Why I Won’t Call You Back (A Real World Example)

By Kristin Sundin Brandt

Every few weeks we receive a message in our general voicemail box from a bank looking to speak to our CFO. Each time I hear it, and assuming the caller and others are making similar calls throughout the day, I am struck by the incredible waste of time and effort.

This is the most recent voicemail we received, which is very similar to the others (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

“This is Michael, wanted to leave another message for your CFO. Sorry I missed them on my last call several weeks ago, Alex P. Keaton, our senior lender and his team, Family Ties Bank, requested I call again. The call is not about switching banks. I can be reached at 867-5309. Thank you.”

Now, let’s break down the issues of this particular message:

“This is Michael, I wanted to leave another message for your CFO.

Okay, Michael, you are not off to a good start. There are only nine people who work at Sundin Associates, and we have done you the service of listing them all on our website. If we had a CFO, I promise he/she would be listed on this page.

But given that we don’t, I assume you could take an educated guess to whom you should speak. Instead, you call our main number, ending up in our general mailbox and never making it any further up the phone tree.

“Sorry I missed them on my last call several weeks ago, Alex P. Keaton, our senior lender and his team at Family Ties Bank, requested I call again.

Again, you didn’t miss us. You just didn’t successfully reach anyone. If anything, the chances are pretty good that someone was here when you called before.

As for your senior lender, I don’t know him. I know that because while I found him on the Bank’s website, initially I couldn’t find Mr. Alex P. Keaton on LinkedIn. Turns out he hasn’t updated the information recently and, according to his profile, still works somewhere else. (He also has 0 connections, so I can’t even see if we know anyone in common).

I’m also not sure you work at the Bank, because I couldn’t find you at all. It could be you are working for a calling service, which can be a great strategy, but if true I suspect your client isn’t getting what they are paying for.

“The call is not about switching banks.

Well, thank goodness, because I’m not really interested in switching. But here’s the real issue – what is it about? Are you just calling to say hello? Would you like to give us a loan? Are you doing research about what small businesses in the Natick area are looking for from a community bank?

What you have failed to do is tell me why should I pick up the phone.

“I can be reached at NUMBER. Thank you.

I think it’s safe to say I won’t be calling you back. But thank you for a great example of why cold calling doesn’t work.

Kristin Sundin Brandt, CFMP, is the president of Sundin Associates Inc., Natick, Mass., an agency specializing in financial services companies. She is also a faculty member of the ABA Bank Marketing School.

Hear more from Kristin as she joins a panel of bankers and marketing experts discussing the case for driving digital and mobile investment. Sign up now for the 2018 ABA Bank Marketing Conference in Baltimore.