In the era of texts and social media, phones have lost favor as a follow up method. Phone calls have a reputation as being inconvenient, ineffective, old-fashioned, and worst of all—scary. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth when you’re vying for a lead’s attention following a successful trade show event. The phone should still be part of your follow up arsenal. Here are a few reasons why.
Naysayers may claim the phone is a nuisance and that they’d prefer an email that they can review at a time more convenient to their schedule. Email methods assume that the lead is self-motivated enough to follow through. Truthfully, most emails receive a cursory glance and then become relegated to the “later” folder (which is often interchangeable with the “never” folder). A conversation over the phone demands attention and creates more urgency. Pre-scheduling a follow up phone appointment at the trade show or within 48 hours following it will eliminate the inconvenience factor. Phone appointments make for a very useful tool. They not only quickly close deals, but they weed out tire kickers.
Eventually, most leads will need to end up on the phone in order to finalize sensitive details regarding a deal. Reaching out via phone sooner rather than at the end of the deal can streamline the sales process more effectively. Once you have someone’s full attention, you are in the best position to move in for the close. A call also presents another opportunity to show leads that you are not a passive business, but one that can proactively help them address their needs.
Although having a lead pick up the phone can be challenging, once you do have them engaged, you can gain control of the sales process. A well-timed phone call can address objections in real-time without excessive back and forth. Prolonging the sales cycle for too long can result in lost interest. Timing remains a crucial sales factor. A phone is a direct line to your leads that can circumvent the digital black hole.
Control, though, is not a one-way street in sales. Using a combination of follow up techniques—email, phone calls, social media—allows leads the power to choose their favored contact method. A phone call, even if it results in a voicemail, with a quick email note sent after, opens up several possibilities for returning the contact. Be open and flexible to any form of communication, and you’ll pull in a greater number of leads.
Your competitors may be sending out three, four, or five follow up emails. While they are preparing for their next email blast, you could be the sole vendor actively engaged with your leads over the phone. It is common knowledge that it takes anywhere from five to eight contacts to warm up a lead or close a deal. The Vendor quickest to respond wins over a prospect as well. When email reigns the supreme form of contact, a phone call does appear as a bit of a novelty. That isn’t a bad thing. Just as you want your trade show booth, product, and name to look unique and catch people’s attention, so should your follow ups.