Tag Archives: persistence

The 9 Reasons Why Telephone Prospectors Fail

Telephone prospecting can be tough but sometimes we’re our own worst enemies.

Recently, I have been monitoring dozens of calls by various reps.  I listen and watch as some succeed and others fail. Based on these calls (and hundreds of similar calls over the years)here  is  my  list of nine reasons why tele-prospectors fail to achieve the results they could or should get.

Reason #1: Lack of a Clearly Defined Goal, Objectives and Plan

To succeed in telephone prospecting you need three fundamental components. First, you need a clearly defined goal to help drive you to pick up the phone and prospect. Is to achieve a monetary goal? Is it to build your book of business and minimize future risk?  Is it to save your job? All of these are compelling reasons.

Second, you need specific calling objectives.  Focus on decision maker contacts. If your objective is five new contacts per day, work until you get it.  You might be able to do that in ten or fifteen dials … or it might take thirty.

The third component is a game plan.  Tele-prospectors fail when they don’t block time to make their calls, when they don’t have a list ready to go, when they haven’t prepared a script or call guide, when they haven’t practiced and the list goes on. They wing it and they fail.

Reason #2: Lack of Ambition/Drive

Let’s face it, there’s not a good deal of hope for someone who is indifferent about their success.  If the internal pilot light doesn’t burn bright within you then chances are you’ll fail.  This doesn’t make you a bad person or a flawed individual. It makes you a person who lacks the ambition to succeed in this particular job.  If that’s the case, fin something else you are passionate about and you’ll do better.

Reason #3: Lack of Self Discipline

Perhaps discipline is the key to any form of success. It is the ability to stay the course. Take dieting, for example.  Stick to the diet and exercise program and you’ll lose weight.  Cold calling is the same. Stick to it.  Stick to your strategy and stick to your plan even when every fibre in your body screams “no, don’t do it.” If you do that, you WILL succeed.

Reason #4: Procrastination

Procrastination is that dark little cloud that scuttles across the success horizon.  We put off what we know we must do.  Often we are ‘waiting for perfect.’ Of course, perfect never comes but we convince ourselves it’s just another half hour away. And that’s the real culprit: the self-rationalization of why we didn’t pick up the phone and make the calls.  It’s coming up with lame excuses and then believing them.

Reason #5: Lack of Persistence

Persistence is a close cousin of self-discipline but it refers to giving up too soon.  Instead of making fifty dials we make forty.  Instead of setting a goal of reaching fifteen decision makers we quit when we get to twelve, or thirteen or even fourteen.  Persistence is not following on a prospect four, five or six times but rather settling on two.

Reason #6: Negative Outlook/Attitude

You can almost guarantee that a person with a positive mental attitude will succeed in virtually any endeavor.  A person with a negative mental attitude will invariably fail.  A negative person sees walls, obstacles and barriers with every cold call. Here’s what they say or think: “Oh they won’t be interested,” “Oh, no one is in on Fridays,” “Oh, I wouldn’t want to be bothered this early in the morning,” “Oh, that list is lousy,” “Oh, our competitor has a better price.”  You get the picture.

Reason #7: Lack of Decisiveness

Ever notice how decisive people tend to succeed in almost anything they do. Decisive telephone prospectors don’t hum and haw, they pick up the phone and get at it. They may not like cold calling but they deal with it. They ‘git ‘er done.’  Indecisive people waffle, hesitate, delay.

Reason #8: Lack of Risk

Successful telephone cold callers will take a degree of risk.  Smart risk. They’ll call early in the morning (like 7:00 a.m) or later in the day (like 6 p.m.) and risk the ire of a prospect.  They’ll risk the fact that the prospect has call display but will still may a half dozen, well timed calls.  They’ll do something a little bold like send a bottle of spice, or a cookbook, or a fishing fly hook, or whatever to catch the eye of the prospect.

Successful people have a degree of audacity.  Those who fail, don’t. They play it safe. Always. And they’re left with table scraps … if that.

