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Sales Consulting and Training:

Staying out of Voice Mail

Question: What is the best way to avoid X when doing Y can cause X to happen? 
Answer: Avoid Y

Such a goofy little question can lead to a bit of important insight. Some sales reps get so frustrated by voice mail and the lack of return calls that they avoid voice mail altogether.  While every sales professional needs to be able to work with voice mail, avoiding it can sometimes be a good technique for prospecting or simply going through the sales process. Here are a few simple techniques to help you improve your chances of speaking to your client or prospect:

Call at the Right Time - Many gatekeepers keep regular work hours… 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and everything in-between. The best way to get around a gatekeeper is to call when they’re not answering the phone. Many decision-makers like to come in early or stay late to get work done and don’t require their admins to work the same hours. The best way to reach a prospect is when they are answering their own phone. Another alternative is to call during lunchtime – when the gatekeeper is getting a bite to eat, you can catch the boss while he’s eating at his desk. 

Keep on Calling - Some people are just tough to reach. They’re either tied up in meetings all the time or are just too buried to return calls. The best approach is to keep calling. We’re not talking about placing calls every hour on the hour but simply staying persistent.  It helps to occasionally leave a voice mail but you should at least call a new prospect every day in hopes of tracking them down. Just because they’re not calling back does not mean they’re not interested. They may simply be too busy.

No More Transfers!!! - Who can’t relate with the frustration that comes with getting transferred from one person to another? Cable companies, telephone companies and utilities have, over time, been known for providing customers with this “valued experience.” If you find yourself reaching a gatekeeper, you can let them know that you’ve been transferred around for X amount of time and are getting really frustrated. Ask them if they will put you directly through to your prospect. This technique may get you right in the door. 

Forget Transfers… No More Phone Tag!!! - You may really be missing each other or you may be the only one playing phone tag as you seem to be doing all the tagging. Nonetheless, if you let the gatekeeper know that you keep playing phone tag with your client or prospect, they may let you through. 

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