Why Live Telephone Calls Still Win Political Campaigns

As a candidate for office, there are many ways for you to communicate with the voters. But which methods are best? Which ones are the best use of your time and money? You might be surprised to learn that telephone calls remain a great way for you to reach the voters.

On local campaigns, I’ve consistently seen three types of voter contact be highly effective.  These are:

Direct Mail — Precinct Walking — Telephone Calls

You probably noticed I did not mention Facebook or email or even your website in that list. Why?  Because while these tools are important to your campaign, their impact on election remains mysterious.

What is not mysterious is the fact that tried-and-true methods such as mass mailings, going door to door, and calling voters on the phone work time and time again for candidates.

Unlike mail, telephone calls allow you to have a one-on-one conversation with specific voters. Calls are similar to precinct walking except you may be able to reach more voters in the same period of time.

Additionally, you can make phone calls at night and during bad weather. You can’t always go door-to-door at such times. In fact, I really don’t advise knocking on doors after the sun sets.

Many candidates rely on Robo Calls to reach voters for their phone operations.

These can be quite effective as long as people are not being inundated with Robo Calls, like in off-year local elections. That being said, Robo Calls are broadcasts. They are not a two-way street of communication.

Live calls benefit candidates by allowing them to converse with voters,  persuade them into support, and identify supporters for Get Out The Vote efforts. live calls can be conducted by you, by your volunteers, and by professional paid phone centers.

Using Volunteers to Make Live Telephone Calls

Don’t make the mistake of putting your volunteers on the phone without a script.

They will be off message and off message campaigns are not successful campaigns.

Give your volunteers a script and keep them sticking to the script as much as possible.

Here’s a sample of a phone script you can prepare for your volunteers:

Hello, this is YOUR NAME calling, is SPECIFIC VOTERS NAME available?
 I am calling today to talk about CANDIDATE NAME & OFFICE BEING SOUGHT. 
Can we count on your support?  
IF YES:  That’s great. Would you like to show your support by putting a sign in your yard?
IF NO OR UNDECIDED:  Would you like CANDIDATE’S NAME to call you and discuss your concerns and the issues with you?
Now each state and some jurisdictions have their own disclosure requirements for voter communications, so please make sure your calls always comply with these rules and have the proper disclaimer for your contest.
It’s important for your volunteers to code the responses from the voters they talk to.
You want to make sure you know who your supporters are so you can remind them to vote as Election Day draws near.
You also want to get signs out to the supporters who want them as soon as possible.
Even more important is calling undecided or potentially opposing voters who said they want to speak with you.  You need to turn them to your side if possible.
Undecided voters should be contacted on multiple occasions to see if you can sway them. Opposed voters should be dropped from your voter contact efforts.
Build up your list of supporters and turn them out when it’s time to vote.  That’s how elections are won and how live telephone calls help you as a candidate.