Why Won’t My Prospect Return Calls or Emails?

WRITTEN October 16, 2019 Author: Jeff Goldberg
This blog was written for Improving Communications by guest blogger Jeff Goldberg.

We’ve all been there…a terrific series of meetings with a prospect who, after seeing your proposal, “goes dark.” No return calls from your voicemails, no response to your repeated emails.

It’s as if they’ve been swallowed by a black hole. It’s baffling and frustrating. Let’s stop allowing that to happen.

If you’re selling, you know you’ve got to build value or prospects won’t turn into customers and return calls. But even after you believe they’ve seen the value, you still need a way to know if the prospect is “real” (actually interested in doing business with you) or not.

Enter the Best Next Action Step philosophy, and it’s simple: NEVER LEAVE A MEETING OR PHONE CALL WITHOUT SETTING UP THE NEXT MEETING OR PHONE CALL. Period. 

Think of it this way…the typical salesperson ends meetings by letting the prospect know they’ll, “Touch base in a few days if I haven’t heard from you.” The prospect tells you that will be great.

If it’s so great, why won’t they answer the phone? Why won’t they, at least, respond to your emails? They’re either not as interested as they told you, or something else has taken priority and they don’t see you as important enough to respond to.

You leave message after message that sound just like this…“Hi Steve, this is Jeff Goldberg. I’m just following up as I promised I would to see if you’re ready to move forward. Hope to hear from you soon!” Those messages actually mean, “Hey Steve, did you decide to do business with me but forget to let me know?” 
Rather than offering to “touch base,” a better way sounds more like this: “Steve, you seem to be interested in what I’ve proposed, and I understand you need a little time to digest the information and come to a decision. In my professional opinion, the smart thing for us to do is to find a time to catch-up so that I can answer any questions you might have after giving this some thought and we can decide from there whether we should proceed or not. How’s next Tuesday at 3:00?”

If “Steve” tells you, “Just give me a call next week,” (next month, next quarter, when hell freezes over) Steve is expressing a lack of interest. If Steve was actually interested, he’d agree to speak with you again.

In fact, when “Steve,” a busy executive who has already given you some of his valuable time agrees to give you more of his valuable time, he’s letting you know he’s interested. He may not end up doing business with you, but he’s interested and may return calls.

That’s the type of prospect I devote my time and attention to…those who let me know they’re interested. It’s a smart time management hack…investing more time and attention to prospects who let you know they’re interested, and way less time and attention to those who tell you to, “Follow up in a week or two.” 

The Best Next Action Step philosophy is a money-maker. Don’t sit there and wait for them to return calls. Make it a policy to never leave a meeting or phone call without setting up the next meeting or phone call, and watch your sales and income grow!


Image by Werner Heiber from Pixabay


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