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To call or email? Which is best for sales?

written byBrenda Abdilla, CPCon 04/04/2012

CEOS and company owners often complain to me that they just cannot get their sales reps to pick up the phone and call their customer rather than relying so heavily on email. Members of the sales team tell me their bosses are out of touch and that prospects prefer email and rarely check their voicemail. So who is right?  

They are both right. Using the phone is becoming a lost art for closing business. But it is not gone yet and it is a critical part of doing business after the deal is closed, so getting better at it is essential. Those who rely completely on email are missing out on the chance to listen to their clients. If you think about it, email is the equivalent of talking and talking and talking without listening. Speaking to someone on the phone is obviously a more real-time two-way exchange.

Of course, relying on the phone exclusively or even most of the time makes you a dinosaur in the world of selling. In addition to keeping in touch via phone, you need to be a skilled, thoughtful, tactical writer of persuasive emails if you want to get and keep more business. And you must be flexible; using the phone repeatedly with those prospects who prefer email will only irritate them.  

Here is a way to gauge whether you should rely more on phone calls or emails: if the subject matter is hard to explain, requires more than two paragraphs of content or is regarding a problem, a misunderstanding or any other touchy subject, by all means pick up the phone. Then, follow up immediately with an email so the recipient can respond to you in their preferential way. And think about the future of your business – many of you are already combining the power of a voice-to-voice connection with a visual aide by using technology such as WebEx, GoTo Meeting, Free Conference Call, etc., as well as other industry-specific sales tools and software to help you sell. Even better!  

Finally, if your prospects are under the age of 22, Facebook message them, because they don’t do email. Ha, ha.