How Proactive Phone Calls Can Boost Sales for Your Small Business

Are you still using the phone to generate sales in today’s digital retail environment? If not, this is something that you should get back to immediately as you may be missing out on customers. In his latest book, Pick Up The Phone and Sell, Alex Goldfayn, keynote sales speaker, CEO of The Revenue Growth Consultancy, and WSJ best-selling author explains how powerful and profitable a phone call can be.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Welcome back to the show, Alex.

Alex Goldfayn:
Good to see you, Jim, you do that so well. Would you come along with me kind of throughout my days and weeks and do that cool intro. That’s great.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I’ll be happy to. I’ll be happy to do it. It’ll break up the monotony here. So again, thanks so much for joining us. Last time that you were on, which was too long ago, we’ve got so many great responses and comments, and I got some personal text messages from business owners and such that said, “Hey, that that guy was spot on.” You tell it like it is, which is what we love here at the show. So congrats on the new book. I think it is extremely timely in the sense that we can’t go out and communicate the way that we’d like to in many cases, because of this stupid COVID-19, got a grip on us. And so we’re trying to do the best we can. So tell us about the techniques mentioned in your latest book, Pick Up the Phone and Sell.

Alex Goldfayn:
Well, it’s exactly as it sounds. In fact, we think it’s the only, or perhaps less than a handful of books in the last decade that looks at selling with the phone. In fact, when I was researching for the book and I only researched a little bit because most of it is from working with salespeople, that’s what goes into the book and I Googled phone selling. The top of websites were sites that sold cell phones, phone selling. So the techniques in the book are about the single most effective selling tool, which is the phone, but it also happens to be the single most avoided tool. So the most effective selling tool is the least used.

Alex Goldfayn:
And the reason it’s the least used is because of fear. We don’t want to be rejected into our ears. It’s an intimate rejection, so we avoid it. We have multiple generations of salespeople now, Jim, who actually don’t know how to use the phone. We didn’t grow up with it.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I agree with that.

Alex Goldfayn:
You and I grew up, we called grandma and grandpa on the phone. We wanted to talk to our friends, you could only pick up the phone and call somebody and talk to them. My kids now are 12 years old, and this probably goes all the way up to like mid to late thirties, maybe 40-year old salespeople. They didn’t grow up with the phone. They grew up with internet and email and texting. My kids are good at Facetiming, but they don’t know how to talk on the phone. I call them on the phone and they’re like, dad, what are you doing?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right, exactly. How about the times when you will text back and forth with your kid, Mike, I’ve got two kids in college and two adult kids that are out of college and you’ll text with them and you go, you know what, I want to make a longer point on this and call them. And they don’t answer the phone.

Alex Goldfayn:
That’s right, and you know they’re holding the damn thing in their hand.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
They’ll text me back and say, “What do you want?” “I want to talk to you, that’s what I want to do.” It’s incredible.

Alex Goldfayn:
Yeah. Here’s the intensity of the avoidance that salespeople deal with, with the phone. I was talking with a younger sales woman, I was doing interviews with staff for a client, which is one of the parts of my projects. And so younger sales woman, and she says, “I hate the phone.” I said, “Well, what do you do?” She goes, “Well, I have to use it. They make me.” And so she’s like, “I just leave voicemails. I call when they’re least likely to pick up and I leave messages.” And I said, “That’s interesting.” And this is being recorded for her managers to listen to, right. And she knows this. And she says to me, “I leave voicemails.” And I said, “Well, what do you say? Give me an idea.” And she said, “I tell them to email me. On the voicemail, I tell them to email me.” So she leaves her email address and says, get back to me by email. That’s how much salespeople don’t like using the phone.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. Now, is it fair to say that they may walk away with this feeling of not wanting it or not liking to use the phone because they feel as though their prospect doesn’t want to use the phone either?

Alex Goldfayn:
Totally.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Is there some truth to that? And then what do you say about that?

Alex Goldfayn:
Yeah. Well, I mean, you’re exactly right. We automatically go to cold calling when we think about making calls. And one of my main arguments in this book is, let’s call people who we know. All of us know hundreds of people, customers and prospects, who can buy from us, hundreds of people. Let’s call them and they’ll be happy to hear from you. They know you, they know your name, they know your company, they know what you do. You’ve got some history together.

