- State your name and phone number at both the start and end of your message. That means the prospect doesn't have to listen to your whole message again to get the phone number. Give this information slowly and clearly, spelling your name if there's a chance of confusion.
- Tell the prospect how best to reach you. You don't want to play phone tag with someone you don't know well. If you offer your cell phone number and invite a call after hours if this is more convenient for the prospect, then you're hinting that you consider the call important.
- Let the prospect know that the call will be brief. For example: "I can explain in 10 minutes and then you can decide if there's value in our meeting to discuss the matter further."
If you were referred, state up front why the referral was made. I would advise that you still offer your entree and not simply drop a name. The real value of the referral is when the prospect trusts the one who referred you as having the prospect's interest at heart. So don't let the referring party down; explain why he or she thought the prospect would benefit from talking to you.
Always try to schedule the next meeting or communication. One of the simplest ways to minimize this problem of unreturned calls is, when you're meeting or talking with the client, (1) establish the basis for the next conversation and (2), if possible, schedule it. Otherwise, you may well find yourself in the same predicament--competing for the client's time and attention--when the next contact comes around. If the client won't commit to a next time, that probably tells you something about the likelihood of the relationship developing much further. It could be a sign that your next call won't be returned either.