I received the following email from regular reader of my Top 20% Ezine:
Good morning Mike, Bob Martin here in Denver.
Mike, I wanted to thank you for your e-mails like this one I get from you, I’m a huge fan and have learned so much from you over the years. If you’re looking for topics, I have one to suggest:
You know what I’d so much like for you to share your wisdom with us on? How to deal with a horrid issue these days, people who hide behind their e-mail and voice mail and ignore you, won’t reply, won’t engage, makes me crazy! Besides being rude it’s unprofessional. Sad commentary on our business environment today. I’ve tried enticing them with new information, using curiosity. I recall a webinar I was part of with you and another trainer where she suggested a “voice mail campaign” great idea and yet…not much results, What suggestions would you share with your following on how best to handle such a frustrating problem?
Take care Mike, have a great 2015!
Bob Martin I Account Executive
Bob – thanks for the topic, and, yes, this is a frustrating problem, but one you CAN do something about. Here are some suggestions:
1) If this is a regular problem, then the first thing you need to do is make sure you’re qualifying properly. Many times, when you’re speaking to influencers (and are unclear of how much influence they actually have), they are quicker to put you off and not return calls. The reason for this is that they’re not directly invested in the outcome. So the solution is to make sure you know their role, and, if possible, get through to the decision maker in the beginning.
2) If you can’t do this – or even when you get through to the decision maker – get a commitment and an appointment from them to reconnect with you to give you an update. The important thing here is to let them know that even if they don’t have an answer yet, or if that answer is they aren’t interested, it’s still important for them to let you know that. Tell them you simply want to know how to follow up appropriately, and you’ll need some sort of an answer so you can do that. Tell them you can take a no as well as a yes, but it’s important that they commit to take a follow up call.
3) Also, get an idea of their schedule and when they’re almost always at their desk and available to speak for five minutes. Simply ask, “(Prospect), if I need to connect with you briefly, what is almost always the best time to just have a five minute check in call with you? In other words, when are you almost always at your desk and available?” Write these times down and call during those hours.
4) If they don’t make the agreed upon appointment time, then send them an email that includes these elements: “Sorry, I missed you…” “I don’t want to keep calling or emailing you, so when you read this, please simply send me a reply letting me know where this stands – even if you have no new information yet…” “Much appreciated and I’ll follow up based on what I hear back from you.”
5) Let as much as four days go by before you reach out to them again. Try calling a couple of times during the times she/he told you before. If you don’t hear from them in seven to nine days, send another email simply asking if they got your last email. That’s it.
6) Two weeks or so, after you’ve followed the protocol above, use the “Should I Stay or Should I Go Email” below.
Subject line of the email is: “Should I stay or should I go?”
“_________ I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:
1) You’ve already chosen another company for this and if that’s the case please let me know so can I stop bothering you,
2) You’re still interested but don’t have enough information or the time to get back to me yet.
3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up and in that case please let me know and I’ll call 911 for you…
Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to worry… Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Honestly, all kidding aside, I understand you’re very busy, and the last thing I want to do is be pain in the neck once a week. Whether you’ve just been busy, gone another direction, or don’t quite have an answer yet, I would appreciate it if you would take a second to let me know so I can follow up accordingly. Thanks in advance…”
This email gets about a 60% return rate. If this doesn’t work for you, then take that as an answer and move on!
Bob (and all others), if you follow the advice above, you’ll dramatically increase the amount of responses you’ll get from your prospects. If anyone reading this has any other suggestions, please email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org