Some are asinine, others just flat out deceptive, which is unacceptable.
For example, one I saw online recently instructs you to call a prospect, leave only your name and number, tell them to call you, and say the call is in reference to one of their competitors. Really?
When it comes to voice mail in sales, I firmly believe that the means does not justify the end. Doing whatever it takes to get a call back is NOT an acceptable strategy. If that were the case, why not leave a message that one of their family members was in an accident and they need to call you right away? Outrageous, right? Just like a lot of voice mail advice.
What Should We Do?
First, we need to examine the possible thoughts and feelings experienced by a prospect, or anyone in business when they receive a voice message from someone they do not know or recognize, including you.
2. They instantly know there is something in it for them and are excited (i.e., a potential customer calling them).
3. They are curious about possible value the caller hinted at. They feel there just might be something in it for them. Even though they believe it is a salesperson, their mind is more on what they might get.
And you can’t fall into the 2 category (unless you are buying something.
Lying is not an option). Number 4 is a possibility, but I recommend against it, as you’ll see in a minute.
If you are a professional, salesperson who doesn’t live in the gray fringes of ethics, that leaves us with 3; you want to make them curious about possible value so they feel there might be something in this for them.
Possible Outcomes and Actions
b. No call back now, although they still have those curious feelings. But they do not feel compelled enough or see enough urgency or value to call, although they might be open to hearing more.
c. A call back, and they become engaged in the conversation. That’s because they see some value in doing so, either confirming their feeling that they might gain something, or avoid some pain or loss.
d. A call back, and within seconds of realizing the caller’s motives, they feel duped. They feel taken… tricked because they realize the caller is a salesperson that has nothing of value for them and was deceptive with his message.
Naturally you want to avoid (a), although that is what happens with most sales voice messages.
And I ask you, as a professional, ethical salesperson, would you want (d), tricking them into calling you? Not me, not a chance.
That leaves (b) and (c), which is providing them with a valid reason to be open to some possible value you might be able to provide. You maintain your integrity, and you are placing them in a frame of mind where they are thinking about their favorite subject: themselves.
But, you can work to create messages that will get those results. Here’s how.
The Smart Calling Voice Mail Process
Its premise is fairly simple: KNOW something about the prospect and his/her situation before the call, and use that to create interest and be relevant in your call opening, and voice mail.
The first step is doing your research on your prospect. Information is more accessible today than ever. Google, LinkedIn, their website, Facebook, Twitter, all can hold great info. Services that collect sales intelligence like InsideView and OneSource/ISell are invaluable.
And doing “social engineering,” calling into the prospect’s business and talking to people other than your prospect can be one of your best sources of information.
What are you looking for? Anything that might make what you have to offer of possible interest to them.
Then you can plug it into the Smart Calling Voice Mail formula.
1. Identify Yourself and Company. “Hi Mike, I’m Pat Stevens with Executive Financial. “
2. Use Your Smart Intelligence. “I understand that your firm is aggressively making a push this year to take on more high net worth clients…”
3. Your Possible Value Proposition. “We work with many advisors nationwide in providing unique options that are very attractive to that segment. They tell us it helps them attract more clients, as well as helping them grow their existing business.”
4. Engagement. “I’d like to ask a few questions and see if I could provide you some information…”
5. Conclusion. “I will call you again Friday morning. If you’d like to reach me in the meantime, I’m Pat Stevens with Executive Financial. My number is 800-555-9898, I’ll repeat that, 800-555-9898. And my email is Pat@EFinancial.com. Thanks.”
It does touch on something that is going on in their world, suggests how you have worked with others in the same situation to get the results they desire, and that you simply want to ask questions to possibly provide information.
It also likely makes them curious about what you are talking about. Remember that from earlier? A great voice message should leave a question in their mind about how they could get that value.
And, it says that YOU will call back. Let’s face it, most voice mails are not returned. Sure, occasionally you’ll get a call back. But importantly, you are planting a seed of value that can enhance your chances on the next call.
There is no super-secret method to voice mail success, nor magic techniques that work every time. But, if you employ the time-tested method of understanding your prospect, and hinting at possible value they might be interested in, you will show success.