Could you be using the telephone more?

According to the National Sales Executive Association, 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact and only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts. That’s an awful lot of business left on the table for the lack of follow up!

One of my clients recently spoke to me about their dislike of calling clients and we talked about what I consider to be the blight of the telephone … people’s inability to make a call at all or spending too much time thinking about it first.

For many, including me, it’s our least favourite tool for communication … but it is necessary and one that can bring great benefits to your business (and your social life).

On further analysis we agreed that we had different but perfectly reasonable reasons for disliking it. My client is of a generation where the phone wasn’t something you used to talk to someone (unless they were old) as they used to text their friends. So, they hadn’t fought their siblings for the right to answer the house phone in the way I had.

As I am of a generation that had to rely on the phone to stay in touch with my friends, lack of practice has never been my issue. However, my father considered all calls on the house phone to be interruptions. He would often shout as the phone rang just as we sat down to eat “Good God, don’t they know we’re about to have dinner!”

So, my issue has always been that I assume the person at the other end is going to be busy and I’ll be an interruption!

The fact that we know how the problem was created doesn’t mean that is the end. The next step is to address it.

For example, if it’s lack of practice then a programme of consistently ringing people will help. You could decide that you will call every prospect to let them know you are about to send them your proposal, and agree when you should call to discuss their thoughts.

Or if it’s a fear of interrupting the other person then always try to book the next call before you finish your current call. That way you know when you ring you will be expected. And when you get through check that it’s convenient … simply ask “Is now still convenient for you?” If the answer is no … book another time!

Give it a try and let me know how you get on. And if your lack of follow up is down to something else then let me know. Coming up with ideas to overcome a problem is something I love to do 😊