Reason #9: Poor Company

Those who fail at prospecting tend to hang out with others who are in the same boat. (Did someone say “Titanic?”)  They commiserate with one another.  Misery adores company.  Meanwhile, successful telephone prospectors are phone, dialling, get past gatekeepers, speaking to prospects, setting appointments, getting sales … that sort of thing.


I wish I was perfect. I am not. Far from it. From time to time I fall into one or more of these categories. I know I sometimes procrastinate. Sometimes I lack discipline, and on occasion fail to persist.

But I know that I am doing it. And I take responsibility for it. And it doesn’t last long.

Learn to recognize why you fail and when you do, nip it in the bud … and start succeeding.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #5: Quit Less, Persist More

This is the fifth in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and  achieving sales success.

Tip #5: Quit Less, Persist More

I know that you – the reader- are not a quitter.  I know that you keep plugging away making your prospecting calls on a regular and continuous basis. I know that you do all the things you have to do to be successful even when you don’t want to do them, right?

But there ARE those that quit and that quit too easily and that’s why they’ve lost control of their sales destiny.  There are five reasons why they quit doing the tough stuff.  First, quitting is easy.  Take cold calling, for example.  All you have to do is stop dialing.  No big deal.  Nothing complex.  You stop.  Easy as pie.

Second, let’s face it, quitting is rewarding.  Let’s continue with the cold calling example.  When you quit cold calling you are rewarded because there’s no more monotony, there’s no more rejection, all your frustration vanishes into thin air.

Third, when you quit something there usually isn’t an immediate consequence.  When you quit cold calling even though you haven’t reached your objective, nothing catastrophic occurs.   The net effect of quitting is not readily apparent.  It only shows up some where down the line when your sales pipeline is empty.

Fourth, taking action means change.  You have to change your routine to take control of your sales destiny. Change is sometimes frustrating; downright hard at times.  So we quit rather than change.

Finally, people quit because they don’t know how to take decisive action.

Action Items

Not quitting is sometimes tough. Not quitting means having faith in your strategy (such as having faith that cold calling will yield results).  Not quitting means having discipline.  Easy to say, not always easy to do.

Action #1: Think about (visualize, if you will) the consequences of quitting a particular sales task or activity.   Think of all the ugly, uncomfortable things that could happen on the job, with your boss, and with your career.  Scare yourself.  Understand the worst case scenario.

Action #2: Do the thing you dislike most first.  Let’s stay with cold calling as an example. If you don’t like it, do it first thing in the morning.  That way it doesn’t hang over your head like the Sword of Damocles for the entire day.  (Quick: does anyone even know who Damocles was?)

Action #3:  Do the thing you dislike most well. If you’re going to cold call, do it right or don’t do it at all. Doing it and doing it poorly is the same thing as quitting.  Don’t kid yourself otherwise.


Persistence at tough tasks pays dividends.  Over time it makes you stronger and better. Quit less. Persist more.

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7 “Positive” Reasons Why Your Voice Mail Messages Are Not Being Returned

Do you get discouraged when your voice mail messages are not returned?

Most reps do and they beat themselves up about it.  They convince themselves that the prospects doesn’t care; or that they asked for a quote or proposal because they wanted to get rid of the telephone rep; or that they’ve gone with a competitor who had a better price etc.

It gets so easy to convince yourself that your calls are not being returned for negative reasons that it becomes nearly impossible to pick up the phone and make another attempt.  It gets far easier to quit rather than persist.  But what if all those negative things aren’t happening?  What if your prospect is positive about you and your company/products?  What if something has happened?

Here are just 7 “positive” reasons why your calls might not have been returned and why you should continue to follow up.

1. Your Messages Were Not Received

What if your message wasn’t received because there was some technical error? What if your client has lost his access code and can’t retrieve your message?  What if there was a problem with the voice mail system?  If you think that the message was not received you’ll be more inclined to make another attempt or two.

