I’m having trouble getting callbacks or email replies from a few potential clients. I leave messages in their voice mailboxes or send emails, yet they don’t reply. My company offers a great service that I know would help them. How will they know this if I can’t tell them about it?
I don’t want to be a pest. What advice can readers provide on techniques and strategies to get more responses? Or is this just a fact of the sales life?
Summary of Advice Received
No Stalking Required
Getting the callback without pestering prospects
by Meryl K. Evans, Editor, Professional Services Journal
Bet you’ve heard this joke at least once.
Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
Adult: Banana who?
Kid: Knock, knock.
Adult: Who’s there?
And so on until the kid changes banana to “orange” and says, “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” It may have been funny the first time, but undoubtedly it got old. No sales person wants to be the banana kid calling or emailing prospects.
Before crafting a compelling message that prompts prospects to return your message, make sure you’ve exhausted all possibilities to reach the prospect. Try calling after hours when the contact may still be in the office and more likely to answer the phone.
How many times has someone left a phone number and you couldn’t catch it? Whatever you say in the voice mail, say it clearly and repeat as needed.
Still no luck? Our readers and experts return the call for help and offer compelling ways to get the call back:
- Tell the truth.
- Add urgency to the message.
- Share past results.
- Use a sense of humor.
Share your experiences and advice for connecting with prospects without turning into a bad knock–knock joke in comments, or ask your own question.
Tell the truth
Be honest about not wanting to be a pest. It works for Amy Bly, Property Stylist with Great Impressions Home Staging. “Prospects always say, ‘No, no, you’re not being a pest,'” Bly says. “I think it works because you acknowledge it’s not your intention to bother them, only to offer them help if they have any interest.”
Add urgency to the message
One of the more popular tactics for writing article headlines and email subject lines is adding a sense of urgency or a clear call to action. There’s just something about “Offer ends X day” that persuades people to act. Provide a compelling and immediate reason to return the call suggests Lisa M. Murray, Principal of Murray Whalen Communications.
Or take it outside of the office by proposing a meeting for coffee or another outing, saying you’re only available X, Y or Z dates or have tickets for specific dates. Tickets to an event may be best for warmer leads.
Share past results
Think of an example that solves the prospect’s problem and leads to results. Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates gives an example.
“We’ve helped hundreds of companies in your industry achieve [whatever great result you’ve helped them to achieve]. For example, with Acme International, we did [an amazing, if possible, quantifiable result]. Call me at 555-5555 and with a couple of quick questions, I can tell right away if we might generate this kind of result for you.”
Come up with a success story for every problem you solve and every segment of your audience. Choose the right story for each prospect you call.
Use a sense of humor
Michael Bremmer, CEO for TelecomQuotes, has an unusual and humorous approach that works 90 percent of the time. In the subject line of an email, Bremmer writes, “Did I have bad breath when we talked last?” The body of the message says, “Because I can’t seem to get you to call me back … I hope all is well my friend.” Be sure to include your signature.
If you aren’t making contact, it may be time to accept the fact that the prospect is not interested in your services or products. Orange you glad to get this advice?
What other ways can someone get a response to a call or email without becoming a joke? Please share your thoughts in the comments. If you face other work challenges, ask a question. (You can ask anonymously.)
About the editor
Meryl K. Evans is Senior Editor at InternetVIZ and the content maven behind the Organizational Excellence Journal, IT Solutions Journal and Professional Services Journal. Follow her on Twitter @merylkevans and Facebook.