9 Ways to Get Your Prospects to Call You Back
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Most sales people use boring, outdated voice and email methods, which leave them sounding just like every other sales person in the world.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 prospects, 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 9 of the best ideas we’ve found to help you stand up, stand out and make your prospects 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 it’s OK for them to say no.
Say something like: “If you’ve chosen to go with a different model car, 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 different car, 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 professional email.
In an effort to help many of our prospects we will often do a little secret shopping. This includes visits to the showroom and the completion of web forms. Sadly, the emails I receive are rarely anything even remotely professional. I see my name in a different font then the rest of the email, image rendering issues, even misspellings. There is one dealership that keeps sending me an email that says, “thank you for your interest in “NO SELECTION” even after I have told them about this several times. But most dealer emails never clears my spam filter anyway.
Aim for an action. The purpose of your follow-up email is to secure something tangible such as a second meeting, a contract or the answer to a question. After your short “thank you” introduction, the rest of the letter should drive towards getting what you want. If there was information that the prospect requested, add it to the middle section, attach it and note that it’s attached or link to it. Since some spam filters do not like attachments, it is best to link to it whenever you can. Upload most of the documents you need to send so that you can link to them. In the event that you need to send something unique, you can use a service such as yousendit.com so that you can upload and send a quick link.
If you are using email templates, please use something professional and have a process in place where you send an appropriate one to where you are in the sales cycle. We can provide you with plenty of email templates. Here are some samples. Our email templates are spam filter tested, and our email system contains proven, best-in-class content for getting immediate responses and converting prospects to buyers. The system will integrate with virtually any CRM system.
4) Put them on auto-drip.
If you’ve tried everything you can think of and still can’t seem to get through, but you aren’t quite ready to give up entirely, put the prospect on auto-drip, and send them something interesting and of value (not simply advertisements) every month or quarter. This will help to keep you in their mind for when the time is right for them to make a decision, or go looking for a supplier.
5) Create a deadline.
After every conversation, you should gain agreement from the prospect as to next steps, and the date they will be accomplished. This 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.
6) 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…”
7) Separate the facts from your imagination.
Try to find out what’s really going on, rather than what you simply think or assume is happening. The following 3-step voice mail strategy works because it increases your chances of getting a return call, and it always gets you to the truth:
VOICE MAIL #1: “Mr. X, this is John Doe from ABC Dealership. You were looking for a car that… Sorry I missed you today, but I’ll try to reach you again on DATE and TIME.”
Make sure your tone is soft, non-threatening and friendly. You don’t want to sound like a radio ad for a furniture liquidator. Plus, it’s critical that you do call back on the date and time that you say.
VOICE MAIL #2: “Hi Mr. X, this is John Doe from ABC Dealership calling because I promised to reach you today at TIME. Sorry I missed you. You were looking for… I’ll try you again on DATE and TIME.”
Again, it’s critical that you call back exactly when you said you would. Anything else would result in your being less than honest, and risk losing your contact’s confidence.
VOICE MAIL #3: “Hi Mr. X, this is John Doe at ABC Dealership calling, because I promised to reach you today at TIME. Sorry I missed you. I notice that you’ve been difficult to reach and I’m wondering if that’s because you’re swamped at work, you are no longer interested in the car we discussed, you made another purchase or I’ve been wrong at guessing the times you might be available. Any of these is okay, but if you wouldn’t mind letting me know how to proceed, that would be great. I promised I would be in touch with you, and that I would get back to you regarding your interest in…If you are interested in another make or model I would like to help you. My number is 613 867-5309, extension 111.”
The last reason for not reaching the prospect – that you’ve been wrong at guessing the times he or she might be at his or her desk – is important because it lets you take ownership of the reason you can’t reach the customer. You can change the other two reasons based on your specific sales situation – for example, if this was a follow-up call after discussing price, you might say: “I’m wondering if that’s because you didn’t have a chance to review the price I sent, you were unhappy with the pricing I sent or I’ve been wrong at guessing the times you might be at your desk.”
8) 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 of our clients 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.
9) Prepare for the “Final Approach.”
Whether in voice or email, when you’re ready to permanently write an uncommunicative prospect off, let the customer know that this will be the final attempt you’ll be making to reach them. Try something like:
“I notice that it’s been X weeks since we last spoke, and I’m assuming that’s because you are no longer interested in any of the cars we discussed. That’s OK; I understand that we are not a fit for everyone. The last thing I want is to become a follow-up pest! If you’re still interested, you can reach me at 111-1111. If I don’t hear from you, then I’ll assume that you are moving ahead in a different direction, and I won’t call again to interrupt. I wish you all the best on your purchase decision, and thank you for considering us.”