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Top 7 Ways to Get Your Prospects to Call You Back: Stand Up - Stand Out:

By Colleen Francis

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No matter how persuasive, compelling or brilliant you may be, it’s difficult to build a relationship with a prospect if you can’t get them to call you back.

Most sales people use boring, outdated voice and email methods, which leave them sounding just like every other sales person in the world. If you want to get more return calls from your clients, then you have to do something different from everyone else out there – you have to stand out, be likeable, and actively deserve a return call.

Here are 7 of the best ideas we’ve found to help you stand up, stand out and make your clients want to return your calls:

  1. The fine line between persistence and stalking.

    I rarely ever give up. That being said, I don’t call my prospects twice a day, either.

    The trick is to call consistently, and if you leave a message, tell the customer precisely when you will call them back – and then stick to it. I usually say something like: “If I don’t hear from you by March 15th, I’ll call you back on the 16th.” I get return calls more often, because my prospects know that I will be calling them if they don’t get in touch with me.

    Most experts agree that it takes at least 4 attempts to reach your prospect. Realistically, I find that number can be closer to 8. But some of my best customers today are those who I was initially the most patient with, and to whom I made multiple calls over a period of weeks, or even months.

  2. Let them off the hook.

    In a voice or email, it’s a great idea to tell a prospect that’s its OK for them to say no.

    Say something like: “If you’ve chosen to go with a different product, that’s okay. Just let me know so I don’t become a follow-up pest.” The vast majority of the time, one of two things will happen – they’ll either call you back and say, yes, we’ve chosen someone else, or they’ll say no, we haven’t made a decision yet, and apologize for not getting back to you sooner.

    Either way, you’re ahead of the game because now you know the truth about what’s going on.

  3. Send a handwritten note.

    Sending a handwritten note after your first sales call or presentation will dramatically increase your chances of getting a return call. Why? Because a handwritten note increases your likeability, helps make the prospect feel good about you and encourages them to take your calls.

    I never cease to be amazed at the number of emails I receive from clients and prospects thanking me for my handwritten notes. Obviously, they have an effect on people that yet another voice or email doesn’t.

  4. Create a deadline.

    After every conversation, you should gain agreement from the prospect as to next steps, and the date they will be accomplished. That way, when the time for the follow-up call comes around and the prospect doesn’t show up, you can leave a message like: “I’m calling because the last time we spoke, we agreed to chat today about….”

    Reminding them of your agreement will help move them to call you back. If they don’t return your call in a couple of days, keep calling, and gently remind them of your mutual agreement.

  5. Call early or late in the day.

    One of the ways I follow up with senior-level decision makers is to call either quite early in the morning (say around 7:30am) or late in the day (after 5pm), without leaving a message if I don't get a person. I’ve found that, by calling at these times, the decision makers are often alone in the office without a gatekeeper, and therefore more likely to pick up calls themselves.

  6. Change your media.

    If a prospect hasn’t responded to an email you sent within 5 business days, call to ask them if they received it. Likewise, if they haven’t responded to a phone call, send them an email.

    Everyone has their own preferred way to communicate. Your job is to find out which communication tool is easier for the prospect. One Engage client specifically tells customers on her voice mail messages that she’ll be sending them an email as well in case that is better for them, and in her emails, she lets them know that she’ll be calling in case that works better. This not only increases your chances of reaching the prospect, but also shows them that you’re putting their interests first.

  7. Keep track of who hasn’t answered.

    Document each call or email in your CRM, so you can remember when you last spoke with, left a message for or sent an email to a client. You can then bring up those dates in a subsequent message, such as: “When we last emailed on Feb 1st, we agreed that I would…”

Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, President/Founder of Engage Selling Solutions, since 2001. Colleen Francis is driven by a passion for people—motivating them to reach for the highest standards of success. Colleen trains sales and marketing professionals who want to strive to get to the top…and stay there. Her innovative, no–nonsense approach is based on applying what she has observed in her fifteen–plus years in sales—revealing the common business habits of the top 20% of sales performers in all organizations. Colleen's approach works…that's why New York–based Sales and Marketing Magazine has rated Engage Selling Solutions as one of the top–five most effective sales–training organizations in the market today. Distinguished by the Canadian Professional Sales Association as a Certified Sales Professional (C.S.P.).

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Article Submitted On: July 17, 2006