Sometimes, as sales professionals, we need to be reminded of the truth of this proverb. Technology can change, the business environment can change, the economy can change but if the products or services we offer are still valued and needed in the marketplace then, when all around us is changing, sometimes the best pivot is a return to the basics.
Doing the basics well is what Wayne Vanwyck, author of Pure Selling, calls “The Slight Edge” for success. When the business development processes we are accustomed to falter due to forces beyond our control (such as pandemic requirements that limit in-person contact) an often-overlooked slight edge pivot is to return to the most basic of sales tools – the telephone.
Texting, emailing and social media channels are tempting communication tools and they have their place, but the telephone enables an immediacy and intimacy of conversation that electronic communication cannot replace. And in these days of physical distancing, a phone call can bridge the gap.
I am not suggesting stone-cold calls, but rather warm calls with people who will recognize your name. If you are a salesperson, you know hundreds of people. They may be current or past clients, prospects, friends, or people you met at a virtual networking event. Anyone you know, even slightly, is a potential warm call and you will be surprised how many people will appreciate the call and remember you for it.
Guidelines for reconnecting with people:
- Make phone calls not to sell or pitch something, but just to reconnect.
- Emails are not the same – make the phone calls. You want the personal contact.
- Be prepared to leave a warm voice mail message. A surprising number of people will call you back.
- Be prepared to have a genuine, no agenda, conversation with the person when you call, or when they call you back.
- Often, the person will be grateful you called and will bring up a need where you can help.
- If no needs arise, do not push. Just end the call with a simple invitation such as, “let me know when you need anything.”
- From time-to-time you may call again and refresh the relationship.
This is old-school, slight edge business development. Make the pivot back to basics, back to the phone. It works. I promise.