The phone is an important business tool that too many people are overlooking. In the first week of 2016, I received two sales calls. I answered them both. By comparison, I received 50 LinkedIn connection requests, 30 LinkedIn InMails, and more than 500 unsolicited emails. That’s why our theme at Managed Sales Pros this month is #PickUpThePhone.
Why is everyone so afraid of picking up the phone? With a control group of one, I’m not certain that other people are experiencing the same things, but it seems to me that the less cluttered pathway to prospects right now is the phone. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try everything. You should. That’s the point. Try everything. Including the phone.
The telephone isn’t just for cold calling—it’s for connecting—in a real and personal way with the people around you, and MSPs can use the phone to build their businesses in 2016. Here are a few things you should consider and try this year.
Try: Stop using email as your default go-to for quick check-ins.
Try using the phone for those quick interactions. Instead of emailing colleagues, call them. Instead of emailing your clients, call them. You’ll be surprised how much more you can learn on the phone with someone. With a hasty email, you may lose a great opportunity to connect. I doubt an email reply helps you learn that your biggest client’s son is getting married this weekend (send a gift!) or that your co-worker’s father just passed away (can you be helpful?).
Personal connection is going the way of the dodo. The phone will help you learn more about the people you work with and for. Try it. Take baby steps—replace 10 emails a day with phone calls to start. Oh, and call your Mom.
Consider: In times of escalation, pick up the phone.
A prospect is considering other options, a client is upset about something, office gossip is running rampant. When something isn’t going smoothly, email just adds to agitation. You can’t hear tone and sincerity in an email. A conversation could win you a client, save a client relationship, or mend a fence. A call won’t make it worse, but a misunderstood email could. And a call might save that relationship or win that new business.
Consider: If everyone is zigging, you should be zagging.
Anyone who tells you that cold calling doesn’t work is trying to sell you something. I guarantee it. That’s cool. You can and should try all kinds of things to see what works for you, but you shouldn’t eliminate one entirely in favor of another. You need them all. Consider this: if every MSP in your city is emailing every prospect in your city, and you’re the one who calls them, who do you think they’ll remember?
Differentiation isn’t just about finding different ways to provide service. It’s also about finding ways to rise above the noise and be perceived as a different kind of company. The phone will help. Instead of sending an email blast, try calling all of those companies to invite them to a breakfast or a cocktail reception hosted by you. Make sure you have plenty of clients attending to share your success stories with them.
Try: Leave voicemails that reference other touch points.
Before you send that email or LinkedIn request, try calling the prospect first and introducing yourself. If you get them on the phone, fantastic! If not, try leaving a voicemail that tells them what to expect from you next.
If you want to connect with them on LinkedIn, tell them WHY you want to connect and let them know to expect that connection request or InMail. If you’re going to send an email, call them and let them know what’s in that email and why you’re sending it. Then, when you send the email or InMail, reference the date and time that you left the voicemail.
This approach will increase your open and response rates and help build your network. It doesn’t take a lot of extra time, and it may net you the opportunity to connect live on the first try and win you that critical first appointment.
Consider: If you want what you got last year, do what you did last year.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’re getting the results you want from what you’re doing now, keep doing it. I’m not advocating standing still. There is always room for improvement, so tweak it and test it and see if you can’t get even better results. However, if you’re not seeing the growth patterns you want, it’s time to consider a different approach. I suggest you #PickUpThePhone.
Carrie Simpson is the founder of Managed Sales Pros, a lead generation firm dedicated to providing new business opportunities for MSPs. Carrie teaches IT firms how to build, manage, and grow their sales pipelines. You can follow Carrie on Twitter @sales_pros and connect with her on LinkedIn.