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How to Connect with Hard to Reach Clients

There are reasons that your hard to connect with dream clients are hard to reach. They have too much work, too little help; they’re being asked to do more with fewer resources. They are time-starved. They don’t really buy what you sell. They don’t hear anything in your message that sounds like the kind of value creation that’s worth their time. Some just avoid all calls from salespeople. And sometimes you’re not even calling the right person.

Here are a few ideas to help you connect.

Leave a better message: Tell your dream client who you are, how you create value, and what you want from them. This sometimes helps with the value creation problem. If you promise to be respectful of their time and ask for a low level commitment of, say, 20 minutes, you can sometimes get a better result.

Email suggested appointment times: Tell your dream client that are you are going to email them an invite for an appointment for a short exploratory phone conversation, and that if none of the times work for them to reply with a better time. Your dream client wasn’t sitting by the phone hoping to receive a call from a salesperson that sells whatever it is you sell. They haven’t yet committed to give you time. But if you limit the appointment to a short phone call you can sometimes improve your results.

Ask for an alternative contact: Suggest that if they aren’t the person you should be calling isn’t the right person for you to speak with that they shoot you back the name of the right person (this let’s them off the hook). Sometimes you are just calling the wrong person.

Promise to call back: I don’t know why we expect a call back. It doesn’t happen. You don’t need it to happen. Since the client hasn’t agreed to any commitment, you can only commit yourself. End your message by saying that you are sorry you missed your dream client, and that you will try again next week. I once won a dream client after calling 76 uninterrupted straight weeks.

Persist without being a nuisance: Every time you reach out, share a new idea with your dream client. Share a story about what you’re doing to help another client. Send them a killer idea in the form of a white paper or a case study with a hand written note. Build a nurture tool kit of ideas you can use. Persist by continuing to prove you’re a value creator and not a time waster.

Stop trying and get some help: You may not be the right person to make the call in the first place. Have you checked LinkedIn to see if you have a connection that could make an introduction? Have you checked to see if you have a client that would make the call and vouch for you?


Why do you believe your dream client is so difficult to reach?

What are you doing that is worthy of your dream client taking your call?

How does your dream client know how you create value and that you are right to help them?

What are you going to change about your approach?

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  • Johnny Bravo

    Great post. I like to end all my emails and calls with “I hope to hear back soon but will of course remain professionally persistent in reaching out to you” My record is around 32 calls. You blew me out of the part with your 76. that’s awesome.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      I love your closing line, Johnny Bravo.

      • Johnny Bravo

        Thanks Anthony. It has worked very well for me. When I’ve been calling and calling and finally get someone on the phone I ask them if my name sounds familiar. They either chuckle (since my name has a cartoon) or they say “yea you’re the professionally persistent guy”.

  • Marty Wolff

    I try to acknowlege that I know they have a present supplier they are happy with, and my objective is to simply get on their radar. Takes some pressure off the dream client while positioning us as a professional.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      I like it. But I worry that if you don’t couple that with how you create value, the “why” isn’t strong enough to command time.

  • Dan Waldschmidt

    Dude: This is most concise and powerful advice I have ever heard in such a short posts. These things are what really works. Brilliant.


    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Dan. Some things work sometimes. You have to keep trying to something sticks.

      • Dan Waldschmidt

        So true… I find it humorous that we say the “you can reach me back at…” knowing that they are not going to call us back.

        Your plan of telling them; “I will call you back…” is spot on.


  • Dan Bryant

    Great content from someone who’s been where I want to go. 76 straight weeks, that’s awesome. I also appreciated your podcast with Weldon Long. Thanks for creating valuable and actionable content.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thank you, Dan!

  • Ajay

    Great thoughts Anthony. I am always concerned that the prospect will start ignoring my calls/emails if I carry on persisting. I feel no response generally happens because either the prospect is not ready for you yet or because they are tied with other priorities.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      If you have to persist, doesn’t that mean they’re already ignoring you? I believe the trick is to make your offer worth their time. This means give something of value.

      • Ajay

        Then would you say that for 75 weeks you weren’t offering any value? I wouldn’t think so, just sometimes the prospects are engulfed in the inertia of the way things are that they don’t feel the need to change track. And that is where persistence and of course adding value comes in.

      • S. Anthony Iannarino

        Yes. I would say for 75 weeks I did little to offer value. I was young, didn’t have the insights, didn’t have the tools. All I had was a willingness to execute once I was given the chance.

      • Ajay

        Loved the response. Truly motivational.