What To Do With Prospects That Don’t Answer The Phone

What To Do When Prospects Don't Answer

If you’ve done any cold market prospecting, you’ve experienced this.  Probably a lot…

You met a new person, made a friend, opened the door about your opportunity, and got a positive response!  They told you they’re open, and would love to hear more about what you have going on.  You’re totally excited, because you feel like you’ve made a connection, and have a real prospect!

So, you swap numbers, and set a good time to followup with a phone call or a meeting…

Then you call… and they don’t answer.

Or you show up at the time you set with them… and they don’t show.

They’re AWOL.

Vanished.

Off the map.

And you’re left wondering what the heck happened.  What went wrong?

First of all, understand that this is going to happen sometimes.  It doesn’t matter how “good” you are… everyone gets “phantoms”… people who show interest but then disappear.

However, there’s a couple things you can keep in mind to help reduce how often this happens, waste less of your time, put less stress on yourself, and get more end results from a smaller number of prospects.

Let’s back up just a second to the actual moment of prospecting.  The majority of this has to do with understanding two things.

#1:  Who are you prospecting?

Understand that there are some people that just don’t have the accountability to do what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it.

There’s just a lot of people in that category. It’s unfortunate, and it’s discouraging, but it’s also part of what we do.  We teach people these kind of skills and values.  We can’t take for granted that all people have the same sense of accountability that you do… because, the reality is, a lot of people don’t.  You have to prepare yourself for that and understand it is just a reality.

Another thing is, some people are so averse to any confrontation, that they’d rather just say “yes,” because it’s easier than saying “no,” even if they’re really not interested.

If you pay attention to the conversation, body language, and other signs from your prospect when you’re engaging them, experience will teach you.  You’ll start to get a feel for who is sincere, and who may be just pulling your chain.  Don’t let them kid you.  Be kind and polite, but be honest and firm.  Don’t be afraid to take it away if you get the feeling that they’re not really serious about learning more.

Saying something like, “You know, I’m getting the sense that you may not really be open right now.  That’s totally cool, and I don’t want to waste either of our time if you’d rather take a pass on learning more,” can be a very powerful way to filter out these kind of folks, and create a stronger attraction from those who truly want to connect with you.

#2:  What’s your “energy” like when you’re prospecting?

The energy with which you carry your conversation, make your offer, and set the appointment is extremely important.  In fact, it’s far more important than what you actually say.  I’m not talking about energy as in “being excited,” although that certainly is part of it.  I’m talking about the general feeling, attractiveness, an “mojo” you’re giving off.  Here’s a few things to keep in mind to try to take the mystery out of this:

1.  Be enthusiastic, but not hyper.  People are attracted to excited people who are going somewhere, but you also don’t want to act like a circus monkey.  That’s just scary,

2.  Be relaxed.  Very relaxed.  Keep things casual.  Don’t turn in to “captain professional” or try to go for the close before you’ve even gotten the opening.  Professional people who are already on the grow don’t act hungry.  Be that person that is already so confident in their success that they don’t need to exaggerate it.  Now, there is such a thing as being so casual that you never actually generate sincere interest.  However, most people err on the side of hyper, agitated or nervous, which is totally natural.  This is why I don’t think most of you need to worry about being “too relaxed”.

3.  Don’t change the energy when you make your approach.  This is so common, and I was massively guilty of it.  Once we get comfortable carrying conversations, lots of us change the tone once we decide to make a business approach.  Your voice might change tone.  The general structure of your speech and sentences change.  Your body language tightens up.  All of this sends warning signs to  your prospect, whether consciously or subconsciously.  STAY RELAXED, and be consistent in your demeanor through the process.  The trouble is, if this happens, you may still get phone numbers because people liked you at first, but they don’t answer because the last experience they had with you felt weird.

Everybody “says” they’re open…

Remember, just because they said they are open to an opportunity, doesn’t mean they are looking for real. Everybody these days knows that they are broke! Everybody knows these days that they ‘should’ be looking to make a change.

Nobody wants to say ‘I’m broke and I’m too stupid to be looking for anything different.’

Everybody is going to tell you, if you have positive energy, ‘yeah, I am open to learning about something new.’

But are they really?  You don’t know yet.

So, when I am making cold market prospecting, I really like to qualify them, or lay a “carrot” out there to make sure they are serious.

First, check for openness.

I might say something like this “standard” approach for starters:

Hey, let me ask you something. You come across as being really sharp, and obviously have some managerial skills. I’m expanding a business team in the area right now. By chance, would you be keeping your options open for some additional income, if it wouldn’t interfere with what you have going on already?

Of course, people usually say yes, because again, it’s like asking them ‘Are you stupid?’ and nobody wants to say they are stupid by saying they aren’t open to other income opportunities.

But I’m not done yet…

Next, schedule the call.

I like to set a time when we both are available for the call, rather than just leave it up in the air.  That way, I’m playing less phone tag.

Well awesome, I’ll tell you what. When would be a good time I could get a hold of you? What do you have going on this evening?

