Paul Cherry

Article Summary:

How to use your voice mail messages as a sales tool, including sample messages.

Using Voice Mail As A Sales Tool

Voice mail messages can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, voice mail is an easy way for you to leave a brief but useful message for a prospective customer. On the other hand, we all know it's just as easy for those same prospects to ignore or simply erase voice mail from unknown salespeople. If you hone your voice mail messages for maximum impact, however, you'll create great sales opportunities.

Why Voice Mail is a Powerful Sales Too

  • Your voice communicates enthusiasm, warmth, and energy that easily gets lost in a printed or e-mail format.

  • Because voice mail is such a basic communication tool, you don't have to worry about technical compatibility and accessibility from your prospects' end.

  • You can communicate your message to many prospects within a short time. A seasoned rep can easily convey a powerful message to 20 prospects in under an hour. If that leads to one callback who's truly interested, you're on your way to getting results.

  • Voice mail saves money. The average voice mail message is 30 to 45 seconds long. If you factor in time to connect and transfer into voice mail, your average cost per call should be 10 to 30 cents -- cheaper than a first class postage stamp.

  • Voice mail is flexible. From lead generation, scheduling appointments, connecting with past customers, or announcing special offers or a letter or e-mail already on its way, your opportunities are unlimited.

  • Most prospects receive a few dozen e-mail solicitations daily -- but in that monsoon of e-mail and direct mail solicitations, voice mail messaging stands out like a ray of sunshine.

  • With so much information thrown at customers, standing out is no easy feat. Voice mail hasn't been exploited like e-mail or direct mail. Leaving a powerful, concise voice mail message lets you differentiate your own unique message that speaks to your prospects' needs.

  • Voice mail messaging builds confidence and sales presentation skills. New sales reps especially must learn all about product features while fine-tuning their selling skills. Their biggest fear is if they have to interact with a live prospect who asks a question for which they don't have an answer. Practicing a well-rehearsed script on voice mail gives new reps experience while they acquire product knowledge.

  • For new reps, voice mail messages can be limited to introducing special offers or promotions, or to schedule a joint sales call. These approaches give new salespeople a great opportunity to reach out to veteran customers and new prospects in a safe, controlled environment.

Examples of Voice Mail that Provokes Responses
Note that the following examples cite articles covering subjects of interest to the prospect. By citing an article or other tool to help your prospect enhance her work environment, job, or career, you're positioning yourself as a consultant and advisor, increasing your prospect's interest in calling you back. When you connect with her, you'll have positioned yourself as a credible source who understands her issues, not just another peddler eager to launch into a sales pitch.

  • "Hi, my name is _____, and last week I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that claimed drug testing is an ineffective tool to weed out poor-quality job applicants. Yet, five times more companies test for drugs today compared to ten years ago. I have worked with a company in your industry that has reported saving over $5 million by streamlining its hiring process and increasing its retention rates. Is this something you're looking to address? If so, please call me back at _____."

  • "Hi, my name is _____, and I recently read an article in U.S. News & World Report stating that over 75% of high-tech firms today turn to foreign workers to manage their help-desk operations. One of the key challenges seems to be surmounting the language barrier and the difficulty customers have had communicating with the new help-desk personnel. My company is currently working with a client who has addressed this concern and increased customer retention by 30% over the past 12 months as a result of our services. Is this an issue you are experiencing? If so, please call me at _____."

A template can help you form more educational questions to suit your situation, like the following examples:

  • "Hi, my name is ____, and I recently came across some information that would be of interest to you. While reading the trade journal __________, I learned that __________ which seems to be an issue a number of my clients are dealing with. I'm curious if this is an area you are looking to address and, if so, we have some ideas. Please call ________."

  • "...and I've learned about some pending legislation that might affect your company. The legislation is _____. Does your company have a plan in place to deal with this change? Over (number of companies) in your industry have turned to us for solutions..."

  • "...and I read an article this morning in _____ claiming that ________. My clients' experiences have been different, however, and I was wondering how your company's experience compares..."

Make your voice mail messages an engaging calling card for you and your company, and you'll increase the likelihood of prospects calling you back.

Paul Cherry is President of Performance Based Results, an international sales and leadership training organization serving 1,200 organizations to date. His book, "QUESTIONS THAT SELL", is available from AMACOM Books. Paul can be reached by phone at 302-478-4443 or email. For more information see www.pbresults.com.

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