Do you often email your customers or prospects in order to set up a time to have a phone conversation? Have you sat down and calculated the efficiency of this approach?
I find myself increasingly frustrated with the number of people who instead of picking up the phone, will send an email to schedule a time for something that would be a very quick conversation. This commonly results in several back and forth email messages with alternate times and then ultimately one party may cease to respond. Days if not entire weeks may pass and to no avail. All of this could have been avoided by simply picking up the phone and having a 1-2 minute phone conversation or the message could be relayed in the form of a text message.
Why Email is Ineffective?
A study conducted by the Radicati Group in 2015, illustrated that the average business user sends and receives an average of 122 emails per day, a number that is expected to increase to 126 messages by the end of 2019. As no surprise, the average email only has a 20% open rate and a shockingly low response rate of only 6%. This means that for every 100 emails you send, only 20% (20 emails) are being opened and of those 20 emails, only 6% (1 email) are being replied to. That works out to 1 email reply for every 100 emails sent, so essentially a response rate of 1.2%.
Alternatives: Phone Call or Text Message?
The most preferred business activities conducted by text messaging according to the Harris Poll are:
- Checking order status (38%)
- Scheduling or changing appointments (32%)
- Make or confirm reservations (31%)
It must be noted that all of the above imply that there is an existing or soon to be existing business relationship.
In the sales process, texting can lead to conversion gains in excess of 100% however texting a prospect prior to establishing contact with them can not only adversely effect contact and conversion rates, it may also be illegal depending on the state or province you reside in.
That being said, how do you know when the most effective means of communication is to call, text or send an email?
When to Send a Text Message:
- You have an existing relationship with your client
- Your client has directly provided you with their cell phone number
- Your message is brief, uncomplicated and only requires 1 or 2 basic single-sentence responses (i.e. setting up, changing or confirming a meeting time, following up on an order, etc)
When to Make a Phone Call:
- You do not have an existing relationship with a prospect
- The prospect or client did not give you their cell phone number directly. If you received their cell phone number from a 3rd party, they likely have no idea who you are so call them and speak with them first. If you simply do not have their cell phone number, call their office number.
- The subject matter you would like to discuss is more involved than and exchange of 1 or 2 sentences
When to Send an Email:
- You have had a conversation on the phone or via text message and the recipient has requested additional information and/or details in the form of an email. Although the response rate for email is still low, if the prospect or client has requested it and knows to look out for your email, your response rate will increase. Sending unsolicited email is illegal in Canada and can result in fines of up to $1M for individuals and up to $10M for corporations.
In this day and age, it is all too easy to hide behind a computer screen. As a result we, are all constantly bombarding each other with online messages and emails and in my opinion, they have simply lost their effectiveness as a communication tool.
So let the take home message be, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and make a call. Since most people don’t do that anymore period, that act alone will make you stand out among your competition. We are all human beings and require some sort of true human interaction and relationships whether they are personal or business in nature, require that interaction in order to grow and flourish.
Happy sales my friends and the next time you’re tempted to hide behind your computer screen and send an email, remember that there is only a 1% chance it will even be replied to, so suck it up Princess and pick up that phone!