Sales people, grab your phone and become the employee of the month
Antonio Meucci was the inventor (1854) of the teletrophone (now called telephone), while Alexander Graham Bell is by most of us known as the inventor just due to the fact he was the person who got a patent on the first practical phone. The original purpose of a phone is to make phone calls.
Nowadays we are using ‘smartphones’ and the big question mark is, what does it actually do? Yes, it is still possible to make a phone call as that’s the original purpose. Interesting enough, and I am a screen time hitter as well, the smartphone is more and more used to read news, check facts and figures, being on social media as well taking control of a bank account. And yes, you can also play games on a smartphone.
A smartphone is great, do not get it wrong, but based on numerous talks with people who are considered to be part of Generation Y and Z as well different discussions on LinkedIn I realized that (consider here: sales) people expect they can generate and win new business by only reaching out on social media, adding ‘likes’ here and there, sometimes sending a very short message (even without saying ‘Dear John’) and not having a single moment of personal contact (consider here: phone calls, videoconferencing and meetings, although the last one is hard to do during the current Pandemic).
Social media, like LinkedIn, is extraordinary valuable and very easily accessible by using a smartphone. In history it was possible to look up company names and their respective contact details by using a phone book or Yellow Pages. Then it was the challenge to pass the receptionist during the first phone call as the person behind the desk was the first hurdle to get in contact with the desired person. If you were lucky, you got the right person straight away, but if you were unlucky then you were going to be the ‘fox hunter’ and searching for the right contact person, which could take hours, days, weeks or sometimes even months.
Internet and social media are providing (sales) people so much information, free of charge. It is even provided by the potential customer’s communication or marketing teams. It allows the (sales) people to qualify the potential customer into a great detail. Getting prepared for the first in real time contact is not that difficult, especially when you also look for some background information or news items about the potential customer. The preparation is key to get the first entry or introduction done properly. Decision makers and influencers are digitally approachable and their information is mostly made available by themselves.
But, once all the preparation is done, it is the moment to get a personal contact moment. That’s where it is all about, because you want to have a chat with your potential customer and especially listen to their input and needs. If you expect you can do an in depth talk via social media, then please do not expect to become the ‘Sales’ employee of the month.
Pick-up the phone, do not feel afraid, get people’s attention and try to gain some momentum. And, once you are doing a call, please sit with a straight back in your chair, with your feet flat on the ground and having your head up. Do not sit like ‘a crashed pillow in the corner’ as the person on the other side of the call will notice the body language as the voice will become less convincingly.
A talk over the phone is very effective as the shared information is being exchanged very quickly and both persons should endeavor to get the most out of it. People want to learn and be successful. Some social talk might even be favorable.
So, my recommendation is: Grab the phone, prepare your call by using your smartphone, gain all information you need, then hit the phone number of your contact and have a mutual chat. Do not forget to take notes during the call and suggest a follow up call. Once your call is done it is always good to share a summary by email with your (potential) customer and colleagues.
In case you have any questions about this subject, then do not hesitate to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With best regards,