I have never really enjoyed chatting on the phone. This sometimes goes for chatting with friends, but it almost always pertains to domain name negotiations. There are some times when a phone conversation can be fruitful though, and I thought I would share some thoughts on phone negotiations.
When I want to inquire about a domain name as a buyer, I will usually send an email and follow up with a phone call if it could be fruitful. For instance, if the domain owner seems willing to sell the domain name and we need to come to terms on the price, I might give a phone call. Some people will brush off my call and stick to email, but others are more chatty, and we can finalize a deal quickly. I like the fact the I can speed up a discussion rather than extend it hours or days with email.
When someone randomly calls me to discuss a domain name, if I take the call, I will generally tell the person to follow up with an email. I want to have all of the information in front of me when discussing a domain name, and I think the other person is in a better negotiating situation if they’ve called me unexpectedly. Generally speaking, when I receive a call from a number I don’t recognize, I won’t answer it and will wait for the voicemail to determine my next step.
If I can’t get in touch via email with someone who inquired about a domain name, I might follow up with a phone call. This is usually reserved for inquiries from companies or people that I believe have a good chance of being able to buy the domain name. If someone appears to be a tire kicker (ie offered $10 for EventPlanner.com), I won’t call to save my time and level of frustration. These calls can be difficult because I often have a very different sense of the market value of a domain name than someone who wants to buy it, and I would rather avoid a contentious conversation.
I know that some people have a separate phone number for domain inquiries, and this makes sense for inbound inquiries. I also think it’s important to use a non-home phone number on Whois listings to avoid phone calls at strange hours. There have been times I have called someone early in the morning or later in the evening only to realize they live in a very different timezone.
I think phone calls can be good opportunities to learn about the other party, and they can go a long way to establishing trust. When I am speaking with someone interesting, I tend to be chatty, and having a good conversation can be helpful in establishing trust. That being said, when it comes to negotiating the sale of my domain name, establishing trust is secondary to establishing a price. Until we can figure out a mutually agreeable price, I am less concerned about trust, especially when the deal would go through Escrow.com anyway.
What are your thoughts about using the phone to negotiate?