First Contact With a New Business Partner: Email or Call?

We have the contact of a potential new distributor, agent, or supplier and we want to contact him for the first time. Is it better to send an email or is it more effective to make a call?

In theory, the best approach would be to send a presentation email asking for a telephone appointment.

However, experience suggests that this approach is not always effective for several reasons.

Unfortunately, many people tend, for various reasons, not to read emails carefully and often do not respond.

There are several reasons for such behavior. The main one, in my opinion, is that an entrepreneur, a salesman, or a manager tend to receive a disproportionate number of emails every day. Many are “spam”, not in the sense that they are junk emails, but that there are too many companies that send commercial emails without having a targeted target. 

So often you receive so many commercial emails that it is difficult to distinguish the interesting ones at first glance (especially when you have little time).

It is a good approach to send an email and, later, if there is no response within 2-3 days, make a call.

However, from personal experience, there are situations in which call directly, without sending a prior email, is the best solution.

These are the cases that in my opinion can lead to calling directly:

When selling products/services that are difficult to explain

Some products and services are difficult to explain via email.

The problem is not so much due to the technical complexity, rather communicate with people working in different sectors.

For example, it is quite complex to explain the benefits of new management software to a small company in which no IT specialist works.

Under these circumstances, it is difficult to capture interest via email. Often the potential business partner does not understand the product and will think that the email is one of the many promotional ones.

In general, in my work experience, I have noticed that services tend to be more difficult to explain and people are often unwilling to want to learn more.

When the interlocutor speaks our mother tongue

In a few minutes of conversation, it is possible to transmit more messages than a few dozen emails. It is easier to understand each other between two people who speak the same mother tongue or have a very high level of knowledge of the language.

When talking on the phone, the non-verbal language is not transmitted. But native speakers are still able to convey the verbal message much better, not only because of the wider vocabulary but also they can convey the right tone to the conversation.

Before calling a new business partner, I recommend checking the languages ​​spoken through Linkedin. If you see that the person has lived abroad (work or university), it is reasonable that he/she is fluent in the language where he lived.

When dealing with a person who speaks our same language, I think making a phone call is more effective than sending an email.

Be careful to call people that are not fluent in the language of the conversation. If you have to do it, look for the best conditions to avoid technical and sound quality problems: call from a quiet place and avoid Bluetooth and speakerphone.

In conclusion

Calls have the advantage of creating a more personal relationship.

Frequently, a person will not answer an email, but it is very difficult for him/her to slam the phone in front of a stranger who presents himself politely and professionally. I wrote an article with my tips for making the first contact call with a new business partner.

There is a personal predisposition to making an effective call. But also some people are very persuasive at writing emails: it is not easy to write-down concepts in a linear way for different types of business targets.

In conclusion, my advice is given by personal experience and is not always valid for all kinds of people. If someone has a particular predisposition for emails or calls could have better results with one approach rather than another.

What I suggest is to try different approaches than what we are most used to and gain experience. Experience is the most important thing to understand how to relate to different types of distributors, agents, or suppliers.

Globartis Research

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