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5 minute read

How to Decide When a Call or Email is Best in Sales

Recruiters love reaching for the phone when prospecting, right? At least, that’s the stereotype. But when first contacting a prospect the communication method chosen can make all the difference in the success of a conversation. So, to help you make the right choice, here’s our blog detailing how to decide when a call or email is best in sales…

Think About Timing 

How to decide when a call or email is best in salesResearch shows a recruitment prospecting call works best on a Wednesday or Thursday, with the most effective time being early in the day or late in the afternoon. But, this is true for emails, too. So, early in the day, when the prospect has just arrived at work, is prime time for a conversation via either email or phone. Equally, the end of the day is another good option when a prospect is finishing up for the evening. But, unlike phone calls which work best in the middle of the week, there isn’t a best day to send out an email.

Think About the Prospect’s Job Title

Before reaching for the phone, or writing an email, take a moment to do some research on the prospect. Are they high up in the company? A HR director for a multi national company is less likely to be reached with a phone call, but perhaps a highly tailored, thoughtful email would work. There’s no point making calls simply to tick KPI boxes, especially when you have no hope of actually getting in touch with the prospect. So, match up your communication method with the likelihood of getting a response and progressing the conversation with a prospect.

Think About the Purpose

This one is another good benchmark to work with. Why are you contacting this prospect? For recruiters, the answer is usually to pitch your agency’s value, introduce an excellent candidate you’re working with, or to get a job on with the prospect. To do so, it’s likely best to make an initial intro via a phone call as it provides a better opportunity for getting to know the prospect, build rapport, and identify any pain points.

In general, if you need an immediate response from a prospect, pick up the phone. If it’s a simple question that requires no clarification, send an email. When your purpose requires more from the prospect, and you need to ensure you’re selling them on your agency’s value, call them. It’s far easier to control the urgency of a request via phone, meaning a prospect is more likely to commit to your ask then and there via a call.

Think About the Outcome

When considering sending an email, look firstly at the benefits and see if they match up with your desired outcome. Email lets you keep a record of your communication with the prospect, good for fact checking and reviewing your conversations further down the line. It also means you can double check information, and ideally avoid any confusion. So, email is good for providing a prospect with a clear piece of information, but less effective for getting to know them and what they want.

Email, then, is good for follow up messages after you’ve made initial contact via the phone when prospecting. It means you can keep the conversation moving without interrupting the prospect’s day with a phone message. But, with email, you do lose out on some of the benefits of a quick phone call.

There’s the personal touch that a phone call provides. It’s likely a better tool for prospecting as you can get to know the prospect better and build from their answers too. Plus, you’re likely to enjoy better clarity with a phone call, and you can cover more in a phone conversation than in one email. So, think about what you need to achieve and at what stage in the conversation you’re at with a prospect and then pick the best method for progressing things further.

First Impressions Count

When making the best first impression, a phone call is likely second only to meeting someone in person. An email just doesn’t convey personality in the same way, no matter how well crafted. So, when it comes to making the best choice, match up your communication method with your ideal outcome. Then work back from there. And of course, once you’ve picked how you’ll get in touch with a prospect, make sure you contact them at the best time of day where they’re most likely to respond.

So, what can you take from this? Calling a prospect for an initial conversation is more likely to be successful than sending an email. It lets you get to know the prospect, and it makes it easier for you to build rapport, and sell your agency’s value. But there are good reasons to send an email, too. The trick is matching up your communication method with your desired outcome.

Why you need to become a recruiter and a marketer

About the Author: Cameron McLennan heads up the Growth team at Firefish Software, and has been at the forefront of Rec Tech since 2013. When he’s not busy winning new clients who are on a mission to recruit smarter, you can find him discussing all the latest trends in social selling, inbound marketing and recruitment on the Firefish blog, or hosting his popular crowdcast channel.

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