How about we talk for 5 minutes at 7 o’ clock this evening?

Make sure they can recognize it’s you.

A lot of times, people ignore phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize.  I know I usually do!

So, when I ask for their number, I take my phone out. I put their number in, and then I call them, hold my phone up, and then tell them:

Ok, now you’ve got my number, go ahead and put that in there with my name, so when I call you at 7 o’ clock tonight you’ll recognize it.

Then, add some accountability.

This is a key step to help ensure people answer when you call, but you need to watch your “mojo” on it.  Smile… stay relaxed… Be confident, but charming.  You don’t want to come off too arrogant or pushy.  In fact, I sometimes even chuckle a bit when I deliver this one to help soften it’s impact.

I want to ask you something. You’re going to answer for sure, right?  I’m sure you hate phone tag as much as I do, and I don’t want to waste either of our time.  If I call you tonight, you’re going to be available right?

Don’t be afraid to put that on somebody in a positive way. You aren’t trying to put the screws to them, but you want to reiterate how important this is in a positive and fun way.

I like to set some real expectations for that call. The energy and the positivity and the accountability you put up front is going to increase your number of people who are going to answer.

(I encourage you to also watch the video at the bottom of this post to hear the tone of voice I use.)

If you call that prospect and they don’t answer:

Leave a simple message, something like this:

Hey, this is Jason. We were set for 7 o’ clock. You told me you were going to answer for sure, so what’s up man?! (Insert big smiley face in your tone of voice here.)

I hope everything is ok, I’m sure something came up, otherwise we would be talking right now. So give me a call back, I’ll be around for the next 10-15 minutes and you can call me back. If not, shoot me a text, let me know when we might be able to reconnect. Talk soon.

That’s it. If I don’t hear back from them, I wait about 48 hours.

I keep a list of what’s going on with prospects and where I am in the process with them.  Now, a lot of people tell you ‘Just move on to the next prospect.’  I think you miss a lot that way.  You don’t just want to write them off.  I figure, if I’ve done the work and I’ve met a new prospect, I am going to take as much opportunity as I can to try to move that prospect into the next step, without being desperate or pushy.

The reality us, most people are “busy,” scatter-brained, and have stress in their life.  They may not have the same level of accountability that you or I do yet.  Just because they didn’t answer the first time doesn’t mean they’re not a good prospect, or that they’re definitely not interested.

I give them the benefit of the doubt, and try to help them move along as a coach and a friend.  If after a certain period of time they don’t respond, well, there’s nothing I can do about it.  But, I’m willing to invest a little more in that person.

48 hours later I might call them back a second time and say:

Hey, this is Jason. I haven’t heard back from you and I’m starting to get the feeling that you weren’t as serious as you indicated when we talked. But if that’s not true, I look foward to hearing back from you. I’ll tell you what:  I’ve got a lot going on this week, so if you can give me a call back, we’ll set something up.  Otherwise, I’ll try to get a hold of you sometime next week.  Have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon.

Something like that. Then, if I don’t hear back from them after this second message, I’m leaving at least a week. Then, I’m going to call them back a third time.

The third call goes something like this:

Hey, what’s up. This is Jason. We met and talked last week. I got to tell you, this is the last message I’m going to leave ya. I would really love to connect, and I do think you have a lot of potential with what we are doing, but we have so much going on right now, and we have other candidates to work with, so I really don’t have time to keep following up with you.  But, I would love to give you the opportunity to see what is going on here if you’re serious. If you’re not, that’s totally cool.  No problem.   If you wouldn’t mind just shooting me a text to let me know ‘hey, I’m out,’ I would appreciate it. Either way, if I don’t hear back from you after this message, I’m not going to be calling you anymore, I’ve got to move on. So, it was great meeting you I wish you the best of luck. Have a great one.

And it’s three strikes you’re out. If I don’t hear back from them after the three messages, I’m done.  They’re off the list.

Now how much time is this taking me?

Not much at all!  Seriously.  How long does it take to leave a 15 second message?

‘Aren’t you chasing a prospect?’

I’m not chasing a prospect, I’m following up. If this was sales in any other business, they would tell you ‘Follow Up ‘Till You Drop!’  I’m at least doing it three times and it’s worth that to me. Again, I’m investing in that person.

Doesn’t all of this take a bit of finesse and skill?

Yes, it does.  And that comes from confidence and practice.  That’s it.  There’s no shortcut I know of.  You have to be willing to foul it up, get better, foul it up some more, get better, than maybe get “ok” at it, get better… you get the idea.

A lot of these scripts are transcribed from the video below, and I encourage you to check it out.  Notice the tone of voice and the delivery of the words.  This is far more important than the words themselves!  Remember, it’s not as much what you say as how you say it.

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About the Author Jason

Jason is a 3rd generation network marketer and founder of Network Marketing Accelerator. He and his family are collaboratively responsible for generating a multiple 7-figure income in their network marketing businesses. A coach and mentor to hundreds of successful business owners across multiple verticals, Jason is also a co-founder of OuterBox Solutions, a premier eCommerce Web Design firm.