I'm not going to beat around the bush here. I'll just say it out loud from the get-go.....pick up your phone! That's right, pick up your phone when it's ringing or pick it up to make a call.
Valais Blacknose sheep is an investment. When you make an investment you want all the information you can get to be informed to make decisions. To get the information, you need to communicate. Now, I'm no expert but I do have a BA in Communications, so I have just a little more insight than the average person. Talking to another person face-to-face is thought to be the most effective way to communicate since 80% of communication is non-verbal. This means you interpret the message from a person's body language more than their words. It could be facial expressions, hand motions, eye contact, etc. When communicating by email, the written word can be interpreted differently than the writer meant it to be. That's why different people can read the same book and get different meanings.
Fred gets calls, emails, and messages on social media on a daily basis from people inquiring about the Valais. They could be potential buyers, fellow breeders, sellers offering semen or embryos, or just people curious about this breed. Each person is at a different stage in their journey and has different questions. Fred answers what he can based on our experiences and then offers any resources he may have to answer questions to which he doesn't know the answer. We will get requests on social media or email. The most common question is "How much?" or someone will say I just pm'd you. Our response to this question is always the same, give us a call, and then we provide our phone number. We believe when someone is truly interested they are typically willing to take the time to call us. If not, then they probably were just kicking the curb, and that's quite alright.
So let's review some reasons it would be better to talk on the phone vs email.
Efficient and Immediate: Do you want to know the price? Phone calls allow for real-time, immediate communication. It can also start a conversation and allow an understanding of why the price is what it is or how it's compared to others' pricing. Most breeders are reluctant to put their pricing on Facebook.
Tone and Emotion: Many times Fred gets calls from people who are frustrated or confused from getting conflicting views from other breeders they've reached out to. Phone calls enable you to convey tone, emotions, and nuances more effectively than emails. Voice inflections, emphasis, and pauses can all contribute to a better understanding of the message being conveyed. It helps avoid misinterpretations or misunderstandings that can occur when relying solely on written text.
Complex Discussions: So many people are just starting out on their own journey with this breed and they have so many questions. Phone calls are particularly useful for complex discussions or situations that require a detailed explanation. It allows for a more interactive conversation where both parties can ask questions, seek clarification, and engage in a dynamic dialogue. This back-and-forth exchange can lead to quicker problem-solving and decision-making.
Building Relationships: Fred has talked to a lot of great people and developed ongoing friendships talking about Valais. Phone calls can help foster a personal connection and build relationships. Hearing someone's voice and engaging in a direct conversation can create a sense of rapport and trust that can be harder to establish through written communication alone.
Immediate Feedback: Fred has received calls from people needing help to treat a condition or they notice their sheep acting differently. This is often true with first-time lambing. Phone calls enable immediate feedback and clarification. If there are any questions or uncertainties during a conversation, they can be addressed in real-time, leading to a better understanding of the topic being discussed. In contrast, emails often involve delays between messages, which can prolong the resolution of issues or lead to miscommunication.
Personal Touch: Phone calls offer a personal touch that can be beneficial in certain situations. It allows you to express empathy, sympathy, or concern more genuinely, especially when dealing with sensitive or difficult subjects. This human touch can be valuable for customer service interactions, personal relationships, or situations where emotional support is required.
It's important to note, sometimes, written communication is preferred for its documentation and asynchronous nature, while other times, a phone call may be more appropriate for immediate and effective communication.
There are a couple of different types of calls we get as Valais Blacknose Sheep breeders:
The Newbie: These are people just getting started and have a ton of questions. It's important to be patient and answer all the questions they have and make sure they understand. Making them feel comfortable to ask questions is important.
Other Valais Breeders: Reaching out with questions and possibly growing their flock. We share experiences with each other for educational purposes. Most of these callers become acquaintances and friends.
Rare Animal Breeders: We love these calls because we learn so much! We were actually able to visit a baby giraffe in quarantine when a gentleman invited us to his farm. We were also introduced to a sheep breed we didn't know existed in the US.
Just Curious: These people are willing to pick up the phone and simply ask questions to learn about the breed with no intention of raising this breed themselves.
Veterinarians: As crazy as it sounds, we've gotten calls from a few vets simply because they've never seen this breed, and all of a sudden someone brings a Valais to them with an issue. They seek out resources to ask questions and somehow they found us. These are really great conversations!
Pretenders: People who call and act like they're interested in purchasing but all they really want to know is how much we're asking. The funny thing here is, we're happy to share how much we're asking, no need to pretend :)
I'd say it's obvious, picking up the phone is our choice for effective communication. With good communication comes information. Whether it's learning something new, getting an idea of what kind of person you're dealing with, or learning things you shouldn't do. With that information, you can make better choices. Our goal is for us and others to be readily informed instead of easily influenced. Talking on the phone helps us achieve that goal.