Voice MailDuring our Advanced Sales workshops, we typically field questions regarding voice mails.  Should we leave a voice mail?  What is the best message to leave?  How long or short should our message be?
We must admit, we had the same series of questions and doubts.  One day we came to the realization that this internal dialogue was useless and was actually blocking our ability to make the next call.  We noticed that even our energy available for production was being weakened by this inner dialogue.
Some statistics:

• (Brace yourself.)  Studies indicate that 86% of our outbound calls go to voice mail!  So, we better be good at it.  Voice mail is here to stay and instead of lamenting this fact, how can we turn this seeming disadvantage to our advantage?

 

• Remember this number: 1:51.  On average, it takes 1 minute and 51 seconds to leave a voice mail.  This is calculated from the time their phone rings through to the completion of your message.

 

• When calling cold, it usually takes 7 calls to get to the wrong person!  Check this out for yourself as you track your calling activity.

 

• On referrals, the actual contact statistic drops to something like one or two calls to get to the right person live and an appointment is usually the result.

 

• (Brace yourself again.)  Only 2% of cold calls are returned – and both of them are unqualified prospects in heaps of payment troubles!  “Does your company have liberal payment terms?”

 

Some recommendations:

 

• Always leave a voice mail.  We got out of the debating society “to leave a message or not.”  Just leave it.  A call that isn’t recorded has no chance of being returned.  Voice mail is a tool to be used.  Set a goal to be the best voice mailer on the planet.

 

• Begin your voice mail dialogue with something that you actually know:

     

    1. Your name, your company, the date and time, then move on to a brief description of why you are calling.  There is a fair amount written about voice mail techniques but the basic rule of thumb is that it has to be natural for you.  Use your own dialogue, not someone else’s script or technique.  We wholeheartedly disagree with using any “tricks” to get people to call you back.  This is just a really poor way to start a business relationship.

     

    2. Think about how you feel when listening to inbound voice mail messages.  How often are you waving your hand around in the air wishing the person would get to the point?  Be clear, concise and to the point about your message.

 

• Always leave your phone number.  Please, please speak slowly and leave your number twice.  In spite of the fact that the chances of receiving a return call are almost non-existent, leave the phone number anyway.  This is the start of building your relationship with the prospective client.

 

• Remember that you are calling for a job.  Aren’t we usually more focused, “in the zone”, when we are calling a prospective employer?  Are we not looking for a job with the prospective account?  So keep the call at the highest professional level because you really are looking for a job.

 

• Don’t take it personally.  Several years ago we realized that we have absolutely no emotional attachment that anyone will call us back ever (even friends and family).  How did this happen?  Our guess is that this is the result of (who knows) 100,000 unreturned phone calls over the past 40 years?  After the first 100,000, you’re ready!  So, leave your emotions aside for this important aspect of your sales career.

 

• Maintain a sense of humor.  When you actually reach someone, have you ever said, “Please switch me over to voice mail, I don’t know what to say.”  We assure you that the other person will get it! 

 

• Every voice mail is the opportunity to get on, and stay on, your prospect’s radar.  You may want to advise them that you will be calling again or even make a leap and tell them when you will call next, “I’m going to make a leap here and actually schedule a call to you…on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.”  And, of course, call precisely at that time and refer to the promise of your call.

 

And now the answers to your burning questions:
Q: When is the best time to call and leave a message?
A: When you’re conscious
Q: How often should I call?  How often should I leave a message?
A: Until they surrender!

Best wishes are flying your way,

Tom

Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct in-house workshops, individual and sales team coaching, Webcasts and assist with product launches.
© 2010 Redmond Group, Inc.

Redmond Group, Inc., 43 Frost Circle, Middletown, NJ 07748
732-957-0005, tom@redmondgroupinc.com

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