Why the Art of Calling Isn’t Dead (Especially for a Startup)

Latest posts by Chris Rothstein (see all)

We are in a day and age where the lines of communication are always open, even if you try to escape. As I sit down to write my thoughts for this article, I see email notifications pop up on an almost constant basis. While email is a quick and (sometimes) non-intrusive way to communicate, according to the Radicati Group, the average person receives 121 emails a day. This leaves your emails exposed to being lost, accidentally deleted or buried in an overwhelmed inbox. As a sales rep, especially one of a startup, if you’re unable to make touch points with your customers, there is no way you’ll be able to succeed.

This is when it’s time to pick up the phone.

The average person only makes or receives six phone calls a day, making it unoccupied territory that provides you with a chance to connect with a sales lead and gauge the prospect of the sale. At a time when potential customers look for their sales team to act as advisors rather than pitch people, picking up the phone is a line of communication that can’t be overlooked.

Many new salespeople or reps at relatively new and unknown companies are often intimidated by the thought of calling a potential lead. When sending 100 emails, it’s easy to file away negative feedback and move on with your day, but receiving a negative response over the phone is much harder to move past. It’s important to remember that while calling can be difficult, it’s also extremely effective and can make a difference to your bottom line.

Getting on the phone with a lead is one of the most important ways for a startup to start selling because it allows a rep to more easily show value they can provide and allows the prospect to gauge if the solution is a good fit for their needs.

Though calling has a connect rate of only 5 to 10 percent, data shows that 46 percent of those conversations result in a positive outcome.

While email might have a slightly higher response rate, it’s harder to move the needle.

Here are two tips to be used when calling potential sales leads to help ensure a successful call:

Preparation is key

As with most things in business, if you aren’t prepared, the chances of a successful interaction are slim. Picking up the phone to call a prospect is no different. It’s vital that you do enough research to know you can provide value on the call.

The average phone call only lasts three minutes, so it’s important to show the value you can add quickly so the prospect is inclined to stay on the phone. If you’re unsure of the value you can immediately add to that customer, don’t waste their time by calling them. There might be another opportunity you can present to them down the line, and tarnishing the relationship with an unproductive phone call can ruin that opportunity.

Know how your prospect likes to communicate

While calling is an unoccupied territory that needs to be considered when communicating with a prospect, it’s equally as important to know the form of communication the prospect prefers. For example, the CEO of a large corporation will probably not be sitting at his or her desk or able to answer the phone, so sending an initial email might be more effective to get a response.

On the other hand, calling as the first touchpoint can be very successful when reaching out to small business owners. In both instances, it’s critical to know your audience in order to determine the balance of communication.

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The modern sales team is digital, but it’s important take a step back from the computer and remember the importance of traditional communication, especially if they’re working at a startup that is working to create lasting relationships. It will be up to sales leaders to show up-and-coming sales reps the value of connecting with prospects over the phone and encourage the art of calling.

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