Wait 24 hours for that message to be returned in good faith. If it’s not, call a third time. If you can’t reach the person, leave a third message.
Wait 24 hours for that message to be returned. If it’s not, and you’re adamant about making contact with this person, send an email (I use 20-point type to make it stand out) saying,
RE: Fred, quick briefing on new system security option for Acme
Missed you by phone.
Congratulations on your promotion to CTO at Acme! I have two ideas that should help you cut costs while significantly improving Acme’s system security. Please give me a ring at 123-456-7890, and I’ll keep this to a quick briefing. Thanks!
(full professional email signature goes here)
The idea is to say something compelling about how you may be able to be of help to him, and to make his investment minimal (a quick call). If this doesn’t get you a response, you can try sending over a short and provocative (not long and comprehensive) written or printed piece containing your ideas, but if you’ve left four messages each one day apart, and two emails, and nothing has gotten a response, I’d recommend you move on to other prospects who may be more interested.
Many people schedule themselves to send an article of interest one month out, and then a quarterly something-of-value (remember, an article authored by you is good, but an article by someone else that seems pertinent to this prospect is just fine.) It’s appropriate to mention, here, that some writers are quoting that, in today’s market, it often takes 5 to 7 attempts, or more, to actually make a connection!
Once you’ve made contact, a minimum follow-up schedule with a prospect you’re serious about is three contacts in the first month he hears from you: a contact, a follow-up within four business days, and a second follow-up within no more than thirty days. (Sooner, of course, if there’s real interest.)
The first follow-up can be as simple as an email thanking him for his time. Ideally, put something valuable or useful in that (I usually include a link to an article I’ve written about something that seems pertinent for the person). The second follow-up can be an article about another topic likely to be of interest to the prospect, or it can be a phone call—but I recommend three contacts within 30 days even if your prospect doesn’t feel any particular urgency right now.
Finally, to all my friends who tell me, “I’ve been calling this guy and calling this guy and calling this guy, nothing!” I say, “Did you call him once a day for three days in succession?
A call today … and a realization next week that he didn’t call back, so another call the beginning of the following week … and then another try two weeks later … is not a pattern that suggests you’re sincere about reaching him. Rather it suggests that he’s just another person on an extensive prospect list about whom you feel no particular urgency—so why should he respond?
By contrast, calling every day for three days running suggests a sincere desire to reach this individual, and, in my experience, is much more likely to get the person to return the call—sometimes three weeks later, apologizing that he’s been in Aruba! Amazing … I felt rejected, and he was just vacationing!