How to Make People Want to Take Your Calls

Getting people to take your call is one of the hardest parts of any sales job.

Once you do and have a good conversation, getting them back on the phone can prove even more difficult. It’s like making lightning strike twice in the same place. Statistically very hard and unlikely, but there are some things you can do to make that job easier.

In a recent article all salespeople should check out, Four Keys to Sales Success, Howard Tullman, CEO of Chicago’s 1871 tech incubator, refreshed my thoughts on how to help our teams get people on the phone. Here are some of the key points I was reminded of (Thanks Howard!) and how to put them in action.


1. When you get them the first time, set the expectation properly.

It is easier to get someone back on the phone if you have them agree to that next call when you talk to them. If nothing else, it gives you the right to tell them you are just following up on what you committed to and what they asked for you to do.

2. Have a reason to call them.

This is my largest pet peeve with sales calls. Howard put it well when he said in his piece “The truth is that it’s a very thin line between persistence and pestilence,” The best way to get someone to talk to you is for them to perceive value in that conversation before it happens.

Create a pattern in your calls of adding value.

Always have a new topic, idea or applicable news event to your sales process when you call. The “I was just checking to see if you read my email” starting line is sure to get me frustrated and fast. (See also: pestilent.)

3. Have an agenda for your call.

Your time is valuable. Have an end game for each dial.

Howard highlights getting the little ‘maybes’ along the way and I agree. You must have an objective in mind and direct your conversation in a way that accomplishes that goal. Not only will you leave the conversation feeling fulfilled but your prospect will continue to realize value and feel like progress was made. If they feel that way when they see your caller ID show up again, they will be more likely to answer and make the time for you.

4. Know when to walk away.

This may be counterintuitive to making people take your call but it works. If you are stalling in the sales process, take it off the table. You will get a true sense of the interest from your prospect then as well. If they truly value your input, product or service and want to pursue a purchase, when you disengage and say you will not continue to pursue them as you see no value in the conversations they will fight to have the next call.

These concepts are not new or revolutionary, but they need to be done consistently to work. It is the diligent self-reflection and constant improvement that makes a good salesperson great.

I was reminded of these ideas as I read “Four Keys to Sales Success” and that we are never too experienced to practice what we do and get back to basics. I hope these points ring true for some of you as well.

Happy Selling!