The idea that a phone call and a voice mail message is going to compel your prospective client is expecting too much from the medium. I am romantic about the phone and the speed at which it produces new opportunities, but not so much that I believe it is going to cause your phone to light up with inbound calls.
Speaking of which, we tend to overestimate what inbound marketing can do. I say this as one who considers himself a content marketer, having written a daily post since the beginning of 2010. There is no question that inbound can create opportunities, but to believe that it can create enough opportunities is to have expectations that are out of line with reality.
Email is the preferred medium for two groups of people, the folks who believe sales is a transaction that can be automated, and those who are deathly afraid of the conflict they feel is inherent in interrupting people who are not expecting their call. It sometimes works, mostly because everything works some of the time. But there is no reason to believe that it is going to create enough new opportunities that you can rely on email as your primary prospecting medium.
The social selling folks will tell you today is all about social. They will tell you that you need to connect with people, share content, and try to help people by providing them with information to help them on their buying process. They’ll tell you that you need to spend more time on LinkedIn, and that you need to build your personal brand. Doing so, will not cause your phone to ring, nor will it cause people to beat a path to your door. Social channels are helpful, but you rely on it to your detriment if you expect to use it as your sole method of opportunity creation.
I love a trade show, especially if I have the attendee list in advance. You have a captive audience, you can book meetings with your prospective clients, and they are looking for an ROI on their investment. If you do good work, you’ll leave with opportunities, and new relationships you can nurture, but they won’t be equal to the opportunities you need to reach your goals.
We expect too much of the prospecting methods and the mediums we prefer. None of them alone are the answer. It’s stacking the methods and mediums that generates the best—and most consistent—results.
Lower your expectations and your reliance on the methods and mediums you like, and build a plan that incorporates as many of these as makes sense. And remember that it is not your prospect’s duty to return your call. You want their business, not the other way around.