2. Your Prospect Simply Forgets

You know what? People forget.  Things come up. Minor or major emergencies crop up. Your call drops down the list. Maybe your prospect had every good intention and simply forgot. They’re human after all.

3. Your Message Was Confusing /Convoluted

To me there is nothing worse than a long rambling message.  Most prospects won’t listen to your entire saga of a message and consequently will miss or ignore your request for a call back.  Did you make your message ‘listener friendly?”  If not, call again.

4. You Delivered Your Phone Number so Fast the Prospect Didn’t Catch it

Early last week I had a message from an individual who might be interested in my training services or who might be trying to sell me something.  The message was vague but intriguing and I couldn’t really tell.   The only trouble is I cannot figure out the phone number.  She recited it so fast, so slick and so garbled that I cannot get all the digits despite listening to it several times.  I can’t call her and I haven’t received a follow up call.  She’s probably convinced herself that I’m not interested.  Too bad, because I am.

5. You or Your Prospect Inverted Your Phone Number

I think I am slightly dyslexic.  More times than I would like to admit I have inverted a number or two or three.  Maybe you inverted a number.  Or more likely, maybe your prospect inverted a number when they jot it down.  They called you back and discovered they had the wrong number.  Things like this happen.  So, call and leave another message.

6. Your Prospect  Expects You to Persist

Some prospects don’t make return calls for umpteen reasons. They expect you to do it. If you want their business you need to earn it the old fashion way: with a little effort.  Apply the effort a few more times. Impress them with your keen follow up.

7. Your Prospect is Swamped

Most prospects aren’t sitting back and doing nothing.  They’re busy.  The have a lot on their plate. They haven’t forgotten you they simply have more pressing issues.  They have prioritized their day. Nothing personal, simply business.  So that means you might have to push the envelope a little more and little harder.


There you have it: 7 ‘positive’ reasons why your prospect hasn’t called you back.  There is nothing nefarious behind their failure to call back but rather legitimate and benign reasons.  If you think that way, you’ll be more inclined to pursue the prospect. So pick up the phone and try again.

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10 Tips on How to Change and Change the Way You Sell

Why do sales people find it so difficult to add new skills to their selling process?

Because implementing new skills means adapting; it means change. And as a good rule of thumb, most of us hate change.  It takes us out of our comfort zone.  We resist change even if logically we know that the change will better us.  Change makes us feel awkward, self conscious, and uncomfortable.

Net result?

We do not derive the benefits that the training provided.  The great ideas, tips, techniques and strategies get diluted and sales results more or less stay the same.

Don’t be a victim to change.  By learning to adapt and become a little more flexible you’ll l embrace change and your sales will soar. Here are some thoughts on change to lend perspective and make the process of changing easier.

10  Thoughts on Change

Thought #1: Change is Intimidating

Change can be intimidating. When you are presented with a new skill, you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a chance. You might (in fact, you probably will) fail at your first few attempts. Failure does not make anyone feel good and so we resist trying the new skill to avoid the failure.

Hey, it’s okay to be intimidated. Bur fear the change and change anyway. Know this up front: you will likely stumble and fall and momentarily fail. This is a short term and relatively painless event. It’s kind of like getting a needle from your doctor. It’s not real pleasant but after all is said and done, it’s no big deal.

Thought #2: Change Takes Thought

This is important. Often we attempt the change in skills or tactics without thinking about the process. We just dive in. That’s when things get murky. THINK about what you’re trying to attempt. Plan it out. In some cases, script it out. Draw a mind map or a call guide. Become familiar with the process. Make things easier for yourself by thinking one, two and three steps ahead.

Thought #3: Take Change Slowly

Old joke: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

When I conduct full day training sessions I see how overwhelmed many of the reps become. They seem to think that they have to implement everything on the next call. Not so. Take a technique or two and master that. Don’t worry about the rest.  Then, add another new skill or two and build on what you have learned.

Thought #4: Change Takes Time

Far too many reps give up too soon. They try a technique for an hour or two or maybe even a day or two.  It doesn’t seem to flow smoothly or work effectively so logic tells them to go back to what was comfortable. They give up. They quit. That’s sort of like going on a diet and not losing 10 pounds in two days. Losing weight takes time. So does developing a new skill.

