When you’re spending money to generate leads online, it’s extremely disappointing to receive leads that you can’t seem to contact. Some leads don’t pick up your calls, while others never respond to your WhatsApp messages. So how exactly should you be contacting them?

20 years ago, the best way to contact new leads was to call them. In fact, it was pretty much the only way to contact anyone because WhatsApp didn’t exist back then.

And even today, many salespeople still feel that a phone call is the best way to connect with a lead. It’s much faster and more convenient to have a quick phone conversation rather than type messages. However, text messaging is the now most popular method of communication, by a large margin.

Of course, it all boils down to individual preferences. But if you’re reaching out to a new lead and don’t know what they prefer, what should you do?

After working with more than 100,000 salespeople, marketers, and small businesses, we’ve gained some insights into what works best. And in 2023, texting a lead gives you the highest chance of getting a response. Here are three reasons why, plus our top tips to help you engage with more leads successfully.

3 reasons you should WhatsApp your leads instead of calling them, especially for the first outreach

1. Your lead is more likely to read your message than answer your call.

The truth is, most people ignore calls, especially those that come from unknown numbers. In fact, only 28% of people would answer a sales call.

When this happens, it’s extremely difficult to start any kind of conversation with your leads because they will simply never pick up. On the flip side, people read 95% of text messages from businesses within 3 minutes of receiving them.

That’s because a text message is difficult to ignore, especially if you send it through popular apps like WhatsApp. Your prospect likely checks their WhatsApp many times throughout the day, and they would be able to see a preview of your text in their notifications. If your message is written concisely, they can easily identify why you’re contacting them even without opening the full message.

By WhatsApping your leads, you can significantly increase the chances of your first outreach being seen and responded to. Learn how to write the perfect outreach message here.

💡Pro-tip: Even if they ignore you, think of the first text message as planting a seed of awareness. At least now they know what you do and where to contact you when they’re ready.

2. Your leads won’t feel annoyed by your outreach.

There are plenty of situations where a prospect can still read and respond to your WhatsApp message, even if they’re busy. For example, when they’re in a Zoom meeting, on a crowded bus, or at dinner with their family. But in the same situations, they would never pick up a call.

A WhatsApp message is much less “intrusive” than a call. And it’s quite common for people to be in a setting where they’re able to text but unable to pick up a call.

Now some of you might be thinking: Isn’t it bad for business if I don’t put a tiny bit of pressure on my prospects by calling them to pique their interest directly?

This is true to some extent, especially in industries like real estate, where the most persistent realtor seems to get the most sales.

Now we’re not saying you should never call your leads. The goal here is to avoid calling them for your first outreach, where you’ll risk leaving a bad first impression.

Imagine dropping everything you’re doing – important or otherwise – to answer a call… only to realise that it’s a sales pitch. The prospect might get annoyed, and an annoyed prospect is a bigger beast to tame than any competitors you might have out there.

💡Pro-tip: WhatsApp your lead first to introduce who you are, where you got their number, and whether it’s convenient for them to hop on a call. This helps minimise your prospect’s fear of potentially picking up a scam call or an unsolicited one.

3. It’s much easier to respond to a WhatsApp message than a missed call.

WhatsApp messages are rarely “missed”. Even if the lead is busy, they will probably read it a few minutes or hours later, sometimes even days later.

And even if all that time has passed, your full message will still be there. And the prospect can read and reply on their own time. In fact, if you write your intro message correctly, they’ll find it easy to engage with you later. That’s because they’ll know exactly who you are and why you’re reaching out.

On the other hand, once a call is missed, it’s missed. Your lead only has a short window of time to pick up your call, and if they don’t, they’ll be left wondering who called them and why.

You can try to call back later, but most people rarely answer calls from unknown numbers anyway, especially one that calls them persistently. They might think it’s from a scam call centre or a telemarketing agent.

But let’s say you DO connect with the lead on your first call and the chat goes well. What happens after? The lead probably won’t even save your number, which becomes a problem a few days or weeks later when they have a question. How would they find you again? They can go into their call log to find out, but they probably won’t be able to figure out which phone number is yours.

💡Pro-tip: Text your leads on WhatsApp, so they can easily find your previous conversation whenever they want to ask follow-up questions. It’ll be quick and easy for them to find you, even if they haven’t saved you to their phonebook.

What if your leads don’t use WhatsApp?

Even if your leads don’t use WhatsApp, the same rule still applies: it’s better to text your leads than to call them, especially for the first outreach. Texting them makes it extremely convenient for them to respond to your outreach.

We used WhatsApp as an example here because it’s the most widely used messaging app in most countries. But you can replace it with whichever text messaging channel that’s popular in your country, like iMessage, SMS, Telegram, Signal, Line, WeChat, etc.

So should you call or text new leads? For consumer-facing salespeople and businesses, texting wins almost every time.

Before you go, you should know…

Texting your leads is the best way to go, but you should also know the best time to message them. Ideally, you should try to reach out within 15 minutes once a lead submits their contact details, because they’ll still remember why they’ve given you their phone number. AND their interest level would be at its peak.

If you think that there’s no way you can message new leads that quickly, here’s a solution you can try. Privyr is a mobile app that helps you instantly receive and contact new leads from your phone or laptop. You’ll get instant new lead alerts and can immediately send an auto-personalised message via WhatsApp, iMessage, SMS, and more. No manual typing, no copy-pasting, no saving to your phonebook.

Try the Privyr app for free today. Don’t miss out on the best time to contact your leads and get better chances of converting them!

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Shuni spent way too much time on Yahoo Answers as a child. Now she writes content to help people make better use of software and marketing tools.