How to Reach Out to a Prospect for the First Time | Clarity Stack

Posted on 4 Jan 2022

3 minutes

How to Reach Out to a Prospect for the First Time

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When you reach out to a prospect or sales lead, should you drop them an email or pick up the phone and call them directly? It’s a question that is asked all the time, and there are pros and cons to both approaches; so which one is right? The real answer is that both approaches are right, but they each have a time and a place where they are most appropriate and most effective. Your first engagement with a prospect or sales lead is where your deal is quite often won or lost and it’s that age-old line again about first impressions counting - but they really do! If you reach out all guns blazing and bombard a prospect with information and try to push them into a sale when they don’t really know who they’re speaking to, they’re going to run a mile; and the same is true when you reach out to a lead and don’t get to the point - they’re busy, engage them and get to the point.

Should you phone, email or both?

So what should you do? Do you take a laid back approach or do you tell them early that you’re in sales? Should you email them first or get on the phone?

Established brands with a reputation in the industry would always look to get on the phones at the earliest opportunity. The credibility that has been built over the years means that you can reach out to a prospect for the first time and they’ll know exactly who you’re calling from, even if they don’t know exactly what it is that you do or why you’re reaching out to them at this point in time. That reputation almost buys you an ‘in’ with a prospect as it often excites them at the possibility of working with a brand they’ve heard of, giving them a reason to hang on the phone and listen to what it is that you have to offer.

With less-established or less well-known brands, however, there are people who would recommend that you send an email first and foremost to gauge their interest in your brand and your range of services. 

An email is a much less formal form of outreach, and one that enables the recipient to take the information in, click on links to find out more and then weigh-up whether or not they wish to take the conversation further. Of course, you do risk the email getting the dreaded ‘delete’ without them taking much notice of what you’ve taken the time to write, but this is where you can follow-up later over the phone.

If you’re going to reach out to a prospect by email then it’s important to personalise your message, showing that you’ve done your research and are looking to engage an individual at a particular company rather than a generic, blanket approach with the hope of getting a reply (which, ultimately, is the same as cold-calling in many respects). When you speak directly to an individual and explain why your brands are the perfect match you immediately increase your chances of getting a response by building a rapport and finding some common ground.

Having introduced yourself by email you have the ability to leave them a message saying that you’ll be in touch by phone later in the week, or that they can click a calendar link in the message to arrange a time and date when they can book a meeting with you to discuss your proposition. 

Stop there!

Whichever method you ultimately choose, one thing is for certain and that is that cold-calling as we know it, is dead. So if you’re still doing it, stop - NOW! 

It doesn’t yield the kind of results that sales teams look for and only serves to annoy the person on the other end of the phone meaning you’re very, VERY unlikely to ever convert them into a paid up customer or subscriber. Instead, turn to legitimate, qualified sales leads and contact details from Clarity Stack, who can put you in direct contact with decision makers at businesses who are genuinely interested in what it is you’re offering and much more receptive to your outreach. 

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