One of the things that has befuddled me about prospecting is why people cling to certain practices, when all objective evidence is against it.
Sending mail prior to a call with the belief that this will make people more receptive to your call is one of these. Time after time, organization after organization, I hear example after example of how companies made an enormous contribution to cutting the post office deficit, got no results in terms of increased call response, yet keep right on doing it.
Sending mail prior to a call is not only a total waste of time and money, but it will actually serve to decrease the prospecting results you could get without it.
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How is that Scott? Well before I tell you let me offer a clarification.
Mail has to be judged like any other marketing tool. Lots of companies use mail to generate leads and those efforts must stand on their own. Phone calls and inquiries received. Orders made. All good.
But mailing a letter or package with the idea that someone will be more inclined to respond positively to your follow-up call never happens.
This is what universally everyone tells me.
They dial, dial, dial and after great effort a decision maker picks up the phone. The typical bonehead script used will start with something like this….” Hi, this is Charlie Chatty from Mega Corp. How are you today? I was just calling to follow-up a letter (package, Fedex, CandyGram whatever) sent to you recently. Would like to find out more about your business so that……..
Then the decision-maker interrupts. “I didn’t get the letter… ,” or “I didn’t read the letter… ,” so “Send it again and call me back. (or call back later after I read it.”
99.5% of the time this is what people tell me and it was my own experience. The call is over and you caused it to end.
You have blisters on your fingers from dialing the phone trying to get a high value decision maker to pick up the phone and then you choose to say something that torpedoes the call and blows it to hell.
You have the decision-maker on the phone. Say something right then that communicates enough value and credibility so that they will agree to meet with you.
Referencing something that we know 99% of the time will derail our call amounts to self-sabotage.
Let me say this unequivocally. I have set more than 2,000 C-Level sales appointments. Tried everything and made every error you can make numerous times. Have worked with hundreds of companies and trained thousands of salespeople. I have never ever evahhhhhhhhhh seen sending mail to warm up a call to work. Never.
My practice always was to never mention anything that may have been mailed to them. If they happen to say something like ” I think I saw something in the mail from you,” I glide past it quickly with an “Oh Great” and continue saying the words that are most likely to achieve my business purpose. Set a face to face appointment.
Talking about something they most likely never read and certainly don’t remember if they did, doesn’t help you. It derails you.
You lose in another way when you mail. Let’s say that they decision-maker that picks up the phone for you has a problem you can solve. Lets further assume that the decision-maker would love to meet with an experienced credible provider that could improve their business condition.
Have you said anything that states what you do, why you are credible and relates specific benefits your clients get from you and appreciate? No you haven’t. You have chosen instead to speak words that 99% of the time derail the call.
So even when you do speak to someone who could be a great client and is actively looking for vendors, you choose to say nothing that enables them to conclude that you are worth more of their time.
So mail can serve many great purposes in your marketing efforts, but mailing with the idea that it will lift response to your phone calls is not one of them.
Smile when you dial,
copyright 2012 scott channell