In fact, studies show that it takes about three weeks to create a new habit. It might take you more, it might take  you less but one thing is certain: change takes time. And that’s why you need to think about what it is you are attempting every single time.  You have to be conscious that you are trying a new technique.  It will feel odd at first but given time, the new skill becomes an unconscious action.

Thought #5:  Get Help Changing

Know this: you don’t necessarily have to tackle change on your own. Go to your supervisor, manager, peer or friend and solicit their help.  Ideally, you should have a coach (usually your manager) who can give you feedback – the good kind and the ‘not so good’ kind. The objectivity of a third party can make the change process faster and easier. So raise your hand.

Thought #6:  Cheat Change

Good trainers provide sales reps with a whole host of tools -job aids- to help make the adoption of a new skill easier and faster. Such tangible job aids as pre-call planning sheets, opening statement templates, selling grids and objections charts make change a heck of a lot easier. You can, in effect, cheat change. You can peak at your notes.  See your tools as cheat sheets.  On the phone, no one can see what you have in front of you. Use them!

Thought #7: You Can Change

Guess what? You can change. Anyone can change provided they CHOOSE to change. My observation has been that many sales reps simply give up before they ever try. They defeat themselves mentally. Be positive! Choose success. Choose to change.

Thought #8:  Celebrate Change Successes

Learn to recognize and accept that a change has been positive. For some bizarre reason, some sales reps seem to deny the success. Acknowledge the improvement. Celebrate the success and don’t look back.  Shout to the heavens, “hey, it worked!” Share your success with others.  When you pat yourself on the back you are likely to repeat the effort again and again.

Thought #9:  Change Gets Easier

Here’s the neat thing about change: it gets easier. Every time you add a new skill, it gets that much easier. Part of the reason is that the intimidation factor is reduced with every new success. Another part is because you are mastering a skill or technique… you’re getting better.

Thought #10: Beware the Change Back

Here’s the last and maybe most important thing: the tendency to go back to your old ways will be very strong. Immense.  This is called homeostasis. It’s like a great big magnet that will try to draw you back to where you once were.  You see this a lot with dieters. They loose the weight and then they pack it back on.  Why? Because the reverted to their old eating habits. They got complacent. They lost their discipline.  Same thing in selling.  You’ll discover the tendency to revert to old behaviors if you’re not vigilant.  (This is where a good coach can help keep you focused)


Change usually not ‘fun.’  At times it is frustrating.  But know this: change is good because it allows you to adapt.  If you study the most successful sales reps in any company you will quickly discover that the key to their success is their ability to change when necessary.

So start changing today and watch your sales start growing tomorrow.

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How Many Times Should You Make a Follow Up Call?

Answer: how long is a piece of string?

A piece of string is as long as you cut it. Follow up calls are as long and as many as you make them.  To be effective and successful in following up leads, you need to know when to cut the string. You need to know when to cut it short or when to cut it long.

Too Short

Bottom line? Most sales reps cut their string far too short.

Far, far too short.

They give up far too easily.

I have seen several studies that indicate that any where from 68% to 87% of sales reps give up after their first attempt. I believe it.  Let’s round it off a bit and split the difference and say 80% of sales reps quite after one follow up attempt. One!


On single, solitary attempt.

Too Long

Opposite extreme: can there be such a thing as too many follow up calls?  Can there be strings that are cut too long?

Ya, you betcha there can.

Let’s clear something up right here and now.  There are those out there who talk about persistence and how it is the key to getting the sale. They advocate follow up until the prospect says no.

That’s a load of bull.

Two points:

First of all, it can annoy…gravely annoy your prospect. Far from admiring your pigheaded persistence, you will anger them. You will NOT endear yourself to them. Trust me.

Second, and maybe this is more important, making a series of follow up calls is a waste of time. If I were a sales manager, it would scare the wits out of me if I found a sales rep making ten or twelve follow up calls to each of his prospects.   I would seriously question their common sense.

