by Michael Harrison
Voicemail is a fact of life. It allows us you to decide if and when we want to return calls; it puts us in control of our day, and it gives us time to prepare the information we need before calling back.
The challenge comes when we come up against voicemail in a sales situation.
We need to find a persuasive way to persuade prospects to return our calls.
Start by calling before 9 am or after 5 pm‘. Whilst it’s not a voicemail strategy there are two reasons why this works.
1. Most business people are at their desk before 9 am and after 5 pm, trying to get work finished when drop-ins, emergencies and meetings won’t interrupt them.
2. Gatekeepers usually work from 9-5.
When you do leave a voicemail message, try these steps.
Say it again‘
People cannot write as quickly as you can rattle off your phone number. The best option is to start your message with “Hello, Mr Prospect, this is Michael Harrison from Strategies Plus. My phone number is 03 9999 1111 and I'm calling ....” Then finish your message with virtually the same words, as in “Again, this is Michael Harrison from Strategies Plus and my phone number is 03 9999 1111. I look forward to speaking with you soon.” ‘‘Don’t include your position or title. They are irrelevant in a voicemail.
Get to the point ‘
Get to the point without wasting their time. You want to sound business like and efficient. ‘‘Deliver your voice mail message in under 30 seconds without rushing. No one will listen for longer than that anyway so you have to be quick and believable. ‘‘
Do your homework‘
Research their business. If you have any sort of legitimate networking connection through a similar client or a contact at another company who suggested you call Ms./Mr. Prospect, mention it early. Using a prospect’s personal contact, competitor's name, LinkedIn or other networking reference creates interest. Check their website and refer to it. ‘‘
Talk about outcomes
The listener wants to know what you can do for him or her. Do you save them time, increase their revenue, provide a financial safety net or eliminate debt? If so, say so.
What do you want them to do? Take your call next time? Then tell them clearly when you will call them back. And make it after 5.00 pm. ‘‘
If you have an email address follow up with an email. If not, call the company and get their email format or ask for the prospects email address. Do a search online first though. ‘‘
Until you meet face-to-face or chat by phone a little formality helps you build a positive relationship. Call them Ms. Prospect or Mr. Prospect rather than Mary or Jack.