The Rise of the Telephone – It’s a New World and Old Tech is Stepping Up
In recent years, companies have invested heavily in web-based communication systems, from video calling platforms to interactive website interfaces to chat-based messaging tools.
All of this activity has left the telephone playing second fiddle. Some decision makers consider it antiquated. Others think it’s annoying. Many even believe the myth that the telephone—technologically speaking—is obsolete!
At least, that’s how it was until March, when COVID-19 shuttered all non-essential offices and scattered thousands (if not millions) of employees into remote work. Not only has this tumultuous shift affected almost every company’s bottom line, it’s also forced them to make numerous adjustments to their infrastructure and processes, including decentralizing their technology tools.
Amidst all of this, there’s one tool that virtually everyone both has easy access to and understands how to use. The telephone is back as the main means of communication.
This presents lead gen teams with a tremendous opportunity—as well as a challenge. Though we never stopped believing that the telephone is important, many of us have also internalized the idea that it’s not necessarily the way our prospects want to talk with us.
In a marketplace slowed by COVID-19, however, this is not necessarily true. Here are several conditions that have changed alongside the telephone’s return to prominence:
- Prospects are easier to reach without a lot of navigation.
- There is often more pressure on higher level staff to handle multiple roles.
- While purchases might still be on hold, everyone’s planning ahead so that they don’t fall behind when things return to normal.
- Companies are having strategic conversations about how to adapt to the new marketplace—and might be willing to include you in those conversations.
With all of this in mind, it’s a good time to get back to the basics by adjusting your messaging and call approach. While it’s easier in this moment to have an authentic, open-ended conversation with someone, it’s far less easy to predict exactly what challenges that person is facing, or what resources they need.
It may work best to position your company in a helping role. Instead of talking about the product or service you offer, ask prospects how you can support them as their industry recovers. What conditions or resources are they uncertain about? What are they going to need?
If you can do that, you’ll harness the full power of the telephone as the essential tool that it actually is—not the backup plan that’s resorted to in absence of a video call or in-person conversation. While some prospects might still recoil at receiving a cold call (some are just like that, after all), most will appreciate you taking the initiative to reach out and speak with them personally, in spite of the uncertainty of the world around them.
If anything, COVID-19 has demonstrated that whatever the future has in store for us, personal, human-to-human conversations will remain at the core of how we do business. In time, the telephone may be somehow relegated again to a secondary tool. The human connection that it fosters, however, will never go away.