Is the phone call a dying sales tool?

business owner sales salestraining Jul 10, 2021

Chatting. Its not like it used to be in ye olden days. The 18+ year olds coming into the workplace now aren’t used to talking on the phone. I know, I know, they’re ALWAYS on their phones. You can’t get them OFF their phones. But are they talking? Or are they texting, chatting, taking selfies on social media? Facetiming? It’s not the same as a phone call. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m just interested in the idea that the new generation of sales teams coming into our workforce aren’t developing telephone skills.
Does it matter?

If these young whippersnappers with bionic thumbs need to sell over the phone with those of, ahem, an older demographic, then yes it does matter.
It always comes back to the potential buyer. How do they like to communicate? Will they read your email/DM?

A phone call is proven to be an effective way to create a rapport, develop leads and ultimately close a sale. The ‘hit rate’ by phone is higher than by email. No rapport was ever constructed by a corporate email, surely.

It’s happy days for sales trainers at No Fluff, of course, as the skills can be taught, practiced and refreshed. But I had never considered it was a totally new skill to chat on the phone before I trained someone in some basic etiquette and skills such as active listening, tone of voice, mirroring and verbal nods and the like. She had never needed any of that in her school and personal life before.

I realise that they chat over facetime, but that’s not quite the same, as you can pick up more cues when face to face with someone even if its via a screen. In fact, video calling is a great idea if you can get through to your prospect and neither of you are in your PJs. Post-pandemic this is much more common and enables us to pick up a few body language cues too.

And it's not just the yoof that shy away from phone calls. I have trained hundreds of non-salesy people on how to 'pick up the phone' and make some calls. Those that did it got more sales. They were all targeting 25+ aged prospects. One business owner that said she 'hated' making sales calls just blooming 'did' it on a challenge I gave her and in half an hour closed 3 leads she thought were lost. She followed up by phone, too, those that she hadn't got through to, and from 2 x 1/2 hour sessions she had sold 9 places on her course. NINE. In one hour's work.


It wouldn’t matter if these youngsters needed to contact those of their own generation. Emailing and phone calls may well simply become redundant as prospects and clients are reached via SnapChat, Whatsapp or whatever becomes the new platform of the moment. That is assuming you can get hold of their details of course.

As I am in my 40s, I still love a good phone chat. I text, message and facetime too, but I love chatting on the phone and use it for selling all the time. For business I would feel a little creepy if I snapchatted a client I didn’t know very well, or facetimed them. Maybe I’m being a bit stuffy and that’s an acceptable form of communication between businesses.

But anyone that wants to work with me as a supplier - if they follow up an email with a call, just a quick one, even a simple voicemail, I am MUCH more likely to actually open that email, even if it's a cold outreach.

And someone that has sent me a proposal, if they follow me (I'm busy - I need following up), if they call me to follow it up, I'm simply going to go check that email before their competitors'. 

Let's remember that phone calls, human to human communication, is still a hugely valuable sales tool whether you like it or not.

What are your thoughts?

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