Get on the phone.
By: Len Kendall, Founder & CEO of CentUp
As an entrepreneur, getting on the phone isn’t my favorite activity.
1) It’s a painfully un-scaleable form of communication.
2) It doesn’t give you much time to think through your answers to a question.
3) Now more than ever, people are reluctant to accept a phone call conversation.
But based on my observations from the last 12 months (and 7 years in marketing before that), getting on the phone is an exponentially more effective sales channel than email. There are a few elements that factor into why this is the case:
Saying no to an email is really easy. An email is just an inanimate object that happens to have been created by a human (hopefully). When an email pitch is deleted there’s no awkwardness between both parties. There’s no obligation for the rejector to have to explain why they’re saying no. The relationship just ceases to exist until another follow-up email shows up. Humans show far more empathy for other humans. When your voice is on the end of the line, you may not get a yes, but you’re definitely going to at least get more feedback on why what you’re selling isn’t right for the prospect.
Sometimes it’s VERY hard to communicate subtleties when you’re sharing information via a written message. (See what I just did there?) When you talk to someone over the phone/skype you’re able to put emphasis on the most important parts of your pitch and course correct when someone you’re speaking to misunderstands something. If someone misreads something in an email, they probably will just delete it and move on. Without being able to rapidly add context to your discussion, you’re decreasing the odds that someone will consider you as a partner or vendor.
If you’re pitching ME with a long email and I actually want to respond to you (whether it’s a yes or a no), the longer your email is, the longer my response is probably going to have to be too. I’m a busy guy, you’re busy too. Neither of us has time to sit around cranking out thousand-word emails. Even though a phone call can feel inefficient, when it comes to back and forth discussion with someone you don’t know well, it’s much faster. For people in business roles, email already takes up such a large portion of the day. By encouraging a prospective partner/customer to give you a response via voice, you’re increasing the odds that they actually put forth the effort in giving you one.
As I said, I hate getting on the phone with people, but I force myself to do it. Personally I’ve evolved my own pitching style over time and while my business isn’t like yours, I highly recommend you reexamine your own (pardon the business jargon) sales funnel to understand what leads to higher conversion among your higher priority prospects.
In the past I used to try and spell out as much as possible in an email to help address any and all questions a person might have. Now I keep them short and try to jump on a call much sooner in the relationship cycle. Much like in web design, when it comes to email more is not better. The greater amount of messaging you put in an email, the greater the number of reasons you give someone to say no. Share a few strong points that cater to the person you’re reaching out to, and leave the rest of the discussion for when you’re talking to them the old school way.