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Ever since Alexander Graham Bell uttered the first words on the first phone over 140 years ago, “Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you,” the telephone has been the work horse of virtual selling.


Early in the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times ran an article about how people were suddenly rediscovering the “humble phone.” In another article the Guardian announce the “return of the phone,” going on to describe how people were rediscovering that “a call can offer real closeness.”

On LinkedIn there was an endless stream of social media posts extolling salespeople to “make the telephone your new best friend.” Even the phone-is-dead evangelists seemed to have a change of heart and were encouraging salespeople to “phone a customer.”

Aversion to the Phone

What has been most disappointing about these admonitions to “rediscover the humble telephone,” is that it illustrated just how far we had fallen as a profession. Rather than picking up the phone and talking to people, sales professionals everywhere – even in inside sales reps – had replaced this beautiful, synchronous sales communication tool with asynchronous communication channels.

The sales profession’s aversion to talking with people had become so dire that over the past five years, at least half of Sales Gravy’s training and consulting engagements have been focused on one thing: Teaching and compelling salespeople to pick up the damn phone.

The problem with getting salespeople to use the phone is so prevalent that powerful and sophisticated, omni-channel sales engagement engines, including Vanilla Soft, HubSpot Sales Pro, Outreach and Sales Loft, have become little more than expensive ways for salespeople to send thousands of automated emails cloaked in the guise of sales activity.

The Workhorse of Virtual Selling

Ever since Alexander Graham Bell uttered the first words on the first phone over 140 years ago, “Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you,” the telephone has been the work horse of virtual selling. The telephone has always been and will continue to be the most powerful virtual sales tool in your sales kit.

I’ll bet my next book royalty check that there is one attached to you right now. People sleep with their phones, eat with their phones, and are more likely to lose their car keys and wallet than their phone. Though it is probably used more for texting, posting selfies and watching cat videos, if you dial a number, in an instant, you can be in a sales conversation.

Your Most Powerful Virtual Selling Tool

So, I’m going to say this one more time slowly for the folks in the back of the room who are still not tracking. There is no other tool in sales that will connect you to people faster, deliver better results, fill your pipe more effectively, and help you cover more ground in less time than the humble phone.

Salespeople who ignore the phone, sub-optimize their productivity and cheat themselves out of cold hard cash. It is the most versatile virtual selling tool. Period.

About the author

Jeb Blount

Jeb Blount

Jeb Blount is one of the most sought-after and transformative speakers in the world…

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