A few weeks ago, I was sitting in an airport (no surprise!) waiting to board my flight, when an inbound inquiry from my website appeared from a person looking to see if I might be the right person for their sales kick-off meeting.

The person said I could email them back when it was convenient, but they also included their phone number on the form.  Within 5 minutes of the form coming in, I called the number and yes, the person answered! And yes, he was surprised I called in the first place, let alone that quickly!

Can I say I was surprised at the response? Yes, because in sales this needs to be the norm.  This person should regularly be hearing back from people via the phone.

First, we must respond to an incoming lead as soon as possible.  An incoming lead has depreciating value, meaning the longer we take to respond, the less value it has.  Think about what I just wrote — inbound leads have depreciating value. When a person takes the time to inquire about something, that means they want an answer and they want it NOW, not two days from now.

Second, when the person sends an email or completes an on-line form, the sooner we can uncover the needs, the sooner we will be in a position to help them. Why would I even think about responding with an email?  Doing so is risking losing any momentum and ultimately not delivering the person the benefits they desire.

The telephone is not a foreign object. It’s a great tool, and yet I encounter far too many salespeople who are afraid to use it.  I find this sad because there is zero downside to using the phone.  If I had not been successful in reaching this person, yes I would have resorted to email. But it’s the telephone I want to lead with; that is the first form of communication I want to try.

Regarding this fear some people have of the telephone, let me say when I call somebody back immediately after they’ve sent an inquiry, I can guarantee you they are appreciative.  What’s there to be afraid of when the person you’re calling is appreciative?  Even if they weren’t appreciative, I’d still be glad I made the call, because I put my best effort forward.

Sales is about helping people, and we can’t help people if we’re not willing to talk with them.  Regardless if the call you’re making is in response to an inquiry or an attempt to engage a prospect, we have to view the phone as the first communication tool we use.

Hiding behind email or allowing yourself to believe the person doesn’t want to talk with you is simply telling yourself that you are in the wrong job.  Sales is built around communication, and short of being able to meet with somebody face-to-face, the telephone is your best option.

Make it your objective to think first about calling the person rather than to think first about emailing them.   One 5-minute telephone conversation is going to give you far more insight into the customer than several weeks worth of email exchanges.

You’re wondering if I closed the sale with the person I called back immediately?  Yes! All it took was one more phone call and one email.  I can only wonder how many more emails it would have taken if I had not called first.  The sale doesn’t start until the conversation begins.


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High Profit ProspectingCopyright 2018, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results


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