Sent to voicemail again? No surprise: the FCC recently predicted that nearly half of all calls made this year will be robocalls, and a frustrated public is responding by choosing not to answer the phone. As more robocall companies dial from area codes or numbers that closely match the recipient’s own number – known as caller-ID spoofing – it’s becoming harder to distinguish what’s a legitimate call. This puts sales professionals in a tough position: how to connect with prospects when every call gets sent to voicemail?
4 Strategies for Getting Past Voicemail
Standing out in a sea of 47.8 billion robocalls isn’t easy. Cold calling can still be an effective sales tactic, but like any effective tactic, it needs to be part of a smart strategy. Our expert sales recruiters suggest the following:
- Improve your chances to connect by leveraging social media contacts.
When possible, don’t call completely out of the blue. At a minimum, connect first on LinkedIn, either directly or as part of the same LinkedIn group. If the person you are calling is in a common LinkedIn group, you are 70 percent more likely to speak with them on a cold call. Use these connections to your advantage.
- Send prospects a small, unique gift.
If you find yourself consistently sent to voicemail, try smoothing the way by sending a small gift to their workplace. It could be a clever play on a service your business sells or a useful daily item, like a phone charger. Customize it with your business name and phone number. This improves your business’s brand recognition and can help break the ice when your call does get through.
- Pick the right time.
Try cold calling early in the day before your prospect is hit with the latest client emergency or budget meeting. Some decision makers receive a constant stream of calls all day and don’t have the bandwidth to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers.
- Treat gatekeepers like friends, not foes.
When a receptionist or administrative assistant answers the phone, don’t be frustrated. In fact, just getting an answer should be a reason to celebrate. They don’t assume you’re a spam caller! Keep the momentum going in your favor by being pleasant to whoever answered. Try asking, “I wonder if you can help me?” and proposing a specific call back time, such as “Wednesday at 3:30pm.” Psychologically we’re programmed to be helpful when asked an easy favor. An assistant who may be low on the office org chart will also appreciate you acknowledging their importance.