The most common way people try to warm calls up is by mailing or emailing first. This common effort comes with common errors. This article covers the errors, how to avoid them, and how to successfully blend letters/emails with calling.
This really has to begin with unrealistic expectations for what letters or emails can do to warm calls up. The false premise–the vain hope–is as follows:
- Prospects will read and remember the email or letter
- Which will create familiarity with the sender and/or interest in the product or service
- Which makes prospects much more open to receiving a call, thereby warming calls up
All of the above is false, starting with the first bit. Many callers actually know it’s unrealistic to expect most prospects will read and remember the mailer. They try to work with that reality in their calls, which creates even more problems. Let’s take a look.
“I’m calling to follow up on my email.”
Error number one is to say you are calling because of the letter or email. e.g., “The reason for my call is to follow up on the letter I sent recently.”
Is that really the reason for your call? No, of course not, which annoys prospects immediately. Many people then flow right into mistake number two, three and four:
“Did you get it?”
“Did you have a chance to read it?”
“Do you have any questions?”
According to those statements you’re calling to check up on postal delivery and the prospect’s reading habits. You’re also apparently concerned about the prospect’s thorough understanding of the letter’s subject matter. Hmm…will there be a test?
The above questions have little to do with the real reason for your call, and so asking them undermines your credibility at the same time it increases prospects’ irritation. The questions also put you at the mercy of each prospect’s response. You’re stuck if they don’t remember it, haven’t read it, or do not have questions. This leads us to error number five:
“As mentioned in the letter…”
Many people have that phrase in their scripts to try to deal with the umpteen prospects who say they did not get it, read it, etc.. Once prospects hear the caller will cover what they missed, they become fully attentive and eager to hear more. Ha!
If the prospect is paying any attention at all at this point, he’s mostly wondering when the caller will get to the real purpose of the call so he can say no. This leads us to why we mail and then call, and how to avoid the above errors.
The Real Scoop on Why We Send Letters and Call
Sending letters and calling is a marketing strategy that’s been around for quite a long time. It’s original purpose had nothing to do with warming calls up. When we used complementary marketing tools—like mail and phone—with the same pool of prospects within the same period of time, we had better overall results.
That was not because letters warmed-up our calls, it was because using complementary marketing tools and repetition increased the odds we’d capture attention. Some people would read mail, some would not; some people would answer the phone, some would not; some prospects would do both. The total results were better than when we used just one marketing tool.
The above is still true: using complementary tools often improves results overall. What’s different now is that many people are uncomfortable with cold calling. In trying to make it more comfortable by linking calls to letters, they actually undermine their success…reinforcing their discomfort, as well.
An Analogy to Help This Sink in
Mail or email and calling are complementary marketing tools. So are radio ads and billboards. Imagine you buy billboard ads along a commute corridor. Imagine you also buy radio ads that run during commute periods. Would those ads say, “Did you see the billboard? Do you have questions about the billboard?” No, that would be odd and counterproductive.
The same holds true for mail/email and calls. Each should stand on its own. The mail/email should stand on its own. The calls should stand on their own. Think “complement,” not “coordinate.”
Gotta Mention the Mailer?
Let me be crystal clear: there is absolutely no need to address the mailer in your call. Using complementary marketing tools is effective without that. However, no matter how poorly it worked for them in the past, lots of people still feel an overwhelming urge to talk about the mailer when they call. To avoid undermining your own success, mention the mailer—just mention it. For example:
“This is David. I’m with ABC Research. We provide health law and other references to human resource professionals. Sent you some client use case studies last week. I’d like to give you an overview of our services. And then see where things may go from there. Is this a good time?”
Use a Script
If you’re accustomed to making calls about the mailer, even by accident, dropping that can feel strange. Create a script that avoids errors. Use it. Breathe. Keep going until the mental habit fades. You’ll be glad you did.
“I’d Rather Have a Root Canal Than do Cold Calling!” covers this and more. Training takes it further, teaching people how to leverage the phone in sync with their personal and business strengths.