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Waiting by the Phone: What to do when they just don’t call back

Prospecting is a key component of almost every sales professional’s job—and one of the most frustrating. Whether you are pursuing a new lead, trying to increase business with an existing client, or trying to resurrect a dormant relationship, it’s maddening when your thoughtful communications go unanswered. Assuming you are targeting the correct person, here are some tactics that might increase your chances of success:

Revisit your messaging– Take a look at the emails you’ve sent the prospect so far and ask yourself:

  • Are they tailored to the prospect and jargon-free?
  • Can the prospect decipher who you are and what you want from a quick scan?
  • Have you given the prospect a good enough reason to respond?

Prospecting emails should be clear, thoughtful, compelling and concise. If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, it’s time to rework your message.

Ask the gatekeeper for help– It never hurts to build up a rapport with the EA or receptionist screening calls for your prospect. Being friendly and authentic from the start will increase your chances of being helped later on. After trying several times without a response, see if he or she can provide insight:

  • “Do you think I should I keep trying?”
  • “In your opinion, is there a better time to reach her?”
  • “As you know, I have tried several times to connect without success. Do you have any suggestions for me?”

You might be surprised at the information you get. And if they make it clear you have no chance, at least that’s information you didn’t have before.

Pair every voicemail with an email– Some people don’t check their voicemail messages for days. Others have intelligent email filtering software or get bombarded by so many emails that yours has a low chance of ever getting seen. Since this is the reality of our time, we encourage you to pair every voicemail with an email:

“…I’ll also send you an email so you have all the details to review.”

Ask for a response– With so much competition for your prospect’s attention (and budget), standing out from the crowd can be hard. If your messaging is excellent yet your emails and voicemails keep going unanswered, try reminding your client that there is a human behind the value proposition by asking for a brief response either way:

“I try to walk that fine line between becoming a nuisance and demonstrating interest. It can be challenging. If you would send a brief response suggesting how I should proceed, I would appreciate it.”

If the prospect is interested and just got sidetracked, this approach can be very effective.

Remember that no response is a response– As sales professionals, we tend to be tenacious and not want to give up. But our time is valuable too. Prospecting into a black hole will not help you meet your quota or bring on new business for your company. Additionally, being perceived as a pain in the neck by the prospect could hurt your chances of a sale down the line.

If you’ve made several attempts, tweaked your messaging, experimented with different communication channels and then asked for a response–and still hear nothing–it’s time to move on.

Do you have any other tips to get clients to call you back? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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