At the tone . . .


GA Medicare Expert
5000 Post Club
When calling prospects that have indicated a desire for information, and have asked you to call, what do you do when you get voice mail?

Hang up?

Ah, but most folks have caller ID.

Leave a brief, but informative message?

But how much is too much?

Ask a question only they can answer?

How do you generate enough interest to get them to call back?

How often do you call a prospective lead before giving up and moving on? How much time between the first call and the next? Do you call over several days or weeks? When do you give up & move on?

Do you later follow up with a mailing (newsletter, email, postcard)?

Let's compare notes on this.
Great post.

Day 1 - get the lead and call. Prospect says "call me back Wednesday at 3pm and I'll give you 15 minutes."

Wednesday at 3pm - I call and get voicemail: "Hi, this is John Petrowski with Health Solutions calling to go over your health insurance options. You can call me back at 410-874-7241 until 6pm." I will also shoot out a "sorry I missed you" email.

*I will NOT call back on Thursday if I do not get a returned call. I'm busy and successful and calling them back immediately conveys that I'm not busy nor successful. I also won't call back later on Wednesday. Again, they just stood me up and I'm not their bitch.

Friday - I call back. If I get voicemail I'm done forever. I will never call again - just put them on my Constant Contact email list. If I do get them I ascertain their attitude:

Attitude 1: "Crap!!! I can't believe I actually answered the phone and it's this pesky agent again. Ok, I can handle this - I'll just tell him to call back next week." - Kill it and move on.

Attitude 2: "I really feel bad that I missed that phone appointment - I just got busy and forgot but I really need to get this going." - great, run through quotes.
At the tone...

I have been making marketing/sales calls since 1987.

I call and keep calling.. depending upon the company etc. I will explain further.

Monday: I will call on Mondays but not until after 10am. Companies will usually have Monday morning meetings -- so I want the person or company on the other end of the phone to listen to me.

I leave voice mail messages.. every now and then.. every few days.

Fridays are the best days for me to make calls. People are in good moods, getting ready for the weekend and are more receptive.

Generally my rule of thumb has been -- Wednesdays-Fridays are best.

If when I make a call on a Monday or Tuesday.. and get voice mail. I will leave a message.. something like my name is... and my number. Some what evasive.

The good people that you want -- are the people that will

1. Call you back and ask what the call is about

The people that dont call me back after 5 or so messages... I just call every now and then to leave a friendly message, play games with them and myself to see how long it will take someone to call me back.

I have found that some companies (people.. ) will wait to see if you make a certain number of calls before they will give you the time of day.

** I have also discovered this is a way for a company to see:

How diligent you will be. If you are respectful and do not give up easily the message you are sending to the potential client is:


After about 20+ messages.. sometimes less -- I know everyone will think that I am crazy. I have actually said to people in my messages..

"I have a job to do. This is what I am doing. I am calling you because ....
and I hope all of my messages will show you how I am a dedicated insurance professional that will not give up without a fight and I would even fight for your company if I ever had to" ......

I have had after 15+ messages.. people then call me back and say.. you know I will give you a chance ... just because you have earned it.

I know making a lot of calls.. is not very productive for some.. but after a while it becomes more of a game.. thus, becomes fun.

Hope this helps ...
I take the approach that I am proud of who I am, what I do, and what I represent. Because of this, I leave messages.

Lead comes in - automatic email goes out, introducing me, and explaining that I will be calling, but if they need something now, call me.

As I work through my list, I call them. Rarely do they answer (they filled out the form at 3:00 in the morning, calling them at 10:00 doesn't work). I leave a message introducing myself, my company, and state that I'm calling in reference to their information request. Please return my call so I can get some information to finalize their quote, and that I will gladly answer any questions they have.

I call back one day later, usually try to get a different time of day. I leave another message.

Lead goes into a followup file for about 3 weeks later. I get pretty good response on these actually. It reminds them that they have procrastinated.

If I have an email address, they go on a drip marketing campaign. If I have an address, and I think they are serious, I'll put them on a card campaign, to help solidify the relationship.

As John points out, it really is about the person and what they want. If they don't want to talk to you, then move on, no arm twisting needed. I'd rather do something else unproductive. Some people get overwhelmed, which is okay, slow down, build a bit of a rapport and relationship (i.e., the cards) and reapproach.

Laurie, I have to admit that I disagree with your tactics. How many times do you want to be sprayed with perfume when you walk into Macy's?

