These days it is tougher than ever to get results by making cold calls. That's because you're more likely to be leaving a voicemail rather than talking to a live person. And what are the chances that your voice mail will be returned? Not very good. In a text message and email world, many people have lost patience with the voicemail process. Dial in, put in your code, listen to whole message, miss the phone number, rewind to hear the phone number again, write it all down with a pen or pencil if you have one handy, return the call.  How many more steps are here than in looking at a text or email message?

Indeed, a recent USA Today story cites internet phone company Vonage's numbers that show an 8 percent decline in emails left. Even worse, retrieved voice mail fell by 14 percent. And the New York Times chronicled the beginning of this distain for voicemail a few years back. So what should you do?  Here's a look at some tips from Manta by Larry Prevost, Dale Carnegie Training Instructor, about how to get your cold calls returned.

Know why you are calling.  Your prospect wants to know what's in it for them. They need to know why it's worth their time to call you back and hear you out. Make sure you know the answer to that before you call.

Your name is not an attention getter. Your prospects are preoccupied with other things they need to do, and your job is to cut through all of their mental distractions and get their attention. Your name, company and phone number won't do it. Prevost suggests leaving your name and number at the end of your message, only after you've created a compelling reason for them to contact you.

Reference someone they know to get their attention. Referencing a person that your prospect knows or respects is a fast way to get their attention, and it puts you in familiar territory in their mind, Prevost says. Or mention the great results you were able to achieve for one of their competitors.

Don't talk about your "Super Awesome" product or service. As exciting as it may be to you, your prospect doesn't care. Instead, tell your client about results you've achieved for similar clients in the past and how similar results may be possible for them.

Leave them a compliment. If you've been monitoring Google News, have Google alerts set up, or if you are following a company on Linkedin, you will know when people get promoted or the company announces good news. Prevost advises not to be  afraid to mention these changes or acknowledge accomplishments and tie them in to the reason for your call.

Use a short story with facts or statistics.  Stories have the power to capture attention and hold it until the solution pitch can be made. Prevost suggests when you leave a voicemail, begin with a brief story that appeals to your prospect's particular situation and turns your past customers into stars.

Use a little dramatic flair. Prevost recounts some of the more creative sales people he's worked with in terms of dramatic flair . For instance, one sales rep attached candy bars to notes that she sent to her prospects stating that she wanted to get the relationship started off right by offering them $100,000. The candy bar was--you guessed it--a $100K bar. Another sales rep mailed one of his clients a balloon filled with helium tied to a long ribbon. When the client received the box and opened it, the balloon rose out of the box trailing the ribbon behind it. At the end of the ribbon was attached a note that read, "If you want to see your sales rise like this balloon, give me a call."

Check out the full article by Larry Prevost on cold call tips over here at Manta