Just the other day I was involved in a discussion about marketing strategies and exploring new ways to promote the leadership solutions I offer as a regional Director of LMI-UK.
However, as much fun as this was, it struck me that while we were spending a lot of valuable time and effort looking at the details such as websites, brochures and campaign ideas, I could have picked up the phone and had a direct conversation with the very people we were trying to target.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that businesses should neglect their marketing strategies altogether, but it did appear to me that there was almost too much emphasis on the fancier side of things with not enough focus on getting the basics right first.
Think of it like a football team – the thing that matters most is achieving results. Before time and money can be spent playing attractive and fancy football, it’s critical that the team first carries out the basic duties expected of them as part of a well-orchestrated unit.
Websites and marketing campaigns are like an attractive summer signing – while they may look fantastic on paper, it doesn’t guarantee results like a solid tactical plan.
To put it in context, the ability to perform basic everyday tasks like picking up the phone or sending a carefully constructed email should not be underrated – just because it isn’t glamorous, doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.
Back to Basics activity
To highlight the importance of what I’m saying, I’ll talk you through a Back to Basics prospecting activity I put myself through earlier this month.
Going through my contacts, I shortlisted a group of 50 people I had not spoken to for a while, with the intention of calling them to see if they would be interested in one of our leadership programmes.
It had been 20 years since I’d last communicated with one or two of the contacts, so calling them out of the blue for potential referred business was not a guaranteed success and a little daunting.
After working through the first few names on the list, I began to find my flow and before I knew it I’d crossed off 30 names. The results I found were astounding.
From 32 phone calls, I’d agreed dates for 19 face-to-face meetings, generating interest in six Effective Personal Leadership programmes, opening dialogue with two potential Associates and I’m now on the verge of closing two Coensus Prevue Assessments contracts.
The activity was that productive, I’ve had to delay calling the remaining 18 contacts while I fulfil the meetings already planned!
A simple lesson learned
The lesson here is simple – by doing the basic tasks properly, I was able to achieve great results. I’m not saying this is possible for every product or service, but a lot is made nowadays of ‘new routes to market’, ‘digital strategies’ and ‘social engagement’ when impressive results are possible by doing something as simple as picking up the phone.
For a communication tool that has been around longer than all of us, there is often a lot of anxiety associated with picking up the phone and having a conversation (or not) with someone.
Although it may be daunting at the time, stepping outside of your comfort zone to call someone can open the door to a world of opportunities you’d struggle to obtain through any other means.
The ability to converse naturally and confidently, while conveying personality to establish professional working relationships, is what ensures it remains an important tool in modern business.
So, the next time you spend 20 minutes putting together a client email, try picking up the phone instead – sometimes the very basic tasks achieve the best results.