Have You Heard of the Telephone?

The greatest sales tool ever invented is not social media. It’s not LinkedIn. It’s not NLP. It’s not SPIN Selling or some other formal sales process. It’s not Salesforce.com or other CRM software. It’s not the fax machine. It’s not the iPhone. And, it’s certainly not email. Those all are great tools, but they are not the best. No, the greatest sales tool ever invented is the telephone.

If you’re like most people, you’ll do anything you can to avoid making an outbound call. It’s so much easier to send an email. There’s no risk.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve asked, “Have you talked to so-and-so?” only to hear, “I sent him an email last week.”

Really? That’s the best a salesperson can do? Send an email and wait? What if your email didn’t go through? What if your customer or prospect accidentally deleted it? What if they are on vacation but do not use an out-of-office auto responder? What if they are interested but forgot to reply? What if they have 1,500 emails in their inbox and haven’t seen yours yet?

“OK, you’re right, Noah. I’ll send them another email.”

“Hey, sales guy, have you heard of the telephone?”

Let’s look at why email is so attractive to weak salespeople:

  • It’s non-confrontational
  • You don’t have to think on your feet
  • It’s “non-intrusive”
  • You can send it any time
  • It doesn’t hurt as much when they say no
  • If they don’t reply, you can blame them

And now let’s look at why you may shy away from the phone:

  • Reluctance – You’ve been blown off before, turned down before, and hurt before. You don’t want that feeling again.
  • Fear – What if you blow it? What if you never get a second chance? What if you say something stupid?
  • Procrastination – You’ll get around to calling people when you’ve finished all your paperwork, responded to all your internal company email, and had lunch. Right after you find a few other things to fill your day with.
  • Inconvenience – You don’t want to “bother” them.
  • Timing – It’s the day before the holiday or the day after the holiday. It’s their busy season. It’s their slow season. It’s too early in the morning or too late at night. It’s Monday. It’s Tuesday. It’s Wednesday. It’s Thursday. It’s Friday. You get the point. If you think you’re bothering someone, you’re bothering them. If you have nothing of value to offer, you’re going to bother them no matter when you call.

If you send an email instead of calling you increase your chances of being turned down. The prospect has too many options and too many ways to say no to you. They can choose not respond at all. They can be downright rude to you without fear of having to hear your reaction.  So, the next time you have a lead – pick up the phone and call them.

When’s the best time to follow-up on a lead? Right now. One second after you get the lead. Don’t email them. Call them. Your prospect is the most excited they’ll ever be right now. With every second that passes your prospect loses interest. They have the opportunity to call your competitor. They have time to change their mind. They have time to Google you and your company and uncover negative feedback.

The longer you wait, the harder it gets. It’s harder to sell, it’s harder to overcome the fear of calling, it’s harder to reach them, and it’s harder to impress your prospect with your responsiveness.

To rise to level of master salesperson, you must master the usage of the telephone. Not how to dial it, but how to leverage it as your best method of increasing your sales.

I’ve got good news for you: over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing articles that will help you to overcome your reluctance, discover new ways to use the phone to land appointments and find new customers, differentiate yourself from the competition to become perceived as a value-provider rather than a cold-caller, and uncover a few tips and tricks along the way.

Check out a few titles from this series below:

Outbound Calling is Not Cold Calling

To Leave or Not to Leave a Voicemail

Answer the Phone!

What Your Voicemail Greeting Should Sound Like

How to Get Their Phone Number

How to Get Past the Receptionist

 

Be sure to stay tuned!

 

Yours in Sales,

Noah

photo credit: dave bradley photography

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Comments

  1. Noah, you hit the proverbial nail on the head. I get hundreds of emails every day and usually 1 or 2 of them are from sales reps “reaching out to connect…”   They get deleted instantly for all of the reasons you spelled out above.I have another thought to add to your why sales people send emails instead of phoning….LACK OF PREPARATION.  To be successful in phoning means you must be prepared and have a compelling reason why I should bother to listen to you and what’s the benefit to me/company.  In other words it takes work and preparation you just can’t wing yet.Yet the ironic thing is (as you allude to in your post) that in this world today of easy, fast communication
    of email, the old-fashioned telephone in the hands of a sales professional is still far and away the most effective tool to use to connect with potential qualified prospects.Great article, you wet my appetite, looking forward to your upcoming posts !

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