Here comes that sinking feeling in you stomach…again. The potential client you have been meeting with didn’t return your phone call yesterday. In fact, they have not heard from in weeks. You call again and still nothing. The lack of response to your attempts to communicate baffles you. You worked hard to land this customer. You thought the sale was ready to close. This account was a sure thing.
Why don’t people return your phone calls?
I’m not talking about the cold calls made. In that case, a returned call is a bonus. I am referring to returned calls from people you have actually talked to many times before. Calls to people I have met with, had lunch with or maybe even done business with.
This pattern of unanswered calls can still amaze many of us. At some point there is this realization that a few weeks of unreturned phone calls means that the answer is “no” to whatever it is I want to talk about or the person no longer values our business relationship.
In fact, I yearn for the prospective client to leave a voice mail when my cell phone is off and yell: “Duke, you screwed it up. Don’t ever call me again.” That message I understand and respect.
Why don’t people just call or e-mail and be blunt? With all the electronic and increasingly impersonal ways to communicate with each other, why has this task not become easier for people?
The Three Reasons For Not RespondingAre:
1. Business People will overbook. Their rush to multi-task unfortunately overruns some basic human courtesies.
2. Technology has created monster. While our expectations are high with all the possible instant communication methods, it has become increasingly difficult to simultaneously handle all of them. The average business person needs to check messages from multiple phones, e-mail accounts and too many social media accounts.
3. People are cowards. It takes courage to face a “confrontation” and say, “no.” Most busy people don’t want to take the time to deal with it. They find it easier to just ignore it.
What To Do
Here is how to get your phone call returned and what to do if it does not get returned using a “Rapid Release” strategy:
1. Make the initial call. Leave specific instructions on the desired action you need with a time frame in which you would like to be called back.
2. If no answer, call back in a week.
3. If no answer, call back in two weeks.
4. In no answer, send a note or leave a voice mail with the following message:
I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to reach you and provide the information you requested. This typically means:
1. You’ve been busy, but are still very interested talking with me about how I can help.
2. You are no longer interested.
Being a business person, I know you can appreciate my position. I want to provide you with excellent customer service and all of the information you require to make an educated decision that will benefit your business. What I don’t want to do is bother you with something if you are no longer interested.
Could you please help us by letting me know which of the two situations we are in? This will allow me to better allocate my time while still providing you with the amount of attention you desire.”
If there is still no answer to this memo or voice mail, write them as a prospect. Put them back into the marketing funnel and dial another prospect.
A “no” answer, is as important as a “yes” because it allows you to move on and close the door. A “no” lets you focus on the prospects that still can say “yes.”
Why should you always return every phone call or e-mail from people with whom you have a relationship?
Simple answer, It’s just good business. There is no telling what will happen tomorrow and you may need these people for something else later. Keeping up a good relationship with them could help you later.
If I never returned your phone call when you needed me, what is the likely outcome when the roles are reversed? Communicating in a respectful way will build the critical business relationship with other people that you need for your business success.
So, next time you see you have a Voicemail..or an email from someone you talked…respond as soon as you can. And don’t be afraid to say “No”.
Let me know how I can help.