The 3 Scripts You Need BEFORE You Make Any Call

Feel free to use this image just link to www.rentvine.comYou received a message with the request that you call the person back.  It could be a job opportunity or prospective client.  Either way, it is a very important call.

A new job or a new lucrative revenue stream could depend upon this call.


No pressure, of course.


Before you pick up that phone in haste and excitement, make sure you are prepared.


Do you have three versions of your message ready?


Yes, I said three.  Here is why:


  1. If the person you wish to speaks with answers the phone.  This is best case scenario and the one most people are prepared for.
  2. If you reach their voicemail.  This is where people might stumble.  They either prepare for voicemail or the actual person – but not both.
  3. If you reach a gatekeeper.  This is the one that people tend to forget.


You should be prepared for each scenario so that way, no matter which option you get, you come across confident, collected and professional.


I honestly cannot tell you the number of times I have answered the phone to be met with “Oh, I didn’t expect you to answer.”  I dropped the niceties a long time ago and now gently, and with a smile ask, “Then why did you call me?”


The normal answer: “I expected to get your voicemail.”


This is not the best way to start a conversation with someone you are hoping will hire you.


Over the years I have received my fair share of voicemails that were pretty close to train wrecks.  It took some time to get to the point, there was a lot of reiteration of information, hurrying through the phone number (or forgetting it) and a weak conclusion.


This is the least pressure call of all – you do not even have to talk to an actual person.


Here are some pointers for all three calls:


  1.  Use your full name, not just your first name.  Odds are they know more than one person with your first name.  You may not be top of mind when you call, even if they do not.
  2. If you are calling a prospect, be sure to use your first and last name along with your company name.
  3. Thank them for calling or contacting you, which leads into:
  4. Let them know you are returning their call or their message per their request.  They may have forgotten they called you.
  5. If you are leaving a voicemail, let them know the date and time that you are leaving the message – electronic date stamping is not infallible.
  6. If talking to the person of interest and they hesitate or seem to not remember why they called you, offer a gentle nudge.  Gentle, not straight out, “You were calling to offer me the position.”
  7. If you get a gatekeeper, pay attention to their name if given when answering the phone.  Then say hello using their name, give your first and last name and tell them you were returning a call to Mr./Ms. Person of Interest.
  8. You do not need to give the entire story to the gatekeeper.  Just let them know you are returning the call and if the person of interest is not available ask if you may leave a message.  Then thank them at the end.
  9. If giving your phone number to a gatekeeper or voicemail, speak slowly.  Picture in your mind writing each number down as you say it, this will allow the person on the other end enough time to get it the first time.
  10. At the end of your voicemail, thank them, repeat your phone number and let them know when you would be available if convenient for them.
  11. No matter whom you speak to – thank them.  Manners matter.
  12. Smile.  Whether you talk to a person or machine, smile.  It comes through in your voice.  You sound positive and confident.


With a little preparation you will be able to deliver the perfect call or message no matter what the situation and seal that deal!


Lisa K McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer





Are You A Line Item Or Value Add?

apples and orangesYesterday I talked to a prospective client who had done some price comparisons. I understand this, if I am going to spend any chunk of change I like to do a little research myself, compare prices, offerings and value.

Key word there: value.

When he came back to me and asked if I would lower my price to meet the price of someone else I politely declined. In a nutshell I explained that I can not lower my price to meet others because they do not raise their value to meet mine.

We started work last night.

I recognize the value that I offer my clients, not in a cocky or arrogant way, rather a confident manner based upon my the work I have done for clients and continue to do. I know my value and I know I am not a line item.

I am not a widget.

When getting to the negotiation phase of the job searching process do not begin until you have a very clear idea of your value. What do you offer the company, what results can you support you, what are your strengths and how do they meet the needs of you future employer?

Know the market, what is expected, what is available and what is offered. Combined with knowing your value these are important aspects of your negotiation tactics.

If an organization merely attempts to hire you at the lowest price possible without taking into consideration the value you have to offer it is a pretty clear indication that they do not value you. This should be a factor you take in considering their offer. If this is the beginning of the relationship, where can it go from here?

I run the risk of loosing prospective clients because of pricing, I understand that. I have some clients tell me I do not charge enough for what I do for them, I appreciate that. I have some “competitors” that will “undersell” me or use various not-so-nice tactics to try to engage a client, I shake my head at that.

Because I know my value.

Just in any relationship in which you enter, whether it be a new job, existing employment or personal relationship each party has value. It is important to recognize not only what the other party brings to the table for you, but what you can do for them.

