I’m struggling to receive returned calls. I follow up over and over. Calls, emails, and inmail on LinkedIn – nothing works. What am I missing? How do I get a call back? – Johanna in Brandon, Manitoba
How do sales people improve the likelihood of receiving a returned call from their prospects? This is the million-dollar question. Seasoned professionals, like myself, have discovered a number of methods, strategies, and tactics that consistently outperform the tired and valueless general follow-up. Below I share my most effective techniques on how you can significantly boost your returned calls and emails.
First and foremost, are you reaching out to the right person? Understanding who your ideal client is and what they need, want, or lack will help you answer this question. Begin at the top of the food chain with the key decision-makers. Invest your valuable time with the individuals who will have a vested interest in realizing the benefits of your product or service and who have the power to seal the deal.
It’s also important to consider your intent. How can you help your prospect and their organization? What are the opportunities you bring to the table? And how do you speak to their values? Having a clear understanding of your intent will feed your enthusiasm and passion to share the rewards of your solution.
My first two tips above clearly illustrate the importance of planning and preparation. Oprah Winfrey says it so eloquently: “I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.” In the simplest terms, this means knowing what you are going to say before you send the email or make the call.
To accomplish your objectives, first you must identify what they are. Are you adding a building block to your relationship? Are you seeking a meeting to present your offering or important breakthroughs? Is this your initial call of discovery? Match your purpose to your prospect’s “why.” Why should they be interested? How will you be of service?
A key component of preparation is rehearsal. Practice and repetition build familiarity and confidence. This is not about reading or writing from a script. Please don’t! A script is a learning tool to gather your thoughts and articulate your solution. Embrace your authentic self to communicate credibility. Respect the powerful process of incorporating your pitch into your DNA.
Another key component of your preparation is anticipating the probable responses you will receive. In doing this, you can formulate your response in advance so you know the key points to communicate. Considering the prospect’s possible objections and deflections provides you the confidence to respond with clarity. This will also help you identify additional discovery questions to create a dialogue with your prospects.
Every time you reach out to a client or prospect, you should be delivering value. I have learned that by delivering value, I set myself apart from the competition. The prospect’s perception is significantly influenced when I deliver relevance to the equation. Providing value comes in many forms, such as sharing best practices, emerging risks, breakthrough results, industry trends, and competitor insights.
Start every email or phone call with the key value and purpose of the communication. The structure should be in the form of a pitch sentence. This breaks through the noise and speaks directly to the relevance of your offering. Follow with easily digestible bullet points. When on a call, pause and stop speaking, allowing the recipient a chance to formulate a response and create a dialogue. Finally, end with a minimal actionable commitment, your name, and your company. When on the phone or leaving a voicemail, speak clearly with an even pace. Remember: It’s not a race!
Check the resonance of your email subject line or initial pitch for phone calls with the free CoSchedule tool. Plus, their free message analyzer may help you construct an optimized message with more connectivity and traction.
My final thoughts on receiving a surge of returned calls and emails include never starting with “I’m just following up.” Or anything like that! Leverage my expert advice to craft a strong message. The number one thing is to remain persistent through regular contact. Your tenacity is powerful and cannot be understated. In my years of experience, I have found the strength of persistence. Although the prospect has not answered or responded to my emails or voicemails, when we do connect, they recognize who I am. They often start the conversation with, “I have been meaning to reach out to you.” With each call and email, I am building relational capital with the prospect. It’s a great foundation to build a long-term relationship.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.