Getting in touch with a prospective client is one of the most crucial moments in your potential business relationship. First impressions tend to last for a long time and if you give a bad one, you’re likely to find you don’t get the chance to show your better side. Not only does this mean you need to be polite and courteous as well as prepared and knowledgeable when you first establish contact with a potential lead, you also want to makes sure you’re timing your phone call or email well. When it comes to choosing the optimum time to get in touch with your lead, there are quite a few factors to be considered.
Time of day
For a start, you’ll want to understand that there are certain times of the business day better suited to making contact than others. Don’t try and call a prospect first thing in the morning, just before or after lunch or last thing before end of business.
First thing in the morning, people tend to be catching up on some of the most important emails or messages they’ve received for the day. The same goes for the period directly following lunch. Straight before the lunch break, people tend to be distracted and keen to get moving and the same can be said for the end of the day. Time your calls to miss these problem areas and try to be as unobtrusive as possible.
However, if you are getting in touch with a decision maker who has a prominent position in the company, you may also want to consider calling just before or after opening hours. Most influential employees start their day early and end late, potentially offering an opportunity to catch their attention when the office is calmer.
Time of week
For email contacts, you also want to factor in the day of the week. At the beginning of the working week, when office staff are fresh from their break, your email communication is more likely to be read. For B2B campaigns (as with B2C), businesses tend to see a winding down of email attention as the week progresses, with open and click rates peaking at the beginning of the week.
Timing your email so that you can take advantage of the extra enthusiasm and willingness to engage present before the working week hits its full stride can improve your exposure and boost the likelihood of pickup.
Time of month
There are also particular times of the month that are particularly good or bad for getting in touch with businesses about new products or services. For example, you know that the finance department of most companies is likely to be struggling under a heavy load at the end of the month, so don’t pitch products that will need feedback from this department around this time, it will only put your contact and the department in a bad mood by adding an extra task to their list – no matter how much they might appreciate the services you have to offer.
Time of year
There are some other factors you may want to keep an eye on, particularly if you’ve already done some research on your lead. If you’re targeting a prospective client directly because you already have some knowledge about their business, take this information into account when calling or emailing. Does their industry have particular peak times? Can you maximise on seasonal activity like tax or holidays? Do you know whether your lead is likely to be preparing for a major conference or trade show? Being considerate of factors like these can help you get off on the right foot.
Timing your contact to fit into your prospects’ schedules rather than with your own is a simple but highly effective way to maximise the response you get. By using both statistics about business habits and what you know from research on specific prospects, you can make a big difference to your marketing activity:
- To reach key decision makers, consider early morning or late afternoon – they are likely to be in the office earlier and longer than others and you can potentially catch them when demands on their time is minimal.
- In general, earlier in the week is best for making email contact.
- Most businesses plan their activity around times of the month; consider how this might change the way they would like to be contacted.
- Consider seasonal and industry-specific times of year – you can either hook your marketing on this or avoid busy times.