Alex Goldfayn:
And we think the other reason, a big reason we avoid the phone, Jim, is people think that our customers and prospects phones are ringing off the hook. I don’t want to be another annoying phone call. First of all, nobody’s calling. We think their phones are ringing off … Everybody hates the phone, it’s not just you. Everybody hates the phone. So when we call, we’re literally going to be the only ones calling that person that day, probably that week, probably that month. And Jim, I’m not kidding you, quite probably that entire year. You’re going to be the only call. Think about … We’re all sitting by the phone. Everybody can reach their phone. Even where you’re sitting in the studio, you can probably reach your phone right now.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
There it is.

Alex Goldfayn:
Yeah. So everybody’s sitting by the phone. Think back, for everybody watching right now, if you’re business owners, if you run your operation, if you’re sales person, if your manager, think back. Can you remember the last time your phone rang, somebody called you, who you know, somebody you know, who you buy from, somebody selling something, who you have a relationship with when nothing was wrong. There’s the key words. Call when nothing is wrong.

Alex Goldfayn:
Can you remember the last time, Jim, somebody called you and said, “Hey man, it’s Alex, how you doing? I was thinking about you. How’s your family? Tell me about the kids. How’s college going.” And then listen. What are you working on these days that I can help you with, because I’d like to help. When’s the last time you got a call like that? Can you remember? If you can remember it, you can probably remember every single detail about it. You could remember who called, when they called, where you were, where you were when the phone rang, what you were doing. I got one a year ago. I remember all those things. I remember exactly where I was. I remember what the voice sounded like because it was the only one in a year.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And you’ve made your point very clearly. There’s no question about it. You are spot on with this. Having said that, I suspect the book is about all of the opportunities that lie within what you just pointed out. I mean, you can really have an opportunity to stand out here. What do you want the reader to walk away with from the new book?

Alex Goldfayn:
Thank you for the awesome question. When you email, which is where we go, instead of the phone.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Alex Goldfayn:
You volunteer yourself in with the junk, with the garbage. You’ve literally volunteer yourself into the spam. And you’re like everybody else, lost in the garbage. When you call, you’re the only one, so if you want to stand out, if you want to be memorable, if you want to be helpful, that’s what this is. Now, Jim, I work with salespeople all my life. I see tens of thousands of salespeople in a year. And the last year it’s been on Zoom, but I see them and they see me and I work. My business is sales growth and I teach people how to sell more. But I rarely say the word sell, what I say is help. I say help a hundred times a day. I almost never say sell or sale or selling or pitching or closing. We’re helping people.

Alex Goldfayn:
And if you think about it that way, if you understand that you’re extraordinarily helpful, and when you show up on the phone, you’re literally saying, what are you working on these days that I can help you with? What projects do you have coming up? I’d like to help. What are you buying elsewhere from my competition because I would like to help you with that. Why should you have to go to two providers, three providers, five providers? I want to help with that. Let me help you with that. Give me that headache. When you show up that way, people are going to say, oh my God, I don’t have anybody like this in my life. They’re going to grab onto you and they’ll never let go.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s a great point because to your point, sales and selling and to sell somebody, something has such a negative connotation. But in terms of help, who doesn’t want help, and who doesn’t want to be able to offer help to those people that are out there that could use your services without saying, let me sell you this item or let me help you with the sale of that. Or let me earn your business and make the sale. All of those things are just so old school out there. Those people go, sell, I don’t want any part of that.

Alex Goldfayn:
That’s right, and you’ll never hear a customer say to you ever, no, I don’t want you to make my life easier today. Nobody says that. In my program with clients, we put in a system where all the salespeople, all the customer-facing people record their actions. They log the calls, the deed, the actions. It’s all about proactive actions, proactive communication.

Alex Goldfayn:
Jim, out of millions of phone calls over the years, millions of calls nobody ever wrote down, no, I don’t want to be helped. The customer said they don’t want to be helped. As you just said, everybody wants to be helped. And so that’s all this is. It’s just showing up, being present, which they want from us. That’s the tragedy in this. Customers want their suppliers and the people they’re buying from, they want us to be present and they want to know that we care. And when we call, we’re showing them that we care. And I’ll never say to salespeople that they need to care more because I think they care more than enough. I think we care a lot. The calling is communicating that care because if you care in silence, nobody knows you care. It’s nice that you care, but it’s wasted effort. Customers don’t know, they can benefit from.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And you know, there’s not an email out there that will display your emotions the way that you want to get that information across to a prospect or a friend or a past customer or something. You just can’t do it in an email effectively the way that you can with your speech. You lose so much with an email and communicating than if you got them right there on the phone.

