What is the single most powerful weapon in the marketing arsenal? A killer website? An eye-catching brand? First-rate marketing intelligence?
I’d argue that it’s the phone.
All those other things are important too of course, but the phone has something that the others don’t: it’s relational. It’s an opportunity to speak directly to a real person, to listen to them and their needs, to tailor your responses to their questions. Everything else is about information. The phone call is where it gets personal. As I’ve described elsewhere, the best sales agents aren’t just out to seal the deal. They’re out to build relationships.
Perhaps that sounds old-fashioned, but it works. People do business with people they know and trust. What better way is there to get to know someone than to talk to them? They’ll understand you better as a company and be more inclined to trust you with their project. And you’ll know them better, and be able to take a genuine interest in their success.
So pick up the phone.
Of course, who you phone matters, and where you focus your energies. That’s why you need to have done your sales leads homework. Use the planning system to identify the projects you’d most like to work on, and then get in touch. Choose the A* leads to call first, the jobs you want most. Call and introduce yourself. Say why you’re specifically interested in that job, why you think your firm would be a good fit. Make sure that the person you’re speaking to knows how to find out more, and how to get hold of you.
How you sound is as important as what you say – remember that it’s all about relationship building, not just giving them information. You want to come across as warm, interested, the sort of person they want to work with. Those first few seconds are critical. The potential client will be getting a first impression of who you are, and deciding on whether or not to hear you out.
Occasionally you’re going to hit the jackpot with a first call, if by chance you phone at exactly the right moment with the right offer. But that’s very rare. Usually you’re going to be calling back, so always ask when would be a good time to do that. There’s no need to second-guess when to call again. Ask, make a note, and then be sure to call back at that time.
Does this sound like a big ask? If you’re not comfortable with cold calling, hire a marketer who is! Don’t neglect the most powerful tool at your disposal, and the opportunity to build your business and win the work you want. We’re here for you: at CMS we’re all seasoned professionals on the phone, and we can make a difference to your business from just one day a month.