From the April 2000 issue of Entrepreneur

Calling a prospect and leaving a voice-mail message can be a frustrating experience. It seems more and more people don't have the time or inclination to return calls these days. What can you do to break through the barrier? We asked the experts to offer up some techniques:

Leave a message with only your name and number. Nothing more. This works best with cold calls, because the prospect may call back out of sheer curiosity. If you're following up on an in-person meeting, try another tactic: Leave a message indicating that you've got a way to solve a problem previously discussed with the prospect. Leave just part of the solution. They'll call back just to hear you out.

Leave your telephone number twice during the course of the message. Radio announcers do this during ads. It can work for you, too. People often miss your phone number the first time and don't want to listen to your message all over again.

For more voice-mail techniques, ask the experts. Many executive coaches offer voice-mail training, including Val Chevron, whose company, Telephone Tutors, is based in Trumbull, Connecticut, and Susan Berkley, founder of Berkley Productions, a company that produces a free Internet newsletter on improving communications techniques and is based in Englewood Cliff, New Jersey.


Gene Koprowski has covered the tech industry for 10 years and writes a monthly computing column for The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition. Contact him at 74203.1677@compuserve.com.