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  • Nykki Yeager

Booking the call: Four tips for getting a lead on the phone

In the current climate, many sales teams are facing a bit of downtime as lead volume slows. As a result, it’s a good time to reevaluate your tactics and toolkit, recalibrating your approach to make sure you’re treating the lead volume you do have with the utmost care. 

There are tons of slick sales tools out there, but one of the best tools for today’s times is actually over a hundred years old — the telephone. There’s a reason it’s been around so long. It works. And while it can be a higher-touch play, it’s well worth the effort, especially if you have a bit of extra time and fewer leads coming in right now.

Calls allow for efficient real-time discovery and facilitate in-depth conversations that uncover the precise needs and objections of your prospects. They also double as essential research, revealing insights that can fuel your marketing and product roadmaps in a way that surveys and other methods can’t.

Perhaps most importantly, talking on the phone is a tried-and-true way to make a personal connection — and especially right now, that’s something many of us are craving. In fact, while phone calls have always been a part of our sales arsenal here at Qwilr, in recent weeks, we’ve seen a dramatic lift from 5% to 13% of leads willing to have a call with us. 

That said, even in a time when people are more open to it, getting a prospect to agree to a phone call takes some skill, and the first step is actually about conquering another channel first — the inbox.

On average, professionals have more than 200 emails in their inbox with 120 new ones coming in every day. It’s no wonder they only respond to 25% of them. 

If you want to get a prospect on the phone, it’s clear you need to stand out in the inbox first. Read on for our tips on cutting through the noise and getting the call. 

Make it snappy.

First and foremost, connect with your lead as fast as possible. It’s far easier to get a call while their attention is already on you than it is to vie for it once they’ve moved on and are focused on a million other things. 

If they’ve listed a phone number: skip the rest of this article, pick up the phone, and call already! But if you aren’t lucky enough to have their digits yet, email them back as soon as humanly possible. 

Actually, take it a step further and email them as fast as robotically possible by setting up automated messaging. That way, your lead knows their email has been received and that they should expect to be hearing from you soon.

Include links to an interesting resource or two. By giving the prospect something upfront, you’re already providing value and building the relationship, which should lead to a higher likelihood of them agreeing when you later ask for the call. 

Get personal.

You may have heard it before — but it’s the golden rule that gets broken far too often, so it’s well worth repeating. Start your email with something about them, not you. And not the obvious school and work history, or whatever is easily gleaned from their LinkedIn page. 

Find something that you can genuinely express interest in. Authenticity is crucial. This is how you stand out amongst all the spammy, blanket sales emails that prospects get every day:

  • Compliment your prospect on material they’ve published
  • Congratulate them on something  like a promotion, new company, or new round of funding
  • Read their company posts and ask genuine questions about them
  • Find regional-based conversation like sports, restaurants, or other community connections 
  • Look for common hobbies like music or language-learning

To further your personal touch, you can also shape your email based on the prospect’s industry and role. 

What do prospects in that industry typically care about with respect to your product? What language do they use to describe things? What pain points and benefits are top of mind for that particular individual based on their role?

Align your talking points and wording to what will resonate most with them. For example, if you’re selling to a marketer, you might want to focus on a benefit like brand consistency. On the other hand, for a sales prospect, benefits around shortening their sales cycle will be more relevant. 

Wherever possible, give proof points that your product is excellent for their space. Share case studies and testimonials from those in the same industry or role and be sure to mention similar customers that you’re serving. For example, if you’re talking to someone in financial services, be sure to mention your other financial services customers.

Be curious.

Asking questions in your emails is a proven way to increase your response rate by 50%. Stop focusing on the sale and start being curious. By asking questions, you’re inviting your lead to share more about themselves and their expertise. 

In other words, by asking questions instead of just making statements about your product, you open up a real conversation.  Stop focusing on the sale and start being curious, and you’ll soon find that far more leads will be open to connecting further on the phone. 

Things to ask about:

  • Their hobbies
  • What their company does
  • Their published material
  • How they got into their role

Again, authenticity is key. Ask about things that you find genuinely interesting. Your leads are smart enough to spot feigned interest, and really, one of the best parts of sales is getting to connect with so many different people — why not use each conversation as an opportunity to truly connect and learn something new?

Keep it short.

Most of us hate long emails, especially when they’re coming from someone we haven’t even met yet. Less is truly more. Much less, in fact — Hubspot advises that the best emails are just 50 to 125 words in length. Keeping things brief helps your email look less overwhelming and saves it from being immediately deleted. 

As a bonus, a short email is a focused email. Fewer distractions make your content and call-to-action much more clear. Speaking of, end your email with a direct and easy way to schedule the call. Make it simple by including a link to your calendar so they can schedule right on the spot.

Bonus: Connecting on the call

Getting a lead on a call is hard to do — so make sure you make the most of the opportunity. All the tips we shared for getting through with email apply here, too. In addition:

  • Find out what led them to your product: Just as we talked about being curious in the email, curiosity has the same effect of inviting the lead to open up and converse. It also doubles as valuable research and lead qualification for you.
  • Offer your support: Remember that your lead is likely tackling a pain point, and you have some great expertise and knowledge that can help.
  • Ask if they have time for a short demo: Moving the call from a general conversation to showcasing the product is an all-important pivot.
  • Take notes: You may have a brilliant memory, but be sure to write things down throughout the call so you have a clear record to go back to or share with another team member.
  • After the call, be sure to email again: It’s so easy for people to be distracted by the next thing on their list. Reinforce the benefits they found interesting and the problems your product can solve in written form, before the end of the day.

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