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When A Lead Calls YOU, a.k.a. "What To Do When Your Phone Makes A Funny Ringing Sound"

If you Google "when a business lead calls you", you'll get hundreds of pages about how you should reach out to your business leads. Nothing about what to do—or say—when potential customers call you.

Why? Aside from the fact that business-by-phone is losing ground to text and e-mail communications, inbound sales hardly ever refers to incoming calls.

Most of our sales and marketing energy is focused on catching the attention of our intended audience through search engine optimization, content creation, irresistible lead magnets, customized e-mail campaigns, and social media strategies. All of this effort is driven by the ultimate end result: Getting qualified business prospects to reach out to you, one way or another.

So when they call, it's a really, really big deal. How are you going to rise to the occasion?

Start by picking up that phone! (Yes, that's right... that thing you play Candy Crush on? It was originally designed for talking to people. I kid you not.)

sales leads prospectingIncoming Calls vs. Electronic Queries

Your website's form fields are a fantastic way to gather data and contact information from your potential customers. If they're willing to take the time to share their information, they're interested in your products or services.

If they send you an e-mail, they're still not completely committed; after all, while they may be developing an emotional connection to your brand, they're still keeping you at a safe, somewhat impersonal distance.

But when they've taken the time to make a call, that voice-to-voice interaction means something.

  • They're compelled to interact with you now, not next week
  • They're likely well into the sales cycle
  • You're in a position to answer their questions and help them better define their needs
  • You're in a position to establish yourself as the solution
  • Real-time, personalized interaction instills trust and emotional investment

If You Can't Take That Call

You aren't available to pick up your phone every minute of the business day, especially if you're a sole proprietor. Most likely, you've ditched landlines and handle all your voice communications on your smartphone.

Perhaps you do have a landline, or you've invested in a "virtual" phone number that can forward calls to each and every number you use, be it your office line, your smartphone, or the satellite phone on your yacht in the Bahamas. One way or another, if you're not able to pick up, that call should be routed to a line with a dynamic voicemail system.

I'm going to assume that if you have a yacht, you also have a receptionist or personal assistant, so... it all comes down to that Android or iPhone. So here's how to optimize your mobile tech to assure your caller that they'll have your full attention soon.

Use the best voicemail application

Your mobile platform likely comes with a standard voicemail app including the following features, but if it doesn't, you can upgrade to one that best suits your needs.

Transcription: When your incoming voicemail shows up on your screen as text—even somewhat mangled text, since transcription algorithms are as amusing as they are useful—you can get the gist of the message's content at a glance with little disruption to the task at hand.

Multiple outgoing messages: This is extremely useful, especially if you can easily switch between pre-recorded selections. Some apps allow you to choose which contacts get this or that message, allowing you to tailor one greeting for established clients (whose contact information is organized within a designated group) and another for unknown callers (which you should assume are potential leads). You might even designate a third for active clients whose projects are bubbling on the front burner. This is particularly useful if you've mooched a berth on an old college buddy's yacht for—wait for it—a weekend in the Bahamas.

Even the most rudimentary personalization reassures your contacts, even if they know that they're listening to a canned message.

Another strategy for multiple outgoing messages—and the one I recommend—lets you tell your callers when you'll be back. For example:

  • "I'm with a client right now, and I'll call you as soon as I'm free."
  • "I'll be back in the office at 9 a.m. Monday morning and I look forward to returning your call by the end of the day."
  • I'm in the Bahamas, and I'll call as soon as the Coast Guard finishes searching the yacht for contraband. To help with my bail bond, please visit my GoFundMe page at... "

You'll obviously want to construct a more appropriate script for your outgoing messages unless you enjoy prospecting for new leads on a "catch and release" basis, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you want to make sure your callers don't just move on to your competition. So polish those outgoing messages, and keep in mind that customers like knowing when they can expect to hear from you if you can assure them that you'll follow up.

When They've Invested in Real-Time Contact, They're Invested in You

At Adam Lowe Creative, we create comprehensive digital marketing strategies to help you generate high-quality business leads, and convert those prospects to revenue-generating, loyal customers. We take pride in guiding your site to SEO success and inspiring your target market to pick up their phones and reach out to make that personal connection. The rest is up to you, though we'd be more than happy to give you a demo of our own phone savvy. Give us a call!

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