Phone tag and Getting the Call Back

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Phone Tag and Getting the Call Back
Have you ever left a message and then, a few hours later, you start wondering when the person is going to call you back. How long do you wait? 12 hours? 24 hours? And if they do not call you back, when is it okay to call them again?
In this lesson, you’ll learn some techniques for leaving messages that are complete and succinct, so that your calls get returned.
Phone Tag
While the new technology that is available today can make it harder for you to reach the decision maker, it can also offer you some opportunities too. Certainly, you can’t afford to ignore it. One thing we should be doing is keeping track of who we have called and how often we have called them.
When we do take advantage of voice mail and leave a message, there are four strategies we can use that help us make our message more effective.
Option One: The Referral
This is the best option when you have the opportunity to use it. However, it must be an honest referral. If you leave a message like the following example, you will usually get a response:
Example: “Hello Mr. Fields, I was talking to Joe Sampson and he suggested I give you a call because I offer ___________ service and he mentioned that you are looking for this. When you get a chance, please call me at 901-555-2120.”
Option Two: The Third-Party Message
This option is useful if you are working for company ABC and you have delivered excellent results for them. You know that company XYZ is in the same type of business, would know the name of company ABC, and could probably use the same type of services/products. You will want to sound poised, confident, and concise.
Example: “Hello Ms. Jones, I’m calling regarding Company ABC. When you get a chance, could you please call me at 901-555-2120?”

Option Three: The Warm Cold Caller
The script sounds something like this: “Hello Ms.__________. This is Freda Whitehouse with ABC Company calling. My number is 901-555-2120, and I can be reached at this number between nine and noon, Monday to Friday. I was told you are the person to speak to about ________, and I’d really appreciate the chance to chat with you about it. My number is 901-555-2120.”
Option Four: The Straight-Ahead Pitch
Use this when no other techniques are available to you. You’ve tried early morning calling, you’ve tried enlisting the help of the receptionist/secretary/assistant, and this is your final attempt of the month to reach this person. You simply adapt your standard cold calling script, which you have already prepared. It might sound something like this.
Example: “Hi Ms. Jones, this is Freda Whitehouse with ABC Company calling. I’m sorry I missed you today. We just put together an interesting (training package, computer program, Web site, etc.) for XYZ Company so they could spend less time dealing with employee conflict, tracking results, and providing general information to interested customers. I thought something like this might work well for your company too. If you are interested and want to learn more about how we can help, I’d like to get together to talk about it a bit. Would this Friday at two work for you?”
Whatever response option you choose, prepare your script, and practice until you can deliver your message in a professional, confident, and friendly tone of voice, without hesitation.
Before making your first sales call of the day, prepare yourself and your environment for the task.
Following Up
After working hard to cover your market, be sure to keep a record of your calls and results. Be sure to plan a callback at a future date to those prospects who indicate an interest, but who can’t meet with you now.
Avoid missed opportunities by doing the following immediately after each call:

  • Record any notes and update the contact’s information on your database. You may be able to do this during the call if you use a headset.
  • Record the date of your appointment and directions (if required).
  • Be prepared to fulfill any commitments made to the contact during your call.

Surprisingly, many sales and service people do not consciously track tasks and calls that they need to follow up. As a result, they struggle to meet their goals every month. Successful sales and service people understand the power in working a warm prospect, and providing prompt and efficient follow up.