In this day and age, sales doesn’t really work without technology. At our disposal is a myriad of ways to research customers, connect with them, track them, rate them, and put them in the pipeline. Tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter make researching and connecting with prospects much easier. Things like lead generation and prospecting depend upon social media and email. Our work processes and success rates would be pretty poor without these tools, because connecting with prospects and relationship building remain a huge part of the job of the salesperson, even if the ways we go about forging those bonds have changed.
But not everything has changed. Put this in your pipeline and smoke it: With all that social networking available for use, you still need to kick it old school by touching base with customers the same way we’ve done it for a hundred years—since the hot new products were zippers and light switches—by making sales calls.
One of the most efficient ways to catch the attention of multiple prospects is by email blasting hundreds of them at once, checking the response rates, and then following up with those who clicked or opened your email. As for those who don’t respond, that simply makes the rejection easier to deal with; it beats a rude hang-up in your ear any day. And it’s preferable to landing in voicemail no-salesperson land time and time again, with an occasional “no thanks” to keep things uninteresting.
Don’t Get Stuck in Traffic
Just use caution—do not rely so heavily on your email blasts that you fail to close the communication loop with phone calls to open-y, click-y prospects.
As for personalized email messages to customers, your time is often better spent picking up the phone, because you can do in one call what it could take several emails to accomplish. You may think you’d be bothering someone with a phone call, but you’ll be bugging them a lot more with a rash of emails back and forth. What you have to say, you could say in five or ten minutes over the phone.
Tweets and Jingles
The power of two voices actually communicating to one another cannot be replaced by our supposedly more savvy ways of getting through to people. You can tweet yourself blue, but that’s never going to make a customer feel like they’ve got a human connection the way they will at the sound of your voice—and without that human connection, your job of onboarding a prospect just got a lot more difficult.
Aside from face-to-face time or video chat, nothing’s as powerful as the phone line. It’s especially important to reserve discussing details for the phone. Don’t blow it, for example, by talking price in an email. It’s not a medium that allows for a lot of context; you simply cannot outline the benefits of your goods and services the way you can in a live conversation. When you need an answer to a close-ended question (“I have you down for 2 p.m. Monday—does that still work?”) email’s your go-to. But when it comes to the number one communication tool at your fingertips? Ring-a-ding-ding, Pal-y.
More Good Reasons to Be “Phone-y”
- To know your message is getting through: Truly engaging your customer is possible only on the phone or in person. Even voice-mailing can have it benefits, because many people still listen to their messages. But they don’t always read emails. Sometimes they don’t read them carefully. In contrast, a 30-second voice mail takes, well, 30 seconds to listen to.
- While your competition is attempting to be all razzle-dazzle with email touch points loaded with chuckling emoticons, you’ll be a cut above with that instrument you’ve been practicing for your whole sales career: your charming voice.
- To cut down on confusion: A phone call or two is a much better mode of communication when it comes to answering all of your prospects questions, and opening up the lines for them to ask questions they didn’t know they had till they got on the phone with you. What’s more, by the sound of their voice—their tone, the word choices they make—you’ll be able to read them in order to know if they “got it” or not.
- For clarity: Electronic messages can be misconstrued and ambiguous. You can offend without knowing it when someone misinterprets what you’ve put down in words. You know that winning sense of humor you have? In email, it might go over like a belch at a ladies luncheon.
The point is, people, no electronic doohickey can replace the human voice. So clear your throat, have your greeting ready—or know what you’re going to say on someone’s voice mail so that you don’t booby-trap yourself and trip all over your words—it’s time to get on the phone and make a connection.