The way you make the first contact with a prospect will have a significant impact on your response rates. If you find that you can’t decide whether to call a new prospect or send them an email, then think about which is most appropriate for that prospect. Phone or email?
As a sales rep or manager, you know that for a follow-up, the right approach is phone and email. But for the first contact, that might be too intense for a prospect. When you’re deciding which is the right one for you, think about the following factors.
Time and Day
Phone answer rates rise as the day and week progress; a prospect is more likely to answer the phone later in the day or week. Set up your weekly work calendar to have cold calling hours after 3 pm in the day and block out large amounts of time on a Thursday or Friday.
If your prospect is unavailable during these times, leave a voicemail. Response rates to voicemails increase as the day goes on.
Emailing is a bit different. Think about when people are coming and going from meetings — sending emails 10 minutes before the hour should catch people in between meetings. It’s a tiny window, but it is when you are most likely to catch your prospect’s attention while they are scrolling through emails on their phone.
What do you want to achieve with this first contact? Are you setting up a meeting? Looking for more information?
If you are looking for the prospect to do something, a phone call is the best approach. Think about whether you want to set up a meeting, conference call, or a demo, it will be easier to persuade your prospect to say yes over the phone.
If you are not looking for a yes, then use an email. Keep the email short and to the point. This is ideal for asking for more information about what they are doing or sharing relevant content with them.
Prospects communication style
Prospects may prefer a specific communication style over others. Their preference may depend on multiple factors: age, job, industry, time etc.
Millennials like communicating via email more than over the phone. Older generations prefer the phone, rather than email.
If you are looking to speak with someone who has a customer-facing role, like sales or customer service, you might find that they are happy to talk on the phone. Whereas someone with a more internal function in the business may prefer an email. So just bear in mind what communication style they may prefer.
Regardless of whether you use phone or email; focus on being clear, concise and stick to an agenda. Be professional, polite and persistent but don’t be a pest. During your initial sales call or email set a time and date to follow up. Ensure the time suits the prospect. Once you have a specific time set, send a calendar invite so that it can’t be forgotten about.
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