The Phone: Friend or Foe?

In the business world, the phone call remains the #1 habit of the peak-performer.  Nearly 30 years ago, Steve Jobs said there’s one simple habit that separates the Doers from the Dreamers: The phone.

That’s right.  The phone. Some things never change.

Here is a direct quote from Steve Jobs shortly before he passed away: “Most people never pick up the phone and call.  Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.”

Steve Jobs, as a 12-year-old kid, famously picked up the phone and called Bill Hewlett, then co-founder of Hewlett-Packard.  He asked if HP had any spare parts that he could use to build his home computer.  Bill Hewlett not only said, “Yes” but gave Steve his first internship.  The rest is history.  Apple is now one of the largest companies on the planet.

I spent this past weekend with a select group of friends at Saratoga, NY for our annual men’s retreat and to see the horse races.  We invited a special guest from NYC to join us.  He happens to be one of the most successful private jet salesmen in the country. 

While observing most of the horse race attendees on Friday furiously pecking away at their smartphones in silence, I noticed our guest making and taking phone calls continuously.  It really struck me.  It was one phone call after another.  His conversations were to the point with a good banter back and forth.  It was impressive how he conversationally mapped to get what he seemingly wanted. Each phone call ended with a sly grin.

I spent a considerable amount of time with our guest during the course of the weekend, and found out that this individual doesn’t like emails or texts and prefers to just talk with his clients (and everyone else!) on the phone. This is not an old man. He is 39 years old.

I was intrigued with his phone prowess, so I asked him to elaborate on his unique approach.  He told me he uses the phone to establish the common ground necessary to build rapport and enhance his existing relationships.  It’s more direct and it establishes urgency with any prospective or existing client.  He admitted he had closed six deals in the past 24 hours.

Without question, talking on the phone is not as good as meeting someone in person, but it’s a helluva lot better than exchanging soul-crushing text messages that come with the usual heart or exclamation point!

The salesman explained to me that without having developed the habit of calling people on the phone, he would be just another boat salesmen.  Pecking away at his smartphone.

I need to check in on my mom in Texas.  I’m reaching for the phone to place a call.

Have a great weekend!

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