Alex Goldfayn:
They’re so far apart from each other that they’re just on different planets. I used to think, Jim, maybe the last time we talked, my take in my head was that sending an email is almost the same as doing nothing at all. That used to be my position about a year ago. And as I’ve looked at it and thought about it and watched what happens with emails among my clients, where I’ve landed is, sending an email is less than, it’s worse than doing nothing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I was just going to say, I was going to say that it could possibly be worse than no communication at all, because how many times have you had something going on with a sales person and you’re back and forth and all of a sudden they ghost you and they’re not getting back to you with a proposal or what have you. And the next communication you get is an email from them. And you’re like, “Dude, really? We were talking on the phone and I was telling you what I need. And now I get an email two weeks later.” You clearly want to avoid speaking to me on the phone and now you’ve reduced this to email. Why? And now I’m mad at you. I’d rather you just don’t send anything.

Alex Goldfayn:
Totally. So much bad stuff happens. So if I don’t send an email, I’m just not communicating. I’m out of mind. I’m just, I’m nowhere. I’m just at zero. I’m at the baseline of zero. If I send you an email, chances are you’re not going to reply to me because that’s what happens to email. We don’t reply to emails.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right.

Alex Goldfayn:
And so now you haven’t replied to me. So I’ve sent this email. So now I have all these problems. Did you get it? I don’t know. Did you see it with your eyes? I don’t know. If you saw it, did you process it with your brain? I have no idea. If you saw it, processed it, read it and it registered in your head that I sent you something, which are long odds, that’s unlikely. If all of that happened, why aren’t you replying to me? Are you mad at me? Did we break up and I don’t know? As a customer, have you gone to somebody else? I don’t know anything if I send an email, if my customer is not replying. So if I don’t send an email, I don’t have any of those problems. If I call you on the phone, I also don’t have any of those problems, but I have all of the benefits of calling you on the phone.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
So what is your take on texting? It’s so popular. So many people use it. So many people abuse it. It’s incredible how many conversations are taking place in this format. And salespeople are right at the front of the group in terms of those that use this in their everyday lives to reach out to prospects. What’s your take on texting?

Alex Goldfayn:
So my take is, in the real world, sort of sales work. I think it’s the second most effective communications pathway. Now, if we take meetings out of it, if we take face-to-face out of it and we have sort of communicating over a distance, we have phone and then we have texting. And texting is more effective than anything you can email because of what you and I talked about. We’ve always got our phones. We’ve always got our phone. So you can see, I’ve got two alerts. Now, those aren’t texts. But if you texted me, that’s me and my son. If you texted me, they would pop up on my phone. And if somebody texted me now, Jim, I would look at it now, while we’re talking. While we’re doing this conversation, I would know who texted me. So now what I recommend, and so let’s connect it to the phone. When you call, you’re probably going to leave a message because people don’t pick up, just like they don’t return emails. So you leave a voicemail and I’ve got script in the book, and this is the press review copy here. So it’s a paperback, but the actual book is hard cover. The book is full of scripts and-

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It’s a full, comprehensive workbook.

Alex Goldfayn:
Yeah. So if you don’t know exactly what to say, the book has multiple options for language in all different phone call scenarios, including the cold calls, which I acknowledge some people have to make, some salespeople don’t have a choice. They have to cold call. So we have a part of the book for that. They have an entire section. So when you call, probably the other person isn’t going to pick up, so you leave a voicemail. You leave your message per my script. And then after you leave your voicemail, send a text. I think you should do those two things in tandem. It should be a one-two. And the reason for that is when you send a text, the choice for the customers no longer, should I call Jim back or not? Should I return his call?

Alex Goldfayn:
The choice now is, should I call him or should I text him? I’ve given him a choice now. And what we find over all of these phone calls that are tracked and logged is, when you do it this way, when you leave the message and then you send a text. What we find is about two-thirds of the people who you call this way will communicate back to you, about two-thirds. Two out of three. And two-thirds of those, will send a text instead of making the call. One third will call, two-thirds will text.

Alex Goldfayn:
So if you consider those statistics, which are out of millions of phone calls over the years.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Right.

