Two Ways to Get People to Return Your Calls — One of Them Works

Though the following two articles are aimed at salespeople, the advice given — on how to get people to return your calls — can be used by just about anyone. Problem is, one of them gives good advice . . . and the other doesn’t. Take a look to see if you have the same reaction to them that I did.

Here’s the first one: “Every salesperson has run into the problem of not getting the decision maker to return his calls. Here’s a technique some swear by. Send a fax identifying yourself with all your contact information and write something like this: ‘I know you’re very busy and have a really good reason for not returning my call. I’m extremely anxious to know what the reason is.

Please check the appropriate box or boxes and return this form to me. Thank You.

[ ] I’ve been to the moon and haven’t gotten any of your messages.

[ ] I’ve been too busy; call next week.

[ ] I’m not working there anymore; try me at the county jail.

[ ] Please call at ________ am/pm on __/__/__ .

[ ] I don’t like your type and never want to hear from you again.

[ ] Other: ________

“‘Why not give it a whirl? After all, you have nothing to lose.'” Now, here’s the other one: “Sometimes, it’s necessary to leave an impression in order to get the hard-to-reach prospect to get back to you. Try one or all of these: “Insomnia Message. Call his office late at night and leave a message saying you couldn’t sleep because you were thinking about the great deal you had for him. “Who-You’re-Not Message. Make the prospect laugh when you say something like ‘I’m not the IRS, I’m not asking for a job, and I’m not your ex-wife’s lawyer. But I do have something important to talk to you about.’ “Missing-Person Message. Say, ‘You don’t respond to voice mail, and nobody seems to know where you are. I’m very concerned.

If I don’t hear back from you soon, I’m going to file a missing-person report.'” Well . . . which approach do you prefer? I think the first one is terrible. If someone were to send me such a message, I would not respond. Why should I care if some salesman is upset that he can’t reach me? And what kind of nerve does he have to make a lame joke that I might be in jail? This message makes it very clear that the only thing this salesperson is concerned about is himself — how soon he can reach me and how much he can sell me. The second message also takes a humorous approach — but in a very different way.

Instead of telling me that he’s extremely anxious to know why I didn’t return his call, he says he has something important to talk to me about. And he conveys his disappointment in not being able to reach me in deferential terms. (“I’m not asking for a donation, I’m not asking for a job, and I’m not your ex-wife’s lawyer.”) This second example illustrates a principle of selling that too many salespeople ignore — that the process works best when the buyer’s interests are paramount. It’s much more effective. Don’t you agree?