Perfume sprayer: "Well I spayed her the first time and she didn't buy but I'm not giving up. I'll change brands and spray her again. She must want perfume since she walked right past me. Crap, I sprayed her again and she got pissed. She must not like that brand. I'll switch brands, go find her and spray her again. Crap, now she wants to call security. But I'm positive and not a quitter. I'll spray her again when she leaves. Then I know she'll buy."
At the tone..

I will agree John. Being in a little bit of a hurry.. I wanted to get out as much information as I can. I am good at "feeling" a person out over the phone. Through the years.. and to this day.. I have learned and KNOW when not to call anymore.

I will tell you though.. I have NEVER worked for an agent that said "I need more leads" ...
I have always worked for agents that have said -- "Do not make any more calls for the next month or so until I can catch up" .........

My main point is -- give up when you feel you need to. This is an individual thing. I have given up on some after one voice mail message.

I listen to voice mails. I actually prefer to get them.. they can tell you a lot about the person you are dealing with.

Hope that makes sense..
There is a building, called the Darlington, in Midtown Atlanta, that has the updated population of metro Atlanta. As of 3 months ago - last time I drove by it - there were a hair over 4.8 million people.

That is not counting the outlying areas, as well as the rest of the state of Georgia.

Business people are not in the business to stay next to the phone to accept our calls. That being said, too many businesses go under, and won't be around in a year or two.

There are many reasons why people don't respond to your call. They are too many to ramble off here. As much as people shout how uninsured, or underinsured they are, it just isn't at the top of their mind every second of every day.

I believe in three strikes and you are out. Make the initial call. If they are not there, follow up in two to three days. If they are still not there, make one more call, then either call them every six months, or file it under the bird cage.

Since most of my leads come from other Financial Planners (I don't purchase lists or hire telemarketers), my initial call is thus...

"This is Bob Levine. Nancy Smith at Ace Investing wanted me to contact you. I am a Health and Long-Term Care Specialist. How may I help you?"

"Is this something that you want to put in place immediately, or are we just at the 'gathering data' stage of things?"

If it's immediate:

"OK, here's what I'd like to do. First off, I'm going to call Nancy as soon as I hang up from you, to let her know we spoke. Secondly, I MAY need to call back to get some more information, depending on what I get back from the initial request. If I came back with something that would make you jump up and down for joy, what day and time would be best to meet with you with that information?"

"Give me three days and times when it's best to contact you to schedule a meeting. If I don't hear back from you after those three times, I'm going to leave it up to you. The ball would be in your court, so to speak. Fair enough?"

If it's 'gathering data':

"OK, I'm going to e-mail you the information. The quotes are only valid for 30 days. If you need a new quote, please contact me, and we can go from there, fair enough?" (I put them on a monthly call back list, until I get no response for three consecutive months - then it's bye bye)

Voice Message:

"Mike, this is Bob Levine. My number is 770-374-4531. Sharon Mercer, at ABC Finance wanted me to contact you. She mentioned you were interested in quotes for health coverage. I had her call you ahead of time, so you'd know who I was when I called. It's Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. If I don't hear back from you by the end of the day on Thursday, I'll try you Friday. My number, once again, is 770-374-4531"

2nd Call:

"Mike, Bob Levine, the health insurance guy. If you are still interested in getting quotes for health coverage, call me. If you no longer are interested in getting quotes, call me. 770-374-4531.

3rd call:

"Mike, Bob Levine. I'm contacting Sharon, at ABC Finance, to let her know that I did attempt to contact you regarding health insurance quotes. She and I have a professional relationship, and I owe it to her to let her know the status of each referral she provides me. At this point, Mike, the ball is in your court. My number is 770-374-4531."

At the Tone..

When I say I might leave 15+ messages... they are not all in one month.... or in a weeks time.

Some clients have become clients over a phone call I have made-----
1 time per month.. to check in say hello, to keep in touch and to continue building that rapport.... cold calling companies.. the same thing..

I am NEVER leaving a message.... like "hello my name is Laurie ..... blah blah blah.. then doing THAT 15-20 times... I reread my post.. and I can see how I worded that and how that sounded!!!

My whole point is I dont give up, I have had great success with this. In a professional way. If it takes a year to get a client, by showing I am professional, will work hard for them, I am on the ball, will keep in touch if they ask, will get X dates, will call back when they say call me in 8 months.. etc... I basically do what I say I am going to do and what the client or potential client dictates to me.

Business calls are much easier than in "house" calls.

AND I am not alway leaving messages when I call..... I might call 20 times but might only leave 4 messages... it all depends upon the client, the company, etc. etc. time of day etc.