Granted persistence to the degree I am talking about can pay off. But the number of times you convert the lead is simply not worth the “opportunity cost.” The opportunity cost refers to all the opportunities you forfeited while attempting to call a client who is clearly not interested.

The Magic Number for Follow Up Calls – The Rule of 4

So now we’ve put bookends on the issue and bracketed the string.  So what’s the magic number?

I call it: The Rule of Four.





You make four follow up calls.


  • Because as many as 90% of  sales reps give up after one call.
  • Because about 95-97% of sales reps give up after the second call.
  • Because four is a manageable number.
  • Because four is persistent without being a pain
  • Because precious few (the “vital few”) make four calls
  • Because it can pay off

That’s why.

4 X  3 Timing

Your follow up ‘string’ is all a matter of timing. It is not just making four calls, it is knowing how far to space those calls apart.

Here’s the formula.

You make four calls and space them 3 business days apart from each other.  So if you call  Thursday.  If you haven’t heard from the prospect you make your next call on the following Tuesday and then again on the Friday. Use some sort of planning system – calendar, Outlook, Goldmine…whatever- to schedule the calls.

Why three days?

Because three days gives your prospect enough time to make a call back.  Three days also displays persistence without being overly annoying.  It’s a simple as that.

Exception to the Rule of 4

Are there exceptions?

Of course there are!  If you have spoken with a prospect and it looks like a possible lead, you may want to persist in your follow up…make your string of contacts longer. But you can do so with other mediums to show persistence with some variance (see Volume 3 Issues 25 and 26).  This lessens the annoyance factor. But remember to spread your contacts out.  A daily call or two is the kiss of death.


There are far too many short strings out there.  Manage your string and watch your sales grow.

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The Top 10 Most Annoying Traits of Tele-Prospectors – Are you guilty?

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Tele-prospecting is tough enough without engaging in self destructive tendencies. Here is a list of the 10 most annoying traits of tele-sales reps. Are you guilty of any of these traits? Not sure? Ask someone you trust.

#1: “How are you today?”

Prospects rank this as their #1 complaint of telephone reps. The overwhelming majority of those surveyed feel it is trite and insincere and a complete waste of time. It immediately makes them weary and defensive.  What a lousy way to start a call. Since they don’t like it, don’t use it. It’s that simple.

#2: Butchering their name

Prospects hate it when you butcher their name. While it is true that some names are complex and the prospect is used to it, imagine how impressed they will be if you master the name. You do that by calling someone else in the company and asking them for the proper pronunciation. Practice. Write it phonetically. Practice some more. Get it right. Nail it.

3. Presenting in a monotone.

A lifeless and lack luster delivery of your opening statement is a one-way ticket to disaster. The prospect senses that you are bored or unprepared in a split second. Over 80% of your telephone communication is through the tone of your voice. Remember that! Be conscious of your tone before you pick up the phone. The three second you take to say to yourself “Stay up beat,” will pay dividends.

4. Beating around the bush.

Prospects say that many telephone reps fail to get to the point of the call quick enough; they beat around the bush. The prospect gets confused and impatient. The call becomes an intrusion. Get to the point. You do that by using this trigger phrase, “Sandy, the reason for my call is ….”  This simple phrase provides direction and focus in the clients mind. Subconsciously they are relieved because they understand.

Of course, you don’t have to be blunt and say, “The reason for my call is to sell you product X.” Be more subtle, “Sandy, the reason for my call is ask you some questions, get a feel for your situation, and see if there may be an opportunity to…”

5.  Not presenting a benefit.

While some reps are capable of getting to the point, many have failed to delineate the benefit to the client. The benefit is what gets the prospect to tune, listen and listen longer. This is the difference between a mediocre opening statement and great opening statement. If you can reduce expenses, say so. If your service will improve productivity, tell them up front.  If you can improve revenues, let them know.

