If you use these 3 strategies, more prospects will actually return your voicemail!
You’ve left a couple of voicemail messages in the last week or two and haven’t had a return call from your prospect. What can you do? Here are some tips that work:
ONE – Script and master your voicemail message
Your voicemail should follow this rough outline (this isn’t the verbiage you’d use of course):
- Here’s who I am
- Here’s what company I’m calling from
- This is what we do
- This is how we’ve helped other organizations similar to yours (noting measurable results)
- Here’s an example
- “I don’t know if we can do the same for you or not.”
- “Can I ask you a couple of quick questions to see?”
Your message should be around 45 seconds and 60 seconds max. While this might seem long, it’s important that you get your “elevator pitch” out in a clear, concise, compelling and complete manner (the 4 C’s) and this can’t be done in much less time. Most prospects will listen to the first voicemail message in it’s entirety and this underscores why it needs to be absolutely great. If you’re not happy with it, don’t panic. Hit the # button and most voicemail systems will allow you to re-record it.
TWO – Take the pressure off
An important rule in sales is that — Yeses make you money. Noes make you money (because you can move onto more Yeses) but Maybes cost you money because they eat up your time. It’s far better to get a fast no than a slow one. Sometimes prospects are reluctant to return prospecting voicemails because they feel that they are going to be subjected to a high pressure sales pitch. The fact is that with many salespeople, their fear is warranted! Let them know that this isn’t the case with you. You could say something in your second or third voicemail such as, “We’ve been able to help other companies accomplish X solution to problem and Y solution to problem but I don’t know if there’s a fit between your organization and ours or not. I was hoping to have a brief phone conversation to see and if not, that’s OK.”
Sometimes I get pushback on this language from people in my workshops who feel this type of language in a voicemail is weak. They say, “We should be totally confident that we can help them.” The paradox is that, by allowing that there might not be a fit, you’ll get callbacks more often and if you ask the right questions, will often find that there is a fit. Another reason not to claim that you know you can help them is that, in most cases, it’s simply not true. Until you have the opportunity to fully understand their current situation, their problems, preferences and goals, how can you know you can help? An added bonus is that it builds rapport and trust because of your openness.
THREE – Use professional persistence
Recent research finds that it takes on average 7 contact attempts to connect to a prospect. The same research shows that most salespeople give up after 2. See the problem here? Worse, most sellers leave far too much time between contact attempts. They’re fearful that they will annoy the buyer to the point that it hurts their chance of connecting. Sure, there’s a fine line between persistence and stalking! Most sellers are nowhere near that line however. Think of what you would do if you got 5 voicemails from someone spaced 1 or 2 weeks apart. Now think of what you would do if you got the same 5 voicemails spaced a couple of days apart. Would you be more likely to put a return call on your to-do list in the second case. I bet you would! At the end of your voicemail, say something like, “If you don’t get a chance to give me a call back in the next couple of days, I’ll try you again on DAY.”
With the recent anti-spam legislation in place, many salespeople who have relied on email to prospect will now have an added dependence on effective phone prospecting. These three strategies will help you connect more often with prospects and maximize your efforts. The percentage of prospects who call you back will still be low, but these tips will bump the number up for certain.
If you are interested in learning more proven techniques to get through to prospects, check out Northbound’s “Connecting to the Big Cheese” workshop or contact us to arrange a complimentary condensed version for your team. Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.456.1440.