind, the type that sees the ‘target’ as a beast to be conquered, that favours call sheets and volume, and the apparent ‘control’ a phone call offers; catching someone on the back foot in order to gain the supposed upper hand.

Why? Well, we view incoming calls more suspiciously than ever before – what are they trying to sell me? Or worse still, scam? Perhaps more simply and benevolently we just don’t expect them, and so are increasingly unlikely to engage with them. I avoid taking cold or unexpected calls myself for these reasons.

When you handle the kind of outbound traffic an originator has to manage on a day to day basis, a returned call can often be disorientating.

“It’s Dave” he says.  Dave?! Is it Dave who’s fixing my boiler or one of the three Daves I’ve emailed in the past week for a variety of different projects? Even if I’m 100% sure I know the caller I would rather some advance notice if at all possible, if only to make sure I’ve got the right set of notes in front of me.

A cold phone call is unlikely to be well-received then, if it’s received at all, because it’s likelier yet to be ignored. These factors combined make the cluster bomb approach a particularly ineffective use of time. It might pain those with a – let’s put it charitably – ‘traditional’ view of origination . Again, you know the type:  preaches at the altar of the numbers game and views The Wolf Of Wall Street as more text book than cautionary tale. But the fact of the matter is, from an ROI perspective, it no longer cuts it as good practice.

Far better to speak with someone when they are expecting a call, when communication has already been initiated, and allowing them some say in the conversation. No catching them out, no awkward silences while they take a moment or two to figure out who you are, what day it is and so on. Instead, time for them to collect their thoughts, or their notes. A two-way conversation without strong-arming them into submission which allows both parties to gain more from it – meaningful, trusting, open dialogue. I’m a firm believer that honesty, born from belief in your offering, yields far greater dividends than the sales ‘push’.

Unless your firm takes an exclusively network-orientated view of origination, the fact of the matter is most originators will be spending a reasonable amount of their time reaching out to people who are not expecting contact. But it’s for all the reasons above that a less obtrusive approach is far more effective. In most cases this means an email, a LinkedIn message, or something else for which a response is both easy and not anticipated immediately.

All that said, a phone call is a fantastic means of follow-up to capitalise on any initial engagement – it tends to bring needed clarity and speed to the process – but as an opening shot it lacks the precision, subtlety and finesse you can get from the written word. It’s why snipers don’t use trebuchets.

But what if all your crafted and technically brilliant written approaches are being met with a thumping great wall of silence?  Is there still a place for the phone as a useful tool in an originator’s kit bag?

The short answer is yes. The phone still has a place as an effective part of one’s resources, but it often requires a psychological shift in how we view it, and crucially, how we use it.

The most powerful function of a phone in a cold approach campaign is for ‘nudging’ a response.

I’m not saying I misspent my youth hanging around arcades (although I am from Southend, so can legitimately claim that to have done so would just be me embracing my seaside heritage!) but I view the phone as having the same effect as the ‘nudge’ on a fruit machine. It’s not going to generate the result itself, but if you’re close to getting the result you want without knowing it, sometimes a call can be the best way to seal that final conversion.

So, here at Clifden, whilst we don’t fear the phone, nor do we idolise it. We don’t use it as a weapon. We don’t use it to berate, to pester, to overcome. We use it to maintain momentum with our goals while respecting the people on the other end of it, believing as we do that pushiness spells rejection where frankness breeds help.

In addition to the above, and not strictly related to business, is my belief in maintaining phone calls to a degree even if they are reducing in regularity, because do we want to find ourselves in a position where we’re so phone-phobic that communication with others becomes a source of genuine anxiety, and difficult? I would wager we don’t.

The more we limit conversation to those very close to us the greater the danger our worlds become smaller and smaller. Something I think we can see from the world stage and all its audience members – sticking to our very particular bubbles and tribes is not cause for celebration but usually cause for concern.

Perhaps I’m coming full circle now then? Planned and considered – it’s good to talk.

Get in touch

Call us:

Strictly Necessary

These cookies are required for our website to operate and include items such as whether or not to display this pop-up box or your session when logging in to the website. These cookies cannot be disabled.


We use 3rd party services such as Google Analytics to measure the performance of our website. This helps us tailor the site content to our visitors needs.


From time to time, we may use cookies to store key pieces of information to make our site easier for you to use. Examples of this are remembering selected form options to speed up future uses of them. These cookies are not necessary for the site to work, but may enhance the browsing experience.


We may use advertising services that include tracking beacons to allow us to target our visitors with specific adverts on other platforms such as search or social media. These cookies are not required but may improve the services we offer and promote.

Change Settings

Welcome. You can control how we use cookies and 3rd party services below

Change Settings Accept
Learn how we use cookies