Today, nobody seems to be around to answer their phones. You spend time coldcalling, and all you get are voice-mail messages. You know people don't bothercalling back if they think it's a sales call.

Because I kept running into this situation, I decided I had to leave avoice-mail message that would encourage prospects to call back. I found the bestresults came when I called people who are members of identifiable groups likethe Chamber of Commerce. I could reference the group and gain some legitimacyfor my call. My message goes something like this:

"I was looking at the Chamber membership list and saw your company's listing, and I was wondering exactly what your company does. Please give me a call back."

Most prospects can't resist this opportunity to talk about their favoritething--their company--so they call me back. Now I've made contact, andmy next task is to build rapport. I ask several questions about their company,what they do and how they do it. I never start talking about my company'sproducts and services unless they ask. I keep the focus on the prospects. By theend of the conversation, one of three things has happened:

  • I've established enough rapport so I can call these prospects back and be reasonably certain they will take my call.
  • The prospects express interest in my products and services, and I may be able to sell them something right away.
  • The prospects give me a referral.

Any of these options is fine with me.

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