Repeat Calls Really Do Work
At VSA, we believe in the power of follow-up calls. Depending on the market and level of the decision maker, we typically make between 3 and 8 calls to each prospect on the list. This works for a reason; studies have shown that a prospect needs to hear about a new product or service 10-16 times before taking action toward a purchase.
More importantly, it often takes several calls to actually reach the decision maker. We have found that the more senior the decision maker is, the less frequently he or she will answer the phone directly. However, when we’re inevitably put straight through to the decision maker’s voicemail, instead of hanging up and trying again the next day we leave a personalized, professional message. We want to make a connection with prospects that will leave a positive impression, and craft messages that resonate with our target audience. We have found that leaving well thought out voicemails often leads to return calls from the prospects, and—equally as important—name recognition when we call back.
Here is a recent example from one of our clients: An energy client wanted to set appointments with senior-level decision makers at some of the largest companies nationwide. These are difficult people to reach; we could not get past the gatekeepers who field these calls. But we patiently left voicemails and sent emails, despite limited success at actually speaking with decision makers. After a few weeks of this, we suddenly experienced a shift as decision makers started replying to our calls and emails. Our messages had resonated, and after hearing from the same company a few times the interested prospects found some time to call us back. A combination of compelling and repeated messages helped us set appointments with several high-value targets.
Some will argue that too many repeated calls, or calls made too close together, is off-putting and potentially annoying to prospects. We typically space out our first three follow-up calls by three business days, then increase that to four or seven days in between days for final follow-ups. The objective is to stay in the top of prospects’ minds, remain interesting, and avoid becoming a nuisance. If you keep these goals in mind, leaving personalized messages and making several follow-up calls can help you break through to tough-to-reach decision makers.