Phone banking is when volunteers all over the district, state and country make phone calls on behalf of a cause or a candidate. We are calling on behalf of Michael Owens and our effort to elect Michael to U.S. Congress in Georgia’s 13th Congressional District.
The goals for these calls are twofold.
When making calls, you will have an interactive script guiding you through what to say and ask. As the call progresses, you will ask different questions and record the other person's answers. Your objective is to talk to as many people as possible and answer the questions in the script.
How to get started?
There are three ways to get started phone banking:
1. Remote Phonebanking from anywhere
Make calls from home is the most efficient way to support Michael Owens especially with the spread of the Coronavirus. Everyone has different time constraints but calling from home allows you to make some phone calls here and there as your schedule permits.
2. Come to a Volunteer Action Meeting
Making calls is easy. But it can also be daunting, especially if you've never done it before. Joining one of our Volunteer Action Meetings is a great way to break the ice and get started making calls. It also provides an opportunity for volunteers to practice going through the script with each other so that they can get warmed up before jumping into the phone app. #Team Owens meets a various locations and times across the districts. Check out our events section at www.owensforcongress.com/events.
3. Hosting a phone banking party
With so many volunteers across the district, hosting a party is a great way to allow more people to take part in phone banking. Click here to sign up to host a phonebanking party.
Remember that it's a numbers game
Once you start making calls, you'll quickly learn what most people experience, which is that most of the time, you won't be able to talk to anyone. Some people will quickly hang up or not answer. Some people will refuse to speak, or the person you're trying to talk to is not available. If you don't have the right expectations, it may feel disappointing at first. Despite this, it helps always to remember that this is a numbers game.
To help, we have implemented an automated calling system which makes it much easier here you will introduce someone to Andrew Yang for the first time, and they'll seriously consider him as a candidate. Here are two more things to remember:
Because of caller ID, the act of calling alone introduces the recipient to Michael Owens
When someone receives a call from us, they will see "Michael Owens" in the caller ID. So even if the other person decides not to talk to you at that moment, they will have seen who was calling, and Michael Owens’ name gets planted in their brain. The opening line of the script where you introduce yourself as a volunteer of the "Michael Owens campaign" plants the seed even further. So, don't feel bad if you don’t get to talk to someone or the caller wasn’t 100% engaged. We are making contact.
Tips for a good phone banking experience
Here are some tips to keep in mind when making phone calls.
Tip #1: Remember to smile and be polite and pleasant
Even though the other person can't see you, they can hear your smile through the phone. Wearing a slight grin affects the tone in your voice, which will be felt by the person you are calling.
Tip #2: Speak slowly and clearly
Some people we're calling are older – some between 70 and 80 years old. It's often tempting to read through the script at a fast pace; slow down and make sure you are being clearly understood.
Tip #3: Freestyle a little bit; follow your gut
People are more likely to engage if they don’t feel like they are speaking to a robot. After you've had a decent amount of experience following the script, try using your own words to ask the questions. The result is it'll feel more natural for you and less robotic for the other person.
Tip #4: Try asking "how are you" to make the other person feel comfortable
You need to trust your instincts on this one. If you call someone and sense trepidation in their voice, try to ease the tension by first asking, "how are you?" It's a simple gesture, but it accomplishes two things. First, it proves you're a human being and not a robot. Second, it communicates to the other person that I'm not just calling to make them listen to me, but I'm going to listen to them back.
I recommend doing this if your gut tells you you're not about to get hung up on right away. When people ask, "what do you want?" or "why are you calling?" that's a sign I need to cut to the chase: "I'm just calling quickly to see if you plan on supporting Michael Owens for Congress in the next election?"
Tip #5: Find a way to keep the conversation going if you got the right number but the wrong person
If someone answers the phone and says that the person I'm looking for is unavailable, I ask, "Is this the wrong number or is ____ just not available right now?" If it's the wrong number entirely, I record the correct term code ("do not call") and move on. However, if I got the right number but the wrong person (e.g., the script has me calling the husband but I got the wife instead) I'll pivot to "oh, I'm calling for anyone in the household, so if this is the right number I can talk to you. Do you have two minutes to talk about the upcoming election?" This often works to get them to engage. You can continue with the rest of the script after that. Just mark in the notes that you spoke with the (son, wife, partner, etc.)
Tip #6: Practice and use your own 30-second pitch
There's a part in the script where you introduce the other person to Michael Owens. Read and become familiar with the script but again, don’t read it word for word like a robot. Make it your own. Most often, you'll come across a lot better if you speak from the heart; this means coming up with your own 30-second pitch for Michael Owens. Not only will you be more convincing, but you'll feel and sound more confident to the other person.
Tip #7: Before giving your spiel, ask, "Have you heard of Michael Owens?"
This question is something I firmly believe should be in the script. Before launching into your spiel, ask, "have you heard of Michael Owens ?" This line allows you to gauge how much the person already knows; you can adjust your spiel based on their answer. It also clearly established who you're calling for. A lot of times, a caller will launch straight into the spiel, only for the other person to say, "who are you talking about again?" And just as with tip #4, it communicates that you're willing to listen.
Tip #8: Always plug "OwensforCongress.com" before answering questions
First of all, if you don't know the answer to something, or you don't have the right answer ready off-hand, always be honest up-front and say "That's a great question. I don't have an answer to that, but I recommend going to owensforcongress.com. You'll find what you're looking for there." Don't try to make up an answer on the fly and do not get into policy discussions.
If you do have a ready answer for their question, make sure to plug the website before answering. I like to say "That's a great question. I can’t speak directly for Michael but I know that….. For more detail be sure to visit the site."
Tip #9: Always thank the other person for talking with you; if you can get through the end of the script, really by gracious with giving them many thanks (they deserve it!)
Remember, you are calling people out of the blue (no pun intended). When they take the time to answer your questions and engage with them, make sure to express a lot of gratitude. It's always a good idea to make other people feel important; any good rapport you build subconsciously builds good rapport for Michael. One of my go-to lines is to tell the other person "you're one of the most pleasant people I've talked to all day/night. Thank you!"
Tip #10: Keep calm, have fun, and keep calling
As we said in the beginning, remember that it's a numbers game. Most of the calls you make will not be great. But we are using one of the best tools out there to make your time the most effective. Share your stories of good and bad experiences with other volunteers and staff on Slack. Remember that every single call you make matters, even the hang-ups!
Thank you for joining the team and let us know if you have any questions!