We are all guilty of it. Foregoing phone calls in favor of firing off what feels like hundreds of emails daily. As busy multi-taskers, there are undeniable benefits to email communications during the work-day:
- They can be easier
- Save time
- Allow for the editing of thoughts and information
- Provide an electronic trail for record keeping and later reference
We also know through several studies, that the thought of having to pick up the phone to call someone can cause some anxiety- especially for Millennials and Gen Z who grew up in a more digital world. No doubt there are times when email does the trick just fine but sometimes, you can get farther faster, by simply picking up the phone.
Recently, I was negotiating with a vendor for an upcoming media buy. We had exchanged emails throughout the work week and weren’t really getting anywhere- they were asking for a huge rate increase, I was fighting for a decrease. On the Saturday of that week, I happened to be working as it was an extremely busy time during the annual planning season. I sent a follow up email to the vendor asking that we connect first thing Monday. To my surprise, I received an immediate response that she, too, was working on the weekend and offered to make herself available to have a phone call right then and there.
After chit-chatting a bit about our weekend hobbies and activities and the upcoming holidays and bonding over the fact that we were both working on a Saturday, we got to work. In a short 15-minute conversation, we came up with a solution that benefited both the vendor and the client. There were reasons why she couldn’t offer me exactly what I needed- and those reasons weren’t being conveyed well in email. I was able to explain more thoroughly my positioning in a way that she was able to able to understand and consider more thoughtfully. Over email, I was just another person making demands. Connecting over the phone helped us build on our vendor/buyer relationship and come up with a winning solution.
Next time you are struggling to get to a business resolution, try picking up the phone and follow some simple tips below:
- Send an agenda or an outline of what you want to discuss
- Take time for small talk
- Minimize distractions around you so you can pay attention to the discussion
- Consider a negotiation template to note your objectives, limits, needs, & possible concessions
- Send a summary follow up via email of what you agreed to on the phone
You might be surprised at how quick and easy it is!
Written by Account Manger, Jen Witherspoon