Success Thoughts:  It's Not The Customer's Job To Return Your Phone Calls
Jeffrey Mayer  (  04-02-2004)  

"Voice mail messages. Nobody ever returns my voice mail messages. I'm on the phone all day long. Leaving messages. 
But nobody calls me back.

"What am I doing wrong?"

Stephanie was telling me her tale of woe. She's not closing enough sales. Not making quota. And she thinks her problem stems from not getting her phone calls returned. 

Have you - or people in your company - been having the same problem?

Let me ask you two questions: 

1. Is it the customer's job to return your phone call? or 

2. Is it your job to reach your customer and give him a compelling reason to do business with you?

If you answered #1, you gave the wrong answer. 

Somewhere along the way we've gotten our priorities mixed up. We think that by leaving dozens of voice mail messages 
we're selling. We are not.

First off, when you're calling someone you've never spoken to you need to have a great Elevator Speech. A brief description of who you are and what you do. 

An Elevator Speech is short and concise - under 10  seconds - and rolls off your tongue.

A great Elevator Speech is important because it encourages conversation and keeps the person you're calling from saying "Thank you very much. We don't need any. Bye!"

Secondly, it's your job to get the customer on the phone and sell yourself. 

Think about this for a moment. How many phone calls do you get each day from people trying to sell you something? How many of them do you return?

And even if people did return your phone call, what's the likelihood you'll be available to answer the call? Chances are you're out of the office, in a meeting, away from your desk, or on the phone yourself. 

So if you choose to leave a voice mail message do it for the purpose of introducing yourself to the customer, but don't expect him to call you back. Then call back in a day or two.

Better yet, if you don't leave a message you can try again later in the day.

This brings up another point: Some people are not reachable. You probably have a bunch of them in your database. 

These are the folks who are always in meetings, on the phone or away from the office. They never return calls. Don't respond to letters, faxes or e-mail. And are for the most part unreachable.

If you should be fortunate enough to get them on the phone, they say something like, "I'm in a meeting now. Could you call tomorrow." 

And you're all excited because you think you've got yourself a real prospect and are finally going to close that BIG case. When you arrive at the office the following morning the first thing you do is call this 'wonderful' prospect that you've been trying to reach for months. 

The phone rings and rings. Finally you get a voice mail recording that says "I'll be on vacation for the next two weeks and 
will be returning on Monday the 19th." 

Like he forgot about his vacation when you spoke with him the day before... Right!!!  He was just blowing you off.

Instead of calling these people over and over, draw a line in the sand. Try to reach them a certain number of times. Five. Seven. Ten. Fifteen. You set the limit. 

If you're unable to get through, it's time to move on and look for a new prospect. 

Which leads me to my third point. Look for new prospects. It's too easy to get trapped into calling the same people over 
and over again. 

Call people you've never spoken to before. Get out of your comfort zone. Work to improve your cold calling and telephone techniques.

Over the past few months Stephanie's been working the phone.  She's got her Elevator Speech down. She's not leaving voice mail messages. She's calling new people. And she's closing more sales.