A few weeks ago, I was coaching a sales team when one of the senior reps asked, “How do I get someone to respond to my calls or emails? I’ve sent my prospect information, but now I can’t get in touch with him.” The short answer is you don’t.

You can’t force someone to reply to an email or return a call. But if you arrange things properly, you’ll never have to call or email to say “I’m just following up.” The key is to establish a day and time for a subsequent conversation before you send your prospect information.

Here’s the approach I use to reconnect with my prospects after an initial call or subsequent discovery meeting: Before I end the call or meeting, I say will something such as “John, I will get that proposal to you by Wednesday. When is a good day and time to review it with you?”

If my prospect tells me to call later in the week or early the following week, I politely press for a specific date and time. “Does Friday at 10:15 a.m. work for you?” In most situations, my prospect will say yes or give me an alternate time. Then, immediately after the call—and this is crucial—I send him an Outlook invite which places me on his calendar. Now he is expecting my call and we have a specific reason to talk.

Next time you connect with a prospect, try this approach and see if it doesn’t eliminate the need for a “just following up” call.

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Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at http://www.Fearless-Selling.ca.