Voicemail Basics

By Colleen Francis

More and more sales reps are complaining to me that they are getting stuck, can't get through, can't make direct contact and can't get a return call. And, if I can be frank, it's no wonder! Have you listened to the quality of the voice mail messages being left by sales reps who call your office or home? I have. If the calls I am receiving are any indication, it's no wonder you may be having trouble.

Let's start at the very beginning… A good voice mail must be prepared in advance, delivered with confidence and take up no more than 45 seconds (30 seconds is best). Most decision makers delete messages after 30 seconds. If your "call to action" comes after 30 seconds, chances are it's being missed completely.

Sadly, the majority of voice mails I listened to from reps calling our office and many of the recordings I monitor for my clients sound like they are being prepared the minute the voice mail picks up. Your client can not be confident in you if your first words are "AHHHHH" or "UGHHH". If you are not prepared in advance, that's exactly what you will do.

A profitable voice mail has 4 components. Your name. Your company name. Honest Intrigue. And a call to action.  Let's take a look at some ideas that can help you turn voice mail from a profit sucking to a profit creating tool.

A Reference....
Bob, this is Colleen from Engage Selling. Mike Smith asked me to give you a call regarding how we helped them increase sales while decreasing price discounting. Sorry I missed you. I will call you back Monday at 10am.

Asking for help...
Susan,, This is Colleen from ABC, hoping you can help me with some research I am doing on the ABC project. I am told you are the resident expert. Sorry I missed you. I will call you back Monday at 10am

Offering an idea...
Mike, this is Colleen from ABC. After working with (other company in the prospect's industry) I have an idea to run by you that might significantly impact the way you run your student programs. Sorry I missed you. I will call you back Monday at 10am.

Asking a question…
Hi Nancy, This is Colleen Francis from ABC. I have a question that I believe only you can answer concerning the new IT equipment being purchased for your research lab. Sorry I missed you. I will call you back Monday at 10am.

Being an insider...
Hi John, This is Colleen from Engage. I was speaking with Mark Smith, the head of your Accounting Department, and he suggested I call you concerning the new X project. Sorry I missed you. I will call you back Monday at 10am.

As a different option, try these next three ideas as more advance voice mail strategies. They are more advanced because you must have great documentation and the ability to react quickly upon the return call. The success of these three strategies relies 100% on your ability to deliver the response to the return call (because you will get return calls).

Strategy 1

Your message: Hi Bob this is Colleen Francis from Acme calling about ABC Company. Will you please return my call at 555-1212? Thank you."

Return call from prospect: Hi Colleen? I'm returning your call about ABC Company.

Your response: Great! Thanks for calling me back. ABC Company is a client of ours where we have provided leasing services to increase ROI by Y percent. Because you are in a similar industry, I thought we might be able to help your company in the same way. Are you available to meet next Thursday at 10 a.m. for about 30 minutes to discuss this further?"

Strategy 2

Your message: Hi Bob this is Colleen Francis from Acme calling about your current leases (IT equipment). I'm not sure if yours is a confidential voice mail so I will not leave a message. You can reach me at 555-1212. Thank you."

Return call from prospect: Hi Colleen? I'm returning your call.

Your response Great! Thanks for calling me back. I didn't want to leave a message because I was concerned about who at ABC might have access to your financial information

Strategy 3

Your message: Hi Bob this is Colleen Francis from Acme calling about the documentation you filed on May 2008. I'm not sure if yours is a confidential voice mail so maybe I won't leave a detailed message today. You can reach me at 555-1212. Thank you.

Return call from prospect: Hi Colleen? I'm returning your call?

Your response Hi Bob thanks for calling me back. Sorry for the cryptic message. I didn't want to leave details in case others in the organization didn't know about the expansion plan. I noticed that you filed a certificate of need on May 2008

Take these ideas and make them your own. We know they work. Engage clients all over the world are using them and receiving massive success. So unless you are receiving an 80% call back ratio from your voice mails or better…you owe it to yourself to try something new!  Stayed tuned and I'll reveal the top 8 voicemail sins you are likely committing.

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Nonstop Sales Boom by Colleen Francis Make sure you check out Colleen's latest book, Nonstop Sales Boom for powerful strategies to drive consistent sales growth quarter after quarter, year after year.

Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.

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