I return most business phone calls (and all personal ones).  However – There is a type of messages that I don’t reply to anymore.  It goes something like this:

“Hi, this is John Doe from Acme Corp. I’ve tried calling you several times but was unable to reach you. Could you please give me a call at 123-4567 x890.  That’s John Doe at 1 2 3 - 4 5 6 7  x 8 9 0 . Look forward to speaking with you then.  Thanks!
This seems to be a standard template for a sales “cold call.”  It’s made to sound like it might be a potential client or other important call, but over the years, I’ve learned that most worthwhile messages include the reason for the call.

When I return messages like the above, it is always some random provider trying to sell me something.

What I don’t understand is why they don’t mention the product or service they’re trying to sell in the message.

Do they think they’re being sneaky?  Do they think they’re going to sell more by being sneaky?

I’ll give them credit, I returned the call the first few times, but caught on pretty quick.  I think it’s time to change the template, folks.

If I generated leads via cold calling (I don’t currently), my message might go a little something like:
“Hi, this is Jason Hanley from Syllogistic Software. Sorry I missed you! I’m under the impression that you’re looking for a custom web application provider. If you’re not, sorry for the interruption!  Otherwise, please contact me at your leisure.  I can be reached at (phone number). I’ve also emailed you our website and my contact information. Look forward to hearing from you soon!”
I’m no sales “expert”, but this gives a potential customer lots of options, including ignoring the message if they’re not interested.  If they are interested, they can go to their email and find out most of what they need to know before they even call you back!

If I received a message like that, and I actually needed their service, I would be delighted.

Who knows, perhaps I was interested in the products or services that people who left messages were selling.

But I’ll never know, because their message sucked, and I didn’t bother returning the call.