In a recent conversation on marketing approaches, friend and colleague Elizabeth Fairleigh, thE Connection, shared an interesting comment:
“I was thinking about outbound telephone calls and why they are relevant today. It’s because there’s something about a human being’s voice that is powerful and personal—a welcomed experience in today’s hyper-digital market.”
Elizabeth mentioned the success of Atlantan Hope Flammer’s company, VoiceQuilt, that lets folks record voice messages for storage on a memory card inside a keepsake box. When a person who receives the box as a gift opens the lid, a built-in audio player plays back the friend’s or family member’s voice sharing a story, toast or memory.
At the very center of all our personal relationships is this power our voices have to connect, touch, share, relate and even heal.
Elizabeth’s comment got me to thinking about the role a human voice plays in prospect development, what this contact strategy shares with digitally-based media, and how it’s different from them.
PointClear’s success doing lead generation, lead qualification and lead nurturing for our clients is grounded in proactively reaching out and connecting with prospects via a one-on-one telephone conversation. At the same time, we wholeheartedly apply a variety of media both in client programs and in our own marketing and sales initiatives.
These include custom content, nurturing emails, landing pages, SEO, webinars and podcasts. All of these approaches share with personal calls a number of characteristics like educating, nurturing, establishing thought leadership, building credibility and proving value.
But a live one-on-one conversation also differs from online approaches. Following are some initial thoughts on characteristics that differentiate conversations from digital media in lead qualification and lead nurturing.
1. Personal connection
With a telephone conversation, a prospect has a live connection with a person and voice representing the solution provider. This presents the solution provider with an early opportunity to build a business relationship, become a trusted advisor and influence the outcome of the prospect’s buying path.
A live encounter leads to each party gaining better understanding of the other’s position more quickly. Prospects get a sense for how knowledgeable and helpful the provider can be in addressing their challenges. Providers get a sense for a potential fit and the extent to which the prospect can become a valuable client.
Serving, in this context, is different from providing your company’s services or solution. It refers to awareness on the part of providers that they are engaging and talking with prospects to support them in buying journeys—even if it doesn’t mean a sale at the present time.
4. Immediate back-and-forth dialog
A live call leads to an atmosphere of spontaneous and spirited dialog. This interplay—when characterized by openness, honesty and transparency—creates and builds long-term business relationships. It also lays the foundation for trust and credibility in discussing challenges, business needs and potential solutions.
5. Live Q&A
The exchange of questions and answers by voice accelerates the sales cycle by addressing concerns and objections in real time.
6. Accurate and timely assessment
Who, what, why, when, where and how? A conversation supports an accurate and timely assessment around all the qualifying criteria required to meet the definition of a lead.
7. Next steps
Based on factors like the presence of a compelling event and the sense of urgency, the prospect and the professional can discuss and settle on the next best action steps each will take after the call.
8. Memorable experience
Connecting by voice gives prospects a concrete and memorable experience with the provider. Ideally a call leaves the prospect thinking things like, “They really know their stuff. They understand what’s going on with us, and we need to include them in our deliberations.”
The human voice, its personal nature, and its ability to engage, educate and motivate—all combine to make this a very powerful approach for converting prospects in lead qualification and lead nurturing initiatives.
Successful marketers know when it’s time to emerge from behind the digital wall and connect with their voices. So when’s your next CALL to action?
By Dan McDade