NOTE: The following is not just for Sales People. It addresses a skill that is valuable for everyone. You may do some of these things already but check out the whole article. You may pick up a pointer that can make you even better.
An all-too-common scene:
Sales associate dials. Voice mail.
VOICE MAIL MESSAGE: “After the beep, leave your message.”
SALES ASSOCIATE: “Hi… uh… I was just calling to… I’ll just try later.”
Does that make you cringe? It probably makes the sales associate cringe too. They suffer embarrassment. They were probably even prepared for the call but they were prepared for a live person, not a voicemail!
In any business relationship, not just sales, it is vitally important to exhibit confidence in what you are doing. The above scene is not at all inspiring or confidence-building. Worse yet, it’s not going to create much interest in calling you back. That’s why this article could be valuable to just about anyone. In most cases, when anyone is leaving a message for another, the goal is to get a return call to talk live. We all do it, even in our personal lives.
So, what does it take to leave a message that is most likely to get a call back?
Practice, Practice, Practice
Like any skill, drilling and practice are the most effective and speediest ways to get it right. Right now is a good time to learn what to do right and what to practice until you are regularly leaving messages that get an abundance of call-backs.
Leave yourself a message.
Listen to it.
Listen to how you sound.
Decide what to do better.
Make another test.
Make more corrections and do it again… and again… and again.
Practice with them until you are satisfied that you can leave a message that sounds great every time, inspires confidence, and creates reach and response.
Don’t forget, your objective is to get a call-back. Your message should be designed to persuade the recipient to call back and, ideally, as soon as possible. Sounds a little like Sales & Marketing, doesn’t it? That’s the approach to take. You are trying to persuade the recipient to call you back. You are selling the recipient on the idea that if they call you back, they will be pleased – they will be happy they did – they will certainly get something they want – it will be very much worth their while.
Just as in Sales & Marketing, if you put a little mystery on the line, you will be more likely to get a response. Feed their curiosity…just a little bit. Get the mystery in right away, immediately following the greeting. Check out these two messages:
- “Hi Jim. This is Mark. Call me at your convenience.
- “Jim, this is Mark. I suddenly got a great idea that I think could change everything for you…”
Which one is more likely to get a call-back and sooner? Damn straight it’s the second one!
Here’s a couple more examples:
“Hi Joan, this is Mark. Are you available for a quick meeting? I have something that could make you look like a hero with your bosses. Call me…”
“Hi Sue. Mark here. There’s been an interesting development in the way people are using our product and based on our earlier discussions, you’re going to want to hear about it. Call me…”
Warm Market Call Style
Warm market calls (to people you already know) usually get responses. They already know you. You have already established a relationship so vagueness in the message is okay in your opening greeting.
SALES ASSOCIATE: “Hey, it’s me. Give me a shout out when you can.”
Keep it light and try not to sound like a different person. Here are six examples:
“Hi John. Mark here. Give me a call. I’ve got something I want to run past you… ”
“Pete, this is Mark. How are you? I’m calling to talk a little business with you…”
“Hi Beth. Mark here. We haven’t talked in some time. I’d like to catch up on what you’ve been up to and run an idea by you…”
“Hi George. This is Mark. Hey man, something’s come across my desk that you may find interesting…”
“Hi Sue, this is Mark Smith, we have not talked in a very long time. Give me a call when you can. I want to hear about what you’ve been up to…. ”
Just be yourself.
“Hey John, did you see the Bears beat the Packers? I’m calling to rub it in a little…”
Cold Market Call Style
Cold market calls (to people you don’t know) will respond to authority. Position yourself as a leader in your field, but gently:
“Hi! I’m calling for John Smith. John, you filled out a questionnaire indicating your interest in an advanced marketing course. I’m calling in regard to that. I’d like to get to know you a little bit and find out what you had in mind to see if it’s a fit with what I have. Let me give you my number…”
Long-winded messages as well as very short messages are not recommended.
The End of the Message Is Very Important
The last part of the message should ALWAYS be the same.
The Last Part of the Message:
“… let me give you my number 888-555-1234. I’ll give that to you again, 888-555-1234. Look forward to talking with you.”
Varying the last part of your message could prove a costly mistake, because the prospect may not have your number. You must repeat it because he may not have heard it the first time or the message was not recorded properly.Assume the worst phone connection and never make the mistake of a poor message.
Speak clearly and without hurry. Remember to inspire a return call. If you include some important, tantalizing info, make sure it is placed early in the message. Let your phone number be the last thing they hear — people often hang up after they hear it.
And remember… mystery creates reach. Leave your audience hanging a bit. People are naturally curious.
Use these tips and your phone work will be far more effective and your income will likely go up!