To carry on with the example in #5 you might say, “…and to see if there might be an opportunity to reduce your acquisition costs.”

6.  Not getting the prospect involved.

No one likes or wants a monologue. The client needs to be engaged to feel part of the process. This means asking questions, getting agreement and seeking acknowledgement so that there is a two-way dialog. This is why it’s a heck of an idea to say the reason for you call is “to ask a few questions to get a feel for your situation…” It alerts the client that the call is about THEM and not you. Once you’ve provided your benefit, ask your first question. Get them involved early.

7.  Not answering a question.

Prospect despise it when they ask you a question or toss out an objection and you ignore it or you skate around by not answering the question directly.  They feel you are hiding something and the instantly, instantly distrust you.  Why risk that? Have your replies prepared.

8. Interrupting

Prospects complain about tele-sales reps who interrupt them with slick answers or more features. When your prospect talks, you listen. Don’t interrupt. Hear them out. Evaluate what they saying. Let them finish. Then, and only then, should you respond.

9. Sarcasm and Rhetoric

Tele-sales reps can blow a sales opportunity by the use of sarcasm or by the ridiculous use of rhetorical questions such as, “You want to save money, don’t you?” or “You’re a smart shopper, aren’t you?  Or “If I could show you a way to save 10% would you take a moment to listen…”Or, “Well, if you’re not interested in reducing the cost of your deliveries, that’s fine by me.” Further comment is unnecessary, right?

10. Not knowing when to quit.

In B to B (much less in B to C), most decision makers will cut you some slack because they know you are doing your job but do not push it. After the third ‘smokescreen objection’ (i.e., the objections seems patently false) you should probably cut you losses

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How to Use E-Mail and Voice Mail to Get a Return Call From Your Prospects

Are you frustrated by the lack of response to your voice mails and the impact it has on your cold calling efforts?

You can increase your odds of getting a return call by integrating e-mails with your voice mails. Here is a simple, easy to use 3-Step combination that you can adapt and use in virtually any industry.  It combines polite persistence with a touch of humor to compel the prospect respond.

Step #1: 10 Minutes of Your Time Voice Mail and E-mail Combo

Assuming that you have made several attempts to reach your prospect live, the first step in the process is to leave a simple voice mail message using the template below. The key to the message is the request for a 10 minute chat:

“Hey Dan, This is Mike Wray calling from Logistical Shippers. We work with freight handlers who are frustrated with late and delayed shipments. Dan, the reason for my call is to arrange a brief, 10-minute chat to learn more about your situation and to see if we can reduce some of the hassle associated with shipping delays.  Please call me at ____. In the meantime, I’ll send you a brief e-mail.”

The subsequent e-mail you send echoes the voice mail message by providing a visual message to the  audio message you left.  It begins with a good subject line,

Re: Dan, request for 10 minutes of your time

The subject line contains the prospect’s name and references a ‘request’ for 10 minutes of time. It not only echoes the voice mail message it creates a degree of curiosity especially if the prospect has not yet heard of the voice mail i.e., ‘what request?’ ‘Did I miss something?’

The body of your e-mail should contain elements of your voice mail:

“Dan, as I mentioned in my voice mail, we work with freight handlers who are frustrated with the hassle that delayed shipments can cause. We have a simple solution that virtually eliminates these headaches.

Could we chat for about 10 minutes so that I can better understand your situation and needs, and to see if we might be able to make your job a heck of a lot easier?

My number is _______ or simply  reply with a time and date.”

The  e-mail provides a lot of ‘teasing copy.’ It references both the ‘pain motivator’ (frustrated and hassle) and the ‘gain’ motivator (a heck of a lot easier) without belaboring either.

Step #2: 8 Minutes of Your Time Voice Mail E-Mail Combo

Persistence is the key to make this process work. Wait three days for a response before leaving your second voice mail/e-mail combo. Three days courteously gives the prospect enough time to reply and helps avoid the “stalking syndrome” that typically occurs if you follow up too soon.

