Five Reasons the Phone Is Still King for Lead Generation
From email blasts to LinkedIn outreach to other social media channels and inbound marketing, technology has provided B2B companies with an ever-expanding menu of lead-generation options. But in their rush to embrace the latest methods of communication, many businesses are shortsightedly eschewing what we believe is the most powerful tool for connecting with prospects: the telephone.
Sure, you might have success generating leads with emails and LinkedIn, but how often do these hand-raisers end up having detailed conversations with your sales team? The phone will always be a more personal means of interacting with potential customers, enhancing your chances of building meaningful relationships.
In the words of bestselling author and renowned sales expert Jeb Blount, “The phone is the easiest and fastest means of engaging in conversations with and setting appointments with high-quality prospects.”
VSA follows this phone-first philosophy, while not dismissing the importance of other steps in the prospecting sequence. We supplement our clients’ own outreach and inbound marketing efforts with cold calling campaigns, and we also use the phone to turn their existing leads into sales-ready opportunities.
Here are five reasons the phone remains an invaluable component of any lead generation or appointment-setting strategy:
1. Qualifying prospects
Email marketing and LinkedIn outreach might generate leads, but it’s nearly impossible to determine how strong these leads are without an actual conversation.
The phone will help you determine which prospects are seriously interested in your company and which ones are simply mildly curious. Only through live conversation can you hear the tone of their voice, their level of engagement with you, and how they ask their questions, which lets you know who is ready to buy now and who needs to be nurtured.
There’s a lot you can learn about a prospect’s needs in just a five-minute phone call that might never be revealed in an email exchange.
2. Strengthening databases
Imagine this scenario: You’ve been emailing a prospect for months with no response, never realizing that they no longer work for the department you’re trying to reach. Or maybe they’ve left the company altogether.
One phone call will rectify this dilemma immediately. Even if you don’t reach the decision maker at first, a quick conversation with a gatekeeper can help you confirm the right contact information, as well as useful details such as the best time to call back.
With the phone, you know for certain if a connection has been made—and, most importantly, if that connection is the right one.
3. Building trust
Have you ever posted something on social media or fired off an email, then immediately regretted it because you realize it didn’t accurately convey your intended message? It’s not easy to convey emotion in an email (no matter how many emojis you add), and even the best writers can have their words misconstrued.
The phone largely eliminates such misunderstandings. Questions can be asked and answered on the spot, personal touches can be added based on the flow of the conversation, and specific needs can be addressed. Prospects also know they’re hearing from a fellow human being, not a bot.
With the right caller, it only takes a few seconds to establish a comfort level and build a rapport with the person on the other end of the line. That rapport is often a necessary first step on the road to a sale. When prospects feel appreciated from the start, they’re much more likely to want to do business with you.
4. Resolving questions quickly
There’s nothing more frustrating than an email chain that continues endlessly without resolution. We’ve all been there: A question is asked in an email. The question is misunderstood by the respondent, so in providing an answer, an entirely new question emerges.
Hours or even days have passed since the initial contact, and the original emailer is no closer to getting an answer than when the exchange began. If anything, they’re even more confused.
It’s enough to make your head spin. It’s also completely unnecessary. A question that extends over dozens of emails could have been resolved in minutes with a single phone call. Unfortunately, some salespeople have become so averse to the phone that they’d rather deal with the non-stop emails. Worse, by avoiding the phone, they’re bypassing the chance to have a meaningful, real-time talk with a potential buyer.
5. Keeping conversations alive
Not all “no’s” are final. Sometimes, prospects might be initially dismissive but have their interest piqued by further conversation. The phone allows for this type of back-and-forth interaction in ways that other outreach methods do not.
If a prospect says “not interested” in an email or LinkedIn message, you’re unlikely to pursue the sale further. But if a prospect says “not interested” on the phone, you have an immediate chance to ask why, or maybe gently steer the conversation in a different direction.
Yes, you’ll get the occasional abrupt hang-up, but more often you’ll get people who at least want to hear what you have to say, especially if you’re offering something of value to their business. A phone call gives you multiple opportunities to land that coveted appointment.
We recognize that the phone is not the only component to a successful lead generation and appointment-setting campaign. Email, LinkedIn, and other channels serve a definite purpose, from promoting brand awareness to delivering follow-up information to providing ongoing reminders about a company’s services (assuming the emails or messages aren’t immediately deleted).
But we believe the phone is still the most effective means of engaging with prospects. For 20 years, VSA has recognized that there’s no substitute for the type of real-time, human-to-human contact that the phone provides.
We would love to share our experience and expertise with you. Just give us a call—we’re always happy to hop on the phone.