Don’t Kick the Phone to the Curb

This is a guest post by Amanda Green.

It’s a new day for marketing, and those at the cutting edge seem most eager of anyone to abandon the older methods of soliciting customers and dive headfirst into the newest options.

While it is true that jobs in telemarketing are down due to the sluggish economy, that is likely to be more because of overall advertising cutbacks than of decreased effectiveness.  Why is that the case?  Because nearly everyone has a telephone, but only 51% of American homes have a computer.

So every company that has chosen to rely on social media, pop-up ads, banner ads, direct email solicitation, or promotion of their website via other ad media is missing out on a huge percentage of the population.

How are these firms making such a critical error?  It’s tough to speculate on why, but they may be taking a distorted view of social media use because of the speed with which Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the like are adding new users.

For the savvy firm, sticking with the older, reliable methods can provide rewards in terms of building a client base.  Here are some ways it can help to continue working with clientele over the phone.

No More Mystery Calling

Good client searches involve making the most of every bit of information you can find.  Sometimes that can be a phone number from old sales records or even one found on somebody’s desk calendar.

Who does that number belong to?  Could it be your next Customer of the Year?  If you want to maximize the potential of every floating bit of info you have, gather up numbers like that and use the best reverse phone lookup service you can find. A lookup service can identify the businesses and consumer base with an associated phone number – which can allow you to find a target audience easily.

A good service will do more than just give responses on names.  It will provide you latitude and longitude, letting you sync your customer listing with other geospatial tools.  It will also look up toll-free numbers and distinguish between residential and business listings.

Why not just call the number?  Because the level of professionalism is marginal when all you can tell the answering party is essentially “Uh, we found this phone number and wondered if we could sell you something.”  Look the number up, know who or what you’re dealing with, assess the location, and go from there.

A Quicker Foot in the Door

Click.  Even the politest person in the world can dispose of an email solicitation with a step that simple.  One quick swipe across the “delete” button and your carefully worded electronic missive is right in the trash can with all the mail-order pharmacy ads and the Nigerian ripoff spam.

Most targeted phone calls will perform better.  If you are calling someone with a reasonable likelihood for interest in your product, you will at least get your first sentence out before they begin to resist, and likely you’ll get further than that.  Email is quick to send and can provide mountains of information, but it’s very easy for customers to ignore, too.

A Two-Way Conversation

And that excellent, detailed email is unable to answer questions, clarify things, or express personality.  Getting on the phone with a knowledgeable, friendly sales associate makes a potential customer not only feel warm and fuzzy (and valued), it also helps you head off their doubts before they have time to take root and grow into full-blown “no, thank you”.

Face-to-face is always best, but when that’s impossible, there’s no question that the telephone is a close second.  Don’t abandon what many generations of companies found successful just because there’s a new kid in town.

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