Our prospecting has changed dramatically over the last few years. I get tons of questions about texting vs. emailing; digital communication vs. phoning people who may not pick up; how much to write in a text or email; etc.

There are three types of communication that need to be constantly “balanced” in your practice – the digital world, the phone world and your face-to-face conversations. There is no doubt that the digital world is the most efficient in several ways. But it has its limitations.

Every time you choose to send a message via text or email, you eliminate the sound of your voice. And that includes inflection. You have to be very careful how you compose your texts since brevity is prized, but can often be misinterpreted. Double check what you’re writing. What can you eliminate? And what are you asking for in the text?

Any email that exceeds 3 sentences won’t get read. So keep your emails to one sentence about the relationship (“It was great seeing you at John’s barbeque on Saturday”) and one sentence requesting a Phone Date (“Send me some times you’re available for a brief call in the next two weeks.”)

There are some big “no-no’s” when using the digital world to help you get a Phone Date. The major error I see is requesting the actual appointment digitally. What you need to do is ask for the Phone Date, not the appointment. You ALWAYS ask for an appointment in real time, using your voice.

Another behavior that horrifies me is seeing scripts getting texted (almost verbatim out of my script book). Those scripts are designed to be spoken out loud, in real time. A text is not a substitute for a phone call. The language in the script book is not transferable to the digital world.

Here’s another big change we all need to recognize: THE MAJOR WORK HAPPENS BEFORE THE PHONE CALL. In the past, we introduced ourselves on the phone. Now, by the time you are speaking to someone on the phone, they’re pretty sure of who you are and what you do. For Example: You’ve been introduced by a referring client or COI and the prospect absolutely knows you are a financial advisor and they are recommending that the new referral take your call. OR, you met someone in person and exchanged contact information but didn’t get the chance to ask for an appointment. Now you’re following up and it’s a conversation they will remember. OR you’re introduced through a mutual email to a professional and a brief paragraph about your work – and how great you are – is included.

The percentage of appointments set, once you are on the phone, is amazingly high. But that is because your marketing and prospecting activities have done a lot of the introducing. Our cultural changes don’t allow us to call strangers and say “Hi, it’s Gail Goodman and we have a friend in common…” That script is irrelevant because the prospect will never pick up an unrecognized number.

Keep in mind the balance of the digital, vocal and personal marketing you are doing. Avoid the unproductive behaviors mentioned this month. And let me know ideas that are working for you!