06-03-2010 12:49 PM
October 30th, 2006 by Steve Clark
My friend Steve Rae makes some good points in his post about voice mail. His post details how to leave a proper voice mail with someone that you have had some previous contact.
But what about how to leave a voice mail with a prospect that you have never spoken with? That’s a horse of a different color.
If, as Steve says and I believe, most voice mails are deleted in 20 seconds or less, what do you say to get people, who don’t know you, to call you back?
First let’s look at the typical message left by a sales rep:
Hello, Mr. Prospect this is John Smith with Technology Services. We are a national provider of internet services and I am calling today to tell you about some exciting programs we have for small business owners. Please call me at 555-1212 at your earliest convenience. Thank you and have a great day.
What is the problem with this approach?
It gives the listener too much information. The second the listener hears the name of your company and what you do they form a premature opinion about whether they need what you are selling and they hit the delete button.
RULE: The chances of getting a return call are directly proportional to how much information you leave.
If you want to increase your odds of a prospect calling you back leave this message:
John, this is Steve Clark. As soon as you get a minute, please give me a call at 850-936-7028.
This works for several reasons:
• It is hard to ignore because it doesn’t provide the listener with excess information.
• It also piques their curiosity
• It gets the listener‘s attention because they don’t know if you are a prospect, vendor, referral or customer and there is a bit of fear about not returning that type of call.
When leaving this message tonality is the key. You will want to slow down your rate of speech, lower your voice and project a confident business like tone.
Will this approach work every time? Absolutely not.
Will it work most of the time? Absolutely not?
Will it work a lot better than what you now do? You bet your sweet bippy.
06-03-2010 01:13 PM
I know going into it the chances of getting a call back is very unlikely. I have the most success by leaving a breif vmx introducing myself and explaining why i am calling- but here's the kicker; I do not ask for a call back! I simply mention that I will call them back later in the week or on a specific day. This works best for me b/c when they answer my call they are fully aware of why i am calling and the expectation has already been set.
06-03-2010 01:17 PM
In my opinion no lead is inactive until THEY tell you to go jump in the lake
Leaving voice mails can work for you or against you. But I do understand where you are coming from.
I leave a voicemail 99.99% of the time that I call, mainly because I only get through with 5% of my calls. Typically, I'll call once a week and leave 6 messages and 1 or 2 emails before moving them to a list of inactive leads.
At first I thought this tactic may be excessive, but it seems to be working well. Occasionally, I'll get someone who jokes about it with me, but most of the time, they don't mention anything about it and just say they are sorry and wanted to talk but they were just so busy. Sometimes they even say thank you for the persistence because they had wanted to talk to me and forgot about it.
06-03-2010 03:28 PM
I am a big fan of leaving at least one voicemail, giving them the opportunity to hear your name and your company name. I then will follow up with e-mails on a bi-weekly basis and phone calls many times a day - if this is someone I must speak with. I have found that when I do catch them live, if they want to talk they will say something like "Yeah, I go the vm - I am so busy thanks for calling back." If they don't want to talk, then they don't and at least you know you can take them off your list. Additionally, maybe they don't know if they want to talk with me, having left the VM will often result in "yeah, I have heard of you guys somewhere...." which is nice lead in to begin a discussion. Bottom line, if I have a lead that must be followed up on based on some intelligence I received, I am relentless until I can get them live. I will try before the day starts, just before an hour starts - that's when you get the "Yeah, just running off for a meeting," during lunch and after business hours. Leave a VM, sure, but don't rely on them calling you back - no matter how compelling you THINK you are or how strongly aligned your company's competencies are to their need. Additionally, I would never threaten a prospect that I won't give up, especially in the professional services I sell and I would never leave multiple VM's per day or even week....that is just going to upset them. Persistence is good, and you want to show that you are persistent - remember you are the first impression of your organization, upsetting them will simply push them away from you and your brand.
06-03-2010 10:53 PM
The key with voicemail, from the start, is to let the people know what you will do and when you will do it: On first voicemail you can include: "This is the first of 3 messages I'll leave on this subject in the next 30 days" if that's what you've agreed with yourself or your client for a time-bound 'campaign'. 30 seconds is the max length for voicemails after which people tend to stop listening. It helps if you've situations and results you can convey quickly in the message and that you tailor those to the company you're calling, based on recent press announcements, developments at the company, specific successful experiences with other companies in their sector etc.
Greg Grimer, a highly experienced appointment setter who calls on investment banks, has recorded some of the best results I've heard of using polite persistence. If that means that in some cases he makes over 100 dials to the same company on his client's behalf to get an appointment, then he's prepared to do that. His results speak for themselves.
06-03-2010 11:01 PM
I like Steve Clark's approach and have used it in the past. Most decison makers know if a name is familiar to them or not and the return rate may be higher I the US than in the UK or Europe.
The biggest mistake on voicemail: Talking about what you do at your company. There is no value at all in that. People are only interested in their issues and getting results so if you're going to say anything, issues and results you deliver on it has to be.
06-11-2010 12:26 PM
I leave messages that the client feels they need to respond too and it works wonders. Try this, " hello Mr. IT
Manager my name is --------- and it is 8:40am EST. Mr IT Manager I am giving you a call today because your name
came across my desk yesterday and I have a question they tell me only you can answer in regards to your IT
Department. I can be reached at -------------. talk to you soon!
That alone should more than double your call backs.
06-17-2010 08:34 AM
I think the bottom line is whether you believe enough in the message you're going to leave. But I have to agree with what has been said earlier and you must follow up with an email. Neither of which should be an infomercial. The vm and email should be for interest generation with the hope of them wanting to return your call or take the call next time you try them. Because as we all know...customers do screen their calls
10-14-2010 01:38 PM
Is probably the best sales strategy. I'm looking for IT Directors in an active buy cycle! If he or she needs a qoute they will call back everytime. Call backs are buyers! 25 voice mails to get a sale---sign me up.
2 weeks ago
I've decided to not leave voicemails anymore. Waste of time as no one returns my call and I refuse to do the tactics to make them call like it isn't a salescall which I've read in salesbooks.