Alex Goldfayn:
Now, I run my business on three calls a day. I run a $3 million consulting practice and I do it on three calls a day. And I work by myself, I don’t have any employees. So three calls a day doesn’t sound like much, but it’s about 800 calls a year. It’s about 800 in a year. And if things get slow, I go to five calls a day and five calls a day is about 1300 calls a year. And that’s what the book argues. Just make three to five. You pick the number. I don’t care. Three to five a day. Now, most days, Jim, that’s about five minutes of my life because I’m leaving messages most of the time. Sometimes I connect and we have a great conversation and everybody’s happy and it feels good and it gives me energy for the rest of the day, literally, like this conversation is doing. And so in those five minutes, I leave my voicemails and then I send my texts right away, three times. First thing in the morning. You do the uncomfortable work first thing in the morning, not later in the day. It’s not going to get any easier at 3:00 PM. It’s the easiest at eight in the morning, when it’s first.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
It’s not going to hang over your shoulder all day that you know you need to do this thing and you haven’t done it yet and therefore it immobilizes you on other issues. I totally agree with you. Get it out of the way early. And to your point, you’ll feel so much better.

Alex Goldfayn:
Mark Twain said, “If you’re going to eat a frog, you might as well eat it first thing in the morning, because it’s not going to taste any better later in the day.” It won’t, get it out of the way. Do the difficult, uncomfortable work first.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And Alex, could you imagine if you did it first thing in the morning and lo and behold, you get that person on the other end of the phone that goes, Jim, funny, you should call. I was just thinking about you. And yeah, I’d like to move ahead. What are next steps in this? You want to talk about energized for the day? Oh my gosh.

Alex Goldfayn:
That’s right. That’s totally right and exactly correct. And it feeds the machine. So these three calls a day feed the machine of my business. So how do they do that? They build relationships. They fill my calendar. So all of those return communications. So what do we text people after we leave the voicemail? The voicemail says, Hey, call me back and some more details on that. All the scripts are in the book. But the text says, Hey, per my voicemail, how do you look on Tuesday or Wednesday for a few minutes to catch up? I give them a couple options that I’m available.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Which kind of require a response, don’t they? Whenever anybody sends me a question like that, I’m like, I’d be a real jerk if I don’t get back to this individual. They just threw a question out.

Alex Goldfayn:
You might say Wednesdays better, if I’m giving you options. Or you might say, this week’s bad. How’s two weeks from now? So we book it there. Or you might say, dude, I’m good right now. I don’t need what you’re selling, but thanks for connecting. It’s nice to hear from you. So even there, I’ve developed my connection with you because I tried. Don’t underestimate the impact of showing effort. You’ve tried, you’ve taken a step towards the customer. And the beauty of this is, one, it’s incredibly simple, two, nobody else is. You’re the only one. And so it’s really easy to stand out in a crowd, which is 99% reactive.

Alex Goldfayn:
We’re great at answering the phone when it rings and solving the problem. But the only time customers hear from their salespeople, from their providers, is when there is a problem. That’s the only time we call, something’s wrong. I can’t get it to you on time. I got to change the data on you. Prices are going up. That’s the only time salespeople call. And when somebody calls without something that’s on fire and the opposite, it’s helpful. I’m calling you with value, with help. Nobody does that. You become singular. A year ago, somebody called me. I remember exactly what we talked about and where I was. I know we talked about this already, but I’m just sort of building on the point. I was walking up and down my office with a baseball bat that’s behind me, which I hold on my shoulder. When I’m on the phone with somebody and you become singular.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
There’s no question about it. And you make it sound so easy because I believe it is. It’s just your reminder of how easy this can be for all salespeople that are out there, business owners. I don’t care what you’re in. You you got to make the cash register ring, as they say. And that starts with sales. Sales starts with communication. Communication, in so many cases, especially today, starts with the phone. I think the book is an absolute must read for everyone that’s out there, because if you’re anything like I am, and I think you are, you put these things off. Not getting the book, but you put the calls off to Alex’s point. He’s making 12, 1300 calls every year and obviously the results are there. I think for the people that are listening, you know in your heart of hearts, he’s spot on with this, absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
And if you take some of this and put it into an everyday routine, the deals will be there. The dollars will be there. And Alex, I want to thank you so much. Alex. Goldfayn, he’s a keynote speaker, CEO of Revenue Growth Consultancy, Wall Street Journal bestselling author. And congratulations on the brand new book, Pick Up the Phone and Sell. People, that’s the name of the game. And to his point, you may be the only one in your space among your competitors doing this. So right after you buy the book and we’re going to connect you online on how to do that underneath this interview, go out and make the calls because that’s how easy it is. Alex, thank you so much for joining us once again on the show. We very much appreciate it. I’ve got about 20 more questions I don’t have time to get to so I want to have you back pretty quick so that we can cover some more of the book.

Alex Goldfayn:
It would be a pleasure. This is one of my very favorite conversations out of all the ones that I do when these books launch so thank you so much for having me. I’m grateful.


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