Considering the rise and rise of ‘new’ media marketing like email, social and online over the past two decades, it’s fair enough to ask the question ‘is the phone still pulling its weight in the modern sales and marketing toolkit?’
If you’re still cold calling like it’s 1995 then yes, you may be better off switching to a different platform – consumers are pretty adept these days at ignoring nuisance calls and stale, repetitive sales pitches so if you haven’t updated your sales call techniques to respond to today’s consumer then you might find more success with email or social marketing.
But when they’re done well, in this era of customer-centric sales that’s all about building trust, recognition and loyalty, nothing hits all three marks as effectively as a direct, real-time, human-to-human phone conversation.
And here’s why:
A Personal Touch. An email or instant message lacks intimacy and invites miscommunication. Other than being face-to-face, phone calls are the most effective way to build a rapport with existing and potential new customers and make them feel like you care about them and/or their business. For certain industries – legal, health, insurance – being able to connect with a real human being is an essential part of the decision-making process.
Identify And Resolve Pain Points Immediately. With generic mass-marketing approaches like email or content marketing you need to make informed guesses about the most likely customer pain points and selling points. With actual, real customer interaction, you can pinpoint issues by asking specific questions and offer the prospect a solution, adapting your pitch as you go in response to their reactions.
Better Cut-Through. We are so bombarded with emails, online ads and social media posts these days that most make a fleeting impression at best, and it’s likely that a couple of hours later we will have forgotten we ever saw them. A phone call – even a brief conversation – leaves a lasting impression and even if the call fails to convert at the time, chances are the prospect will be far more likely to recall your company details if demand for your product or services arises in future, or if they’re asked to make a recommendation.
Immediacy. Ever opened an email that contained information about a product or service you were actually interested in and thought ‘I’ll follow this up/check out the website/reply later’? With a real time, person-to-person conversation, your prospects can immediately get the answers to their questions, more information and a clear path to completing the desired transaction before they have a chance to forget, get distracted or change their mind.
So while there’s no shortage of alternatives to the good old-fashioned sales call, smart businesses are still well-advised to continue investing in this tried and true method, as long as they’re doing it well!