The Callback Conundrum: What to Say.

CALLBACKS: Script Strategies For Those Follow-up Calls.

A successful appointment setter who has been using my system for about six months wrote me and asked, “I have followed your other advice, but I am not sure of what to say – why am I calling back the prospect again, etc? For example, the prospect and I had a short conversation that resulted in some relationship building, but I could not get the appointment then. What are some things I can say when I call back to give it another shot?”

First, you do not call someone back merely because some schmo who will never buy from you asked you to. You are in charge of your time and you don’t invest it merely because maybe… possibly… under some circumstances… you MIGHT get an appointment and a new account.

There are three prerequisites to a follow-up call and a scripting strategy that you must use. Let me share them.

Note: all of this is more thoroughly covered in the book, seminar-in-a-box and the live seminars.

Prerequisite #1: You tried hard to DISQUALIFY THEM on the initial call.

This is counter intuitive. You are not trying to keep it alive you are trying to kill it. Frustrated appointment setters in low productivity land are wimps who call back anybody with a pulse and spend way too much time in “maybeland.” Successful appointment setters only call back with good reason. Remember, this is really about closing worthwhile accounts, not setting appointments.

Example: They ask you to call back after your initial 30-second set the appointment pitch. Your response goes something like this…

“Sure, I would be happy to call you back. When would you like me to call?”

“30 days? Sure. May I ask why you would like a call at that time?”

Now you listen. If they give you a non-specific, no reason, general BS answer, you respond with something like this…

“I could do that, but let me say this… we do a lot of this… companies like A, B and C use us because of benefits 1, 2 and 3. If you don’t think it would be worthwhile for us to schedule a time to meet in 30 days just tell me and I won’t be on your back.”

If they respond with a specific good reason to call back answer – call them. If they don’t, just be direct. Tell them it doesn’t sound like a mutually beneficial time to schedule a meeting. At this point, assuming they meet prerequisite #2, you would have two options, see prerequisite 3.

Prerequisite #2: Make sure they fit the profile of a good account.

Meaning……… that they share many of the characteristics of your best accounts. You look to SIC codes, employee ranges and revenue ranges and only call those who look like your best accounts. If they don’t share those characteristics you shouldn’t have called them in the first place.

BIG BIG mistake made commonly by frustrated appointment setters in low productivity land is to spend way too much time calling suspects who fall outside of their best account profile because they “don’t want to miss anyone.” Very dumb.

There are usually far more good quality suspects to call than you have time to call. Don’t spend time calling lower probability lower value suspects when you could be spending the same time calling high probability higher value suspects.

Hopefully, you have setup your contact manager, imported contact data and asked qualifying and probing questions of gatekeepers in earlier calls such that you know whether someone is an “A” (your highest probability highest value suspects) or closer to a “C” (an average value.)

If you don’t know you need to ask a frew questions to make sure they are not a “D” or an “E.” Point here is that unqualified low value callbacks drag you into the muck. Slowly but surely, bit by bit, these go nowhere calls eat up more and more of your time. If you know someone is an “A” or “B” you will try harder to see if a valid callback is in order. If they are a “C,” you may not try as hard. And if they are a “D” or an “E,” bye bye.

Prerequisite #3: The Magic Question or Plan B

If they are not a legitimate callback candidate worthy of your time right now, what do you do? You have two choices and depending upon your preferences and script paths you may choose one or both.

The first option is very simply the magic question. They say “No” and they don’t meet your criteria for a callback. But, you need to find out if there is a better time in the future for you to call and set up a meeting or next step. So ask.

“Ms. Prospect, doesn’t seem like this would be a mutually beneficial time to meet, but obviously we do a lot of this (remember, you have already delivered your 30-second set the appointment pitch and a response to an objection loaded with your credibilty statements and benefits,) is there a time in the future you would like me to be back in touch with you?”

Now be quiet. If they mention a time agree to call them back. If they say “no” terminate the call.

You also have another option.

People buy from those they trust who have credibility in their eyes. Repeated consistent “touches” build credibility and trust. Without multiple touches delivered consistently they don’t know you, trust you, nor are you credible in their eyes.

You could off them what I call Plan B. Plan B is your offer of valuable information and strategies (valuable to them, not you) delivered over a period of time. Could be by Email, mail, candygram, whatever. Point being is that you offer them something valuable. Bulletins on topics. Updates. Tips. You deliver them periodically. Drip. Drip. Drip.

If they are serious and real they will agree to receive them… call them back sooner, maybe 6 weeks. If they won’t opt-in… call them back later, maybe six months.

Also, the Plan B can be valuable among the lower value targets not worth your time to call.


When you call back…

1. They tightly fit the profile of your best accounts. If you jump through all the appointment setting hoops and close a deal, it will probably be worth it.

2. You made an active attempt to disqualify them on the first call, so they are a prime suspect.

3. Or they have been on your Plan B multiple touch program so they now know you, how credible you are and the valuable benefits you deliver. Now when you call, you are not a stranger.

4. Or, they have asked you to call back at this time by responding to the magic question.

When you call back, simply restate your tightly written 30-second set the appointment pitch. Don’t assume they will remember you. Don’t try to jog their memory. Simply restate what you said the first time you called them… and add…

“Ms. Jones, we spoke a month ago and you indicated it would be easier for you to find time on your calendar if I called you back on this date. I would like to get together – state dates – would you have some time?

DO NOT confuse them with more info they have not heard before.

Repeat and reinforce what they have heard before so that they have clarity about who you are, what you do, how credible you are and the benefits you deliver.

Ask for the meeting.

Don’t dilute your message by adding unnecessary words.

Best wishes with your callbacks,

Scott Channell