Salespeople generally give up far too early when attempting to contact a customer in the prospecting phase. But to make things worse, they don’t even let the prospect know that they are giving up. This is a mistake.
After you’ve made several attempts to connect to a prospect through different means such as voicemail and email, sending a “final approach” message can be very effective in prompting a response.
Tell them this is your last message.
Your voicemail might sound something like this:
“Hi John. As you know, I’ve left several messages for you over the last few weeks and haven’t been able to connect. It’s hard for me to tell whether that’s because you’re just crazy busy or that you’re maybe not interested in learning how we might be able to BENEFIT and BENEFIT you. Either way, I don’t want to become voicemail spam so I’m going to give up for now. If you think it would make sense for us to talk, I’m at 416.555.1212. Thanks.”
Sound harsh? Yes, it is direct but it’s the absolute truth and the feedback we receive from our clients is that it has produced callbacks from prospects that salespeople were convinced they would never hear back from. Let’s face it – you weren’t having any luck up to this point so what do you have to lose?
Do we know exactly why this technique works so well? Not exactly. We don’t know whether it creates a sense of responsibility from the prospect and makes them think, “Gee, I really should at least get back to this person.” or that it maybe forces prospects to realize that if they don’t return the message that they are going to miss an opportunity. Maybe it’s human psychology that people often want things more when they think they might not be able to have them! Whatever the reason, the important thing is that it works!
Inject some humour.
Some of our clients have had success using a little sarcastic humour in the final approach. This message might sound something like, “I don’t know if this means that you’re not interested in how we might BENEFIT and BENEFIT you or that you’re so busy putting out fires that you can’t even get to your phone.” This method is admittedly a bit cheeky and needs to done with a slightly defeated but cheerful tone to be effective. Again, what have you got to lose?
These techniques are not a surefire way to get all prospects to call you back. Aside from pretending that you’re calling from the lottery winnings office, nothing will guarantee this. What this will do, however, is increase your callbacks. And incremental improvements in several areas adds up to big improvements overall. A bigger problem is that salespeople just don’t try hard enough before they give up but that’s a topic for another post!