Can’t get a callback? Maybe it’s your fault. Hello.

Can’t get a callback? Maybe it’s your fault. Hello.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at


The guy wouldn’t return my call,” and 50 variations of the age-old sales dilemma of getting the prospect to respond to the salesperson, is a HUGE frustration. And now with the proliferation of voicemail, it’s even worse.

Imagine the nerve of a prospect not returning your call. Boohoo.

Now what? Give up? Call back until he picks up the phone? Try another route like through the secretary? No. None of the above.

An unreturned phone call isn’t a problem. It’s a symptom. The problem is the prospect is not interested in doing business with you because:

He does not know you, and has no business reason to call you.

He sees no gain for himself (and by the way “saving money” is not a gain it’s a BIG turn off).

He perceives no need.

He is too busy to be bothered.

He perceives he can get (or already has) a better deal elsewhere.

He does not have the money, or the authority to spend it.

He perceives no value in the relationship

He perceives no difference in you no reason to switch from who he’s got.

He does not like or trust you.

He doesn’t want to, feel the need to, or have the guts to tell you no.

BUT the salesperson in his blindness, blames the prospect. Big mistake.

Here’s a letter I just received on the same subject. See if it applies to your problem:

Mr. Gitomer: Regarding voice mail, What do you do in the situation of a cold call or semi-cold call (have met the person briefly) where you get their voice mail, leave a message, and don’t get a callback.

In our company there are two theories:
(1) Tell at some length what services you offer and advantages (plus name, company name, phone number, email) (30-45 seconds).
(2) Just say, “This is Bob Smith; please give me a call at 555-1234.”

I tend to do (1) but this may be the wrong approach. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you!

Neither 1 nor 2 is correct in fact, both are bad.

The first (1) is a message all about you. It’s something that’s intrusive, boring and reeks of selling. People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy. Why drone on about who you are, when you don’t even know if they need what you’ve got?

The second (2) is typical sales manipulation that will piss the customer off if he didn’t want or already has your product. If you’re going to employ a sales trick, at least be creative about it.

So what’s the answer? Good question there are several.

Leave a message that has stuff about their business:

…there are five ways to save money on your copier

…there are three websites you should check out to build your office productivity. I’ll email them to you.

Leave a message that has stuff about them:

…there are three reasons people buy/use … insert facts about the use of your product that helps them build their business.

…a question that provokes response, I’ll call you with the answer.

Have a bit of fun:

Leave half a message and hang up (pretend you got cut off, but be sure you get your phone number on the first half of the message, duh.)

Success Strategy: Get together with other people having the same problem and discuss the wackiest alternatives you can conjure up. Try half of them. I’ll bet they work better than anything you’re doing now. Once you see that creativity works you can refine it to a science.

Voice mail is here to stay. So are people (prospects) who will avoid you. Your success will come with a message strategy that has imagination, creativity, and VALUE. Otherwise you will continue to blame the wrong person for your inability to get a call returned. Hello, big mistake.


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