Q: What’s a good way to leave a message for a follow-up phone call? —Daniel Kliethermes, Kliethermes Homes and Remodeling, Columbia, Mo.

A: The issue with follow-up and check-in calls to homeowners is that returned calls are rare. The return phone call is perceived by the homeowner as a call that’s going to take a long, uninterrupted block of their time. And, since they’re stressed out about any number of other things, they go into procrastination mode.

It’s incumbent upon the remodeler to follow through, at approximately two-week intervals. You really need voice-to-voice feedback. That’s where the referrals, testimonials, and additional business come from.

For a follow-up call after a meeting with a quote that you’re still trying to close, try this: “Hi, Ms. (or Mr.) Smith, this is ‘X.’ We met almost two weeks ago to discuss the remodeling of your kitchen. Just wanted to learn what chance you’ve had to review our quote. I’ll check in again with you next week.”

Note that all questions are open-ended.

Or try this if you’ve received no response: “I know there’s a fine line between peskiness and perseverance, and I’m not trying to cross that line. Just wanted you to know that we haven’t forgotten about you and would welcome the opportunity to do business together. I’ll try to reach you again next week.”

The bottom line: Don’t depend upon callbacks. The times that they occur are usually when someone actually wants something from you ... and fast.

—Adrienne Zoble, an international marketing consultant and speaker, based in Fort Collins, Colo., is the author of The Do-able Marketing Plan: Six Easy Steps to Help You Sell More in Less Time and the 15-Month Schmoozing Calendar. 866.282.1150, azoble@azobleassoc.com or www.azobleassoc.com.