Hi Dan, Mike Wray calling from Logistical Shippers.  Dan, I am following up on the e-mail left about setting up a telephone appointment to review your freight handling needs. I asked for 10 minutes of your time but I suspect you’re busy – perhaps dealing with a late shipment or two. Kidding aside, how about 8 minutes of your time?

I’ll send you a quick e-mail with some additional information. In the meantime, my number is…”

It is vital that the tone of your voice is light and easy. Notice the request for time has diminished to 8 minutes. It’s a light hearted message that acknowledges the importance of the client’s time.  Also notice the fun little jest, “dealing with a late shipment or two.’ This is a brief reminder of a possible motivator.

The e-mail follow up continues the theme in the subject line:

“Dan, how about just 8 minutes of your time?”

As you can see, reduced time request is emphasized once again. This is deliberate. It’s what makes the message unique and catches the eye. It also has a playful ring to it. The body of the e-mail looks like this:

“Dan, I know how busy things are  in the freight business. I deal with handlers every day…so I’ll only ask for 8 minutes of your time instead of ten.

In that time, perhaps we might be able to explore some ways to help streamline freight tracking and delivery.

Sound reasonable?

In the meantime, my number is _____ or simply reply to this message.”

The message is very brief and colloquial in nature. “Sound reasonable?” is an incomplete sentence but it gives it that ‘off the cuff and no big deal’ flavor to the message.

Step # 3: 5 Minutes of Your Time Voice Mail/E-Mail Combo

The final step in the strategy is to wait another 3 business days and give the prospect time to respond. If that doesn’t happen your third voice mail/e-mail combo should follow the same pattern as the first two messages by making an easy quip about the time


“Hi Dan, it’s Mike Wray calling from Logistical Shippers.

Okay, it sounds like you’re super busy so here’s my one last shot. How about 5 just minutes of your time AND I promise you it will be the best 5 minutes you spend this month. My number is…”

There are a three things at work here. First, is your persistence. You have made two sets of five follow up contacts spaced about six business days apart. By now the prospect will realize you are tenacious.

Second, you create ongoing interest – and maybe even amusement- by whittling away the time that you’re requesting.

Third, is the sincere promise of the chat being “the best 5 minutes you’ll spend this month.” Delivered with conviction, this is a bold and confident statement. Let the prospect hear it.

The follow up e-mail has the following as a subject line:

Re: Okay Dan, here’s my last shot: only 5 minutes of your time?”

If your prospect reads nothing else, he’ll read the subject line and rememberyou. But your subject line also reveals a graceful way of saying you won’t pursue himbeyond this message. This can help buy some good will and perhaps urge the prospect to respond.

The body of the message does not have to be elaborate but it should maintain the easy nature of your earlier messages.

“Dan, here’s my last kick at the can: 5 minutes of your time.

No more.


But kidding aside, if you can spare just 5 minutes of your time there is a very good chance that we can help reduce or eliminate the hassle and headaches of delayed shipments.

Using a simple process, we take the checking and verifying out of your hands and put it into ours. It’s all we do. And that gives you time to work on other more significant matters.

5 minutes?

Please give me a call at ________ or simply reply to this e-mail. Otherwise I will call you next quarter.

Note the layout of the message. Short sentences. Lots of white space. Easy to quickly read and understand. The ‘look’ of your e-mail reflects what a quick 5-minute look might feel like.  Also take note that there is a reference to the solution you offer. It’s not a pitch but just a broad overview. And finally, the message points out that if there is no reply, you’ll call next quarter. In effect, you are saying this is the last chance they have to respond.


This process works. It’s been ‘borrowed’ from IT specialist Brian Borrows who explains that he gets a 30% response rate. This is not surprising.  The process combines persistence with creativity. It’s easy going, amusing, and gentle.  It creates a one-two punch by marrying the power of audio messages with the power of visual message. Because it is a process, you can use it repeatedly with virtually every prospect as long as you change the name. This saves you time and effort.

Take the time to adapt this process to your situation. It requires a little thought and effort but the return can be significant

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