Talk to your prospects. Yes, on the phone.

You’d be surprised how many people don’t like to talk on the phone, especially those trying to look for new business. It would be nice if new customers magically submitted orders all day long, but that’s a sales pipe dream. Prospects won’t turn into leads if you don’t get them on a call.

Still, it’s true that phone calls don’t carry the same priority that they used to. Worried about scammers? Check caller ID. Not in the mood for a chat? Send ’em to voicemail. There are plenty of digital gatekeepers that allow you to decide when (and if) you want to respond.

The same goes for your prospects, and whether they’re willing to talk to you. Just remember that however you reach those decision-makers, a phone call is still required if you’re hoping to close. It’s simply not the first step. A great way to create brand awareness with potential leads is through email. With this you’ll establish who you are, what you want to talk about, and whether you’re even corresponding with the right person.

Once you’ve asked for that call, make sure to send a calendar invite. Why? It’s easy to forget about the other person when all you’ve done is exchange a couple messages. That phone call will show you both how serious you are about doing business together. No one closes a deal through email.

You need to hear the person you’re talking with, and get a sense that they really understand who you are and what you do—and, just as importantly, that you understand them and their needs. If you aren’t a fit, better to qualify them on the phone than end up putting in far too much time and energy. Sure, you may be relying more on prospecting automation than cold-calling to get to that point, but it’s still the best way to develop new business.

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