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The Double-Tap: Solving the Unanswered Phone Problem

March 12, 2020
Posted in Prospecting
March 12, 2020 chriseckmann

The Double-Tap: Solving the Unanswered Phone Problem

In a world where phones display the names and numbers of every caller, it can feel like no one answers the phone anymore. Here’s how to solve that problem as it relates to prospecting.

prospecting to unanswered phones

Consider this scenario: you’ve been given an amazing prospect list and you. Are. Pumped. You get ready to make those cold calls, more confident than you’ve ever been, certain you’ll hit your quota sooner rather than later given your newly gifted list and excellent sales pitch.

You dial the first number. No answer.

You dial the second number. No answer.

After the sixth no answer, you begin to get frustrated. It’s not lunchtime, it’s not a holiday, and it’s definitely not the end of the day. People should be at work (or at least working). And when people are working, they answer their phones. What could possibly be the problem?!

The problem is their phone is flashing a number they don’t know, and they’ve been conditioned to understand that answering a phone call from an unknown caller means one thing: telemarketers.

How do we solve this problem? The double-tap.

The double-tap is a technique I have been using for years, and I still train teams to use. Here’s how it works.

When a prospect doesn’t answer the phone the first time, hang up and call right back. And whatever you do… DON’T LEAVE A VOICEMAIL. It’s that simple.

Why the Double-Tap Works
Calling a prospect back to back leads to a higher answer rate as it interrupts the pattern of the typical dial, leave a voicemail, hang up, call back another time. Additionally, calling back-to-back alerts the prospect that (if the caller is calling back to back) they may actually know the caller.

What to Say When the Double-Tap is Answered
So you’ve decided to try the double-tap and you’re prospect actually picks up. You are stunned… and a little tongue-tied because you kind of weren’t expecting it. Also, you feel kind of bad for calling back to back.

Here’s what you say: “Hi (prospect’s name), (your name) from (your company). I am so sorry I called you back to back- I was actually meaning to leave you a voicemail. But since I have you on the phone…” and then begin your intro and gain permission to give your pitch. into your pitch. Easy. Peasy.

Double Tap FAQs

Calling back to back is rude, right?!
If you are rude when your prospect answers, then yes, it will be rude. But you won’t be. You’ll be apologetic and you’ll explain why you called back to back. Why DID you call back to back? You hung up before you could leave a voicemail the first time. Your call got disconnected before the voicemail picked up. The voicemail machine cut you off early and you weren’t sure it went through. You thought you might have had the wrong number…. The list goes on and on.

What if I mess up and go right into my pitch?
Obviously, you want to avoid this. Going right into your pitch will make the prospect question why you called back to back and you run the risk of looking shady. Not to say you can’t recover, because you can.
When you realize you skipped the apology, circle back around to it. Make sure you get it in!

Can’t I just leave a voicemail on the first call?
NO! Do NOT leave a voicemail after the first unanswered call! The whole reason you are calling back is because you “weren’t able” to leave a voicemail in the first place!

What if they want to hang up right after I get them on the line?
Let’s be honest… this is going to happen. We are in sales and sometimes people just won’t talk to you. It’s the nature of the beast. BUT, if you can get in at least 1 witness question prior to letting them off the line, that would be ideal!

How many times can I pull the double-tap?
You really only want to work the double-tap once per prospect. They will catch on, and you absolutely don’t want that! On that note, please refrain from ever triple tapping. I repeat, NEVER triple tap.

What if they don’t answer on the double-tap?
If your prospect doesn’t answer on call #2, leave a “can you help me” voicemail. More on this in a later blog.

Obviously, double-tapping is not a new idea, but it is one that gets overlooked.  While it can be nerve-racking at first, once you get the hang of it (and you start seeing results) you’ll become a pro double-tapper in no time.  So, get on that phone,  start dialing, start double-tapping, and Keep Charging.

Who is Switchboard Learning
At Switchboard Learning, we know sales. In fact, we fancy ourselves sales experts and we want to relay that knowledge to sales teams across the globe by means of teaching sales teams how to find the right target prospect, get them on the phone, and then convince them to want to learn more so they can be connected with the sales executive. From training prospecting teams on how to “find the blood” to guiding managers on how to successfully run global inside sales teams, Switchboard Learning can get your team where you need them to be.