Steve Slaunwhite‘s latest newsletter about scripts used to turn prospects into clients got me thinking about the various “pick-up lines” we PR professionals use to engage someone. And no, I’m not talking about the usual pick-up lines like “if being beautiful was a crime, you’d be guilty as charged” or “you must be exhausted because you’ve been running through my mind all day.” But whether they are prospective clients, journalists, or analysts, we all use some kind of introduction that we hope sparks their interest.
Over email, we usually try to make the subject line short and to the point without making the email look like a marketing message or spam, but on the phone, it’s a whole other story. People can read emails at their leisure, but a phone call needs to be more direct since people seem to have gotten busier and busier over the years and you never know what you’re interrupting.
If you’ve sent them an email initially and are following up by phone, a short reminder of what your email was about should trigger their memory. However, if it doesn’t, you can either offer to describe it in greater detail or ask if it’d be more useful for you to resend the email.
For a prospective client, Steve Slaunwhite‘s advice would be to ask them if they’re locked in with their current agency, or if they can explore other options – and since no one likes to be “locked in,” they’ll usually be more receptive to listening to what you have to offer. A final question of something like “is this something you’re looking for?” generally tells you all you need to know if they’re interested in working with you or having you follow up with them a few months down the road.
But the best advice I’ve ever gotten is to K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid! Describing your pitch or business proposal briefly, or better yet, asking if it’d be helpful if you described it to them in the first place, will hopefully spark their interest long enough for them to ask a question and keep the conversation going. And while “pick-up lines” or scripts can be useful, a conversational tone usual holds people’s attention better and keeps you more relaxed… after all, getting them on the phone in the first place is the real battle, so why stress about the call!