It should never be a one-sided give and no take. Compromise, consistency, growth, opportunity, give-and-take, shared responsibility in maintaining a positive balance is the responsibility of both parties.

If you enter or find yourself already in a relationship in which the other party seems to always take and you feel no reciprocity then you should ask yourself – why am I here? Sometimes it is all about the money. If you are getting paid really well to do what you do while working like a dog but money is your biggest motivator then it is a beneficial relationship. You went in with your eyes open knowing what you would have to give (blood, sweat and tears) in order to get what you most need (lots of money).

Know your value and what you need from the relationship. Be very clear on both and this puts you on solid negotiation terms. If the prospective employer cannot meet your needs and respect your value then it is your choice at that time – is this the best temporary move for you or can you walk away knowing it is not the right move for you.

When you are clear on your value and your needs you will be clear on your answer.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Job Searching – Stay Flexible and Protect Those Eggs!

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – do you remember that phrase? When I heard it as a kid it did not make sense to me because the only time I thought about putting eggs in a basket was on an Easter Egg hunt and, well, wasn’t that the point to make it easier to carry?

Now that I am older I understand the phrase, still not sure of the origin but I will be looking that up as soon as I finish this blog. However I get it now and that’s my point. And since I now get it, I have to share.

Generally I find people who are putting all their eggs in one basket have one of two baskets: the first is hoping for just one job and one job alone. This is the one they want: they know it is going to come through for them so there is no need to look further.

The second basket is settling for one job and one job alone. If an opportunity comes up after accepting a position they do not consider it because they have already piled their basket high and wide.

I am here to tell you to stop carrying around that one basket and loading it full of eggs. People are talking and the eggs are starting to stink. When you are in transition you must learn to do one thing that is extremely uncomfortable – be flexible.

Regarding the first basket – I know an opportunity will present itself and you really want that position. I mean really, really, really; stomp your feet; close your eyes and silently say, “pretty, pretty please” want it. Been there, done that.

It is wonderful to get excited about an opportunity, it really is. You get jazzed for the first time in who knows how long; you see yourself in the position; you know you can do that job better than anyone else. But remain flexible and open. You may think it is perfect but that does not mean hiring managers think the same way you do. And alas, there may be disappointment.

Even if you think you are a shoe in (another phrase that I am curious about) for the job remember: do not stop networking, searching and keeping your opportunities open. Life happens; people make mistakes and hire the wrong person. It happens.

If happens to you, and I am so sorry if it did, here is another way to remain flexible and open. Call them back after about a month. There is nothing wrong with calling someone you interviewed with and were in the final running for the position to just check in. Tell them how much you really liked their company and to see if there are any other opportunities available because you really want the opportunity to work within that firm.

What are they going to do, tell you not to call back? Seriously. Swallow the pride a little bit and give them a call. I have actually done this and although when making the call I felt like I was begging I was so glad I did. The woman I interviewed with was delighted that I called and the first thing she said was, “Thank goodness you called back, the other candidate is not working out at all – when can you come in?”

As to the second basket – once you have a job and another opportunity comes you way, it is perfectly acceptable to check it out. If you were just throwing your resume against the wall to see what would stick odds are it may not be greener on the other side of the fence. However, if this is an opportunity that you would really like to pursue, then you should consider it. Do not, and I repeat, do not disrespect your current employer to investigate another opportunity. This means do not take long lunches to meet with people, do not call in sick two weeks after starting the position, and do not walk out thinking you have the new opportunity made. Remember, someone did hire you, they found value in you and this new opportunity might be great, but it also might be basket number one. Be flexible, be willing to listen but do not jump ship just because someone else caught your eye.

Sometimes it takes people a while to be able to seriously consider you for a position, whether they just got approval to hire, the right people just got back in the office or the need is now a priority. Timing is not always perfect so you cannot hold that against them. So hear them out as to what they have to say and you can determine for yourself if it is a right opportunity to consider, while you are still employed. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush you know. I’m not sure if that applies or not, but I am on a roll with these sayings today!

Job searching is frustrating and the timing rarely works out the way we want it to, but that is where being flexible comes in very handy. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that the world does not work on our schedule. I have to remind myself on a daily basis so trust me, this I know. Think I’m just saying that? Does the fact that years ago my brother once gave me a shirt that said, “I want it and I want it NOW” tell you anything?

Just remember what your priorities are, what is important to you and what is not, and what you really want to do. There is nothing written in stone that says you have to take the first job that is offered to you or that you have to remain on a path that is not conducive to your goals. Take a breath or two, weigh your options, remain flexible and it will all work out in the end.