How to Stop Playing Phone Tag and Close More Sales

Greg Beverly

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Few things can be more frustrating for the sales professional than the proverbial game of phone tag with prospects. You know the drill…you call and leave a message, the prospect calls back and leaves a message, you call back, and on and on and on. This can be extremely frustrating, not to mention terribly inefficient. This situation is a symptom of a larger problem…the problem of not controlling the sales process.

From the moment of your initial contact, YOU should be controlling the sales process. You know the steps that must take place to complete the sale. You know how long each should take. You know the hurdles that must be overcome. In short, you know the sales process for your product or service and therefore you must control that process from the very first contact. This is a subject for another article, actually many more articles, but for today, let’s take phone tag out of your vocabulary.

Too often when we are making that initial contact, it is easy to allow a prospect to say something like, “This is a bad week for me, give me a call next week. ” This seems to start a process that extends far beyond next week. It starts with your call the next week, your prospect is busy, or out and you leave a message to call you back. Now…IF the prospect calls you back, and if you have been in sales for any length of time, I don’t have to say any more than that, it is very possible that that return call will come while you are in another meeting or on the phone or in some way unavailable. Now, we start all over again. As soon as you get the message, you call back and your prospect is at lunch. Now the miracle that your prospect called you back the first time must be repeated again. Your odds for eventually closing this sale are falling dramatically with every missed opportunity.

Here’s how to avoid this extremely frustrating cycle. At the moment that your prospect gives you permission to contact them again, you want to set a time for that contact. “Give me a call next week. ” “That sounds great Mr. Prospect. I have a bit of a full schedule next week and since I know your time is just as valuable as mine, let’s make sure we don’t waste it by playing phone tag. I have a couple of times available. How about either 10:00 on Tuesday or 1:30 on Wednesday?” You have just taken control of the situation. If your prospect does not want to set a time, you have just discovered that he is probably not very serious about moving forward. You can offer to let him set the time, “Since neither of those times work for you, Mr. Prospect, tell me what does work and I will see if I have that available. ”

Now you will once again either get a commitment or you will find out that you are probably wasting your time chasing this guy. Either way, you have established control over the process and saved yourself the time of playing phone tag or chasing a prospect that you are never going to catch.

Now, go out and make this your best sales week ever!

Greg Beverly is a Sales and Business Coach with more than 21 years experience helping others claim the success and abundance they are capable of. Find out more about Greg and sign up for his free 10 day Sales E-Course by visiting today.


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