1. Ask the gatekeeper: “When is the best time to reach (prospect’s name)?” Call back then.
2. Vary your calling times. If you are only reaching voice mail you have no way of ascertaining when your prospect will be available. If you always make your calls at the same time of day, vary your routine. Call at different times throughout the day and throughout the week
3. Ask for alternate phone numbers for your prospect. Ten years ago prospects generally only had one office line. Today there are a myriad of ways to reach prospects: cell phones, home office phones. Your prospect might have another office location and of course, there is always email.
4. If possible, block your phone number. Depending on the state in which you live and of course, your work situation, you may be able to block your phone number from showing up on a prospect’s caller ID. If you can block your number this will allow you to call a prospect more frequently as your prospect will not know it is you calling. Do not over do this.
5. Call the extension with one number up or down from your prospect’s number. The idea here is that you might reach someone who sits near or has an office near your prospect. Ask: “When is the best time to reach (prospect’s name)?” “What time does (prospect’s name) come in?” “What time does (prospect’s name) take lunch?” “How late is (prospect’s name) usually in?”
6. Dial 0 for help. Usually at the end of an outgoing message is a statement like, “If you need additional or immediate help dial…” or “To reach someone else in the company dial…” Take advantage of this. You might have to leave a message so that the system will let you move onto the next step. If you don’t want to leave an actual message you can simply say, “OK” which will be recorded and then allow you to move on. As in #5, ask the person that you reach for help.
7. Send your prospect an e-mail and attach a “read receipt.” Keep your e-mail open. When you receive the read receipt back, try calling your prospect.
8. As a last resort, if you absolutely must reach a particular prospect, ask if she can be paged.
© 2009 Wendy Weiss