Attempting to grow your business via voicemail is tricky, and as a strategy, fraught with failure. Being fully prepared before you call makes a tremendous difference.
Few things are as annoying as receiving irrelevant voicemail or cold calls. We've all been subjected to a call from an ill-prepared salesperson that has managed to get through to you or your voicemail to leave a message you have little interest in. And yet it happens continuously. Why?
Communications tools and technologies can certainly serve to generate an increase in sales as few methods are as direct as a telephone call, but there's an art to it that must be understood and practiced. The art of which I speak is called personalization and it starts by respecting your prospective new customers. In other words, research your prospects before you place that first call and don't waste their time, especially when it comes to leaving a voice message.
Most folks are likely to leave a generic message that doesn't resonate with the person they're attempting to strike up a conversation with and for good reason. If there isn't a compelling reason for them to return they call, why would they?
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Have a Voicemail Strategy
There are two types of calls: the first-time call and the follow up.
More often than not, when you make that first cold call to a prospective customer you're likely to get their voicemail and leave a message. That's mistake No. 1. Make a point of trying to actually get a hold of them before you leave a message. If after two or three attempts you're unsuccessful at getting them on the line, then leave them a meaningful message that will give them food for thought.
But don't go overboard. Never leave more than two voicemails. After you've left two voice messages, follow up a third time with an email. When you send that email be direct and to the point by writing in the subject line "Voicemail" or "Voice Message." They're more likely to recognize your name and open your email versus an email that appears to be more insidious spam no one cares to read.
Be Genuine, Friendly, and Prepared
Before you place a call, especially a cold call, do as much research on the person you're calling to try to learn as much about them, their position at their company, and the company itself or the industry. Learn about their firm's competitors, too. If you don't know who their competition is, how can you possibly help them outdo them?
Once you're certain you've amassed as much information as you possibly can about the individual, then rehearse what it is you're going to say, and how you're going to say it.
Your parents always told you that practice makes perfect. When it comes to mastering the art of a personal phone call or leaving a voicemail for someone you don't know, that adage holds true.
Start by rehearsing what it is you're going to say aloud and how you're going to say it. Think about a professional singer or broadcaster. They always warm up their voice and practice what it is they're going to sing or say before they step up to the microphone. The words you use, the tone of your voice, and how you sound when you speak are incredibly important. After all, if you don't sound professional, confident, and sincere, how are you going to encourage someone to spend a few minutes talking to you?
Never leave a generic, impersonal voicemail. Not if you hope to get a response. Have an objective when calling. For instance, for the first call, aim to simply get a call back in order to advance the conversation. Your goal should not be to simply sell something, but to solve someone's problem(s) with your solutions, and help them to reach their goals. Make them look good to their boss, and you'll have achieved two critical objectives: You've established a professional relationship and a repeat customer who trusts you.
But it all starts with taking the time to understand whom you're calling, having a compelling message to parlay, and sounding sincere.
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