If you’re struggling to get your voice mails returned, then you’re not alone. Industry stats show that less than 10% of voice mails to new prospects are returned. Because of this, finding the right voice mail message, and knowing a few proven techniques, can be the key to not only making contact with those hard to reach sales leads, but also in developing relationships and getting new accounts.
Here are five proven techniques that give you the best chance of getting your voice mail messages returned:
Proven Technique Number One: Don’t even leave a voice message! Sounds strange, huh? Well the truth is the best technique to follow when trying to reach a prospect for the first time is to persevere and call five or seven or even ten times first before leaving a message. Your goal is to catch them picking up the phone and having a conversation rather than leaving multiple unreturned voice mails.
Try calling at different times in the day, and even several times on Friday. Fridays are the most relaxed days and most people are getting ready for the weekend instead of gearing up for the week. The worst day to leave a voice mail? Monday.
One caveat: For those of you who are worried that when you do finally catch someone who picks up the phone and is upset that you didn’t leave a message (yet they saw you called several times), be prepared with a good script! Something like: “I didn’t want to bother you with several voice mail messages, so I decided to just try to catch you instead. Anyway, I’m glad I did….”
Persevering in this way is the best way to actually get someone on the phone and because most sales reps won’t do it, you’re going to be way ahead if you do.
Proven Technique Number Two: You must script out an effective voice mail message in advance. Nothing will get your message deleted faster than the sound of an unprepared and unprofessional message filled with um’s and uh’s.
As soon as a busy prospect hears that kind of message, especially from someone they do not know (and from a sales person on top of that!), they automatically reach for the delete button. Don’t you?
In addition, you want to make sure your scripted voice mail has these three elements:
1) Put the focus on your prospect – NOT on your product or service.
2) Don’t ever say, “I’d like to take some time to learn more about you…”
3) Leave your number SLOWLY and twice.
As you’ll see in the following examples, most sales reps leave a message that is all about them – this never works. Second, sometimes they think that by wanting to “learn more about how you handle..” they think that they are putting the prospect first. WRONG. All the prospect is thinking is they don’t want to take valuable time to educate you so you can sell them.
And three, the worst technique of all is leaving your phone number so quickly that you force your prospect to replay your message over and over again just to get your phone number. Yeah, right, like anybody is going to do that…
Here is an example of what to do and what not to do:
Proven Technique Number Three: Turn a bad VM message into an effective one:
The WRONG way to leave a VM (and unfortunately, how most people do it):
“Hi this is (Your Name) with (Your Company), and we offer shipping supplies and packaging for all your shipping needs. The reason I’m calling is to learn a little more about your business and to find out more about your shipping needs and see if we can save you some money. If you would call me back at (888) 555-1234 that would be great. Look forward to hearing from you soon.”
This message checks all the “do not do” boxes I’ve listed in technique number two. It’s all about the caller; it wants to take time from the prospect so they can “pitch” more, and the number was only left once.
Here is the RIGHT VM to leave:
“Hi (Prospect’s name) this is (Your Name) with (Your Company). We offer discounted shipping supplies and packaging, and if you’re like most companies we work with, then you’re probably paying too much! Our clients save between 10 to 15% each month and get better service guaranteed. To find out how much you can save, just give me a call at (SLOWLY Leave Your Phone Number.)
Once again, my name is (Your Name), and my toll free number is: (Leave Number Slowly Again). If I don’t hear back from you in the next couple of days, I’ll reach out to you again. If you’d prefer to be taken off our list, or if you’d prefer to get some information by email, just give me a ring and leave me a message. Talk to you soon!”
This VM is effective because first of all it is focused on the prospect and what’s in it for them (10 – 15% savings). The phone number was left two times slowly. But the magic technique was:
You gave your prospect a way out! You let them know that they can simply call you back, leave you a message (so they won’t have to speak with you nor be pitched when they call), and they can remove themselves from being called by you again if they aren’t interested! This is good for you, too, as you won’t waste your time with uninterested prospects.
One note: If you find the above message too long, then edit it! Script your VM the way you like it and then use it consistently. In fact, spend some time now reworking your existing voice mail message so that conforms to the rules above.
Techniques number four and five will be revealed in next week’s article!