Thursday, July 23, 2009

Using Voice Mail Messages As A Sales Tool

The telephone is an integral part of business communication, especially sales. Today, knowing the correct way to use voicemail can mean the difference between success and failure. What is so frustrating about voicemail is it gives the decision-maker the opportunity to reject you before you even get a chance to talk to them! If you're starting to feel like a failure because people won't return your messages, try these seven tips. There is no guarantee that any of these methods will get you calls back a 100% of the time, but they will definitely help improve your odds.

Speak Clearly When Leaving Voice Mail Messages
When people listen to voicemail messages there are often a whole host of distractions and most messages do not get returned because people are overwhelmed. Therefore, it is essential that you be clear. While you might be familiar with your own name, don't assume others are. When you leave a message say your name slowly and clearly. In fact, it's recommended that you leave a distinct pause between your first and last name so that the listener isn't confused. Spell your name if it is difficult, unusual or of foreign origin. Speak more slowly and clearly than normal, don't slur or run your words together. The person you are calling is not as familiar with your material as you are and will quickly become irritated if you make them replay the message because they could not understand it.

Identify Your Business During the Message
If your business name does not offer a description of your business (and you're not yet a household name), be sure to offer convincing descriptors that tell people what you really do.

Tell Them Why You're Calling At Least Once in Every Message
Many callers are under the misguided impression that keeping the reason for their call a secret is a gripping reason for the prospect to call back. They are very wrong. Today's customers are smarter and frankly, don't have the time to play guessing games. Plan your message before you place your call. Tell them why they'd want to take the time to call you back.

Make "The Connection" During Your Message
If you've met before, were referred by another person or have a common acquaintance, be sure to tell them. Don't expect them to hear your name and remember that they met you. Be precise about your personal association and you'll have given them another reason to call you.

Eliminate Minimizers From Your Speech, Especially The Word "Just”
Examples:

"Just a little reminder about how our Virtual Tours can help build your business."

"I'm just calling to follow up on our meeting yesterday"

"Nothing important. Just wanted to a follow up on yesterday's presentation."

Repeat Your Contact Information At Least Twice in Every Message
Be sure to leave your name and phone number both at the beginning and end of your message. If the person you are calling missed your number at the beginning they will not have to listen through the entire message again to get it and your chances of being called back increase significantly.

Speak With Energy, Enthusiasm And Confidence
Sit up straight or stand when you leave the message. Visualize yourself as being confident and self-assured. Use powerful body language, including hand gestures. It may look goofy, but it works! And, don’t forget to smile! Place a small mirror on or next to your desk and look into it when leaving voicemail messages. A smiling face leaves a much brighter-sounding message.

Don't Sell Anything IN Your Message
Because people are continually bombarded with advertisements, many people have developed a strong resistance to the sales pitch. The person you are calling may reject you unless you happen to catch them at a moment when they have need or desire for your product.

Determine Needs, Provide Solution
This is an outstanding technique to use as a follow up to a sales presentation. In your initial meeting with the prospective customer ask questions to determine where their "needs" are. Make a list of these "needs" and how your service or product can provide specific assistance for each need. When you leave a follow up message, be sure to mention one of your prospect's "needs" and hint at how you can provide a solution. If calling more than once, refer to a different problem each time you call.

Examples:

"Mr. Roberts, this is Mary Smith from Real Vision Studio at 888-541-8595. I'm calling to offer some solutions as to how our virtual tour services can give you a more professional visual presentation on your web site and get rid of that frustrating flat slideshow that was bothering the company president. My number again is 888-541-8595."

"Mr. Roberts, this is Mary Smith from Real Vision Studio at 888-541-8595. I'm calling with an easy, cost effective way to help you provide visual information to your web site visitors. You seemed concerned about this in our last meeting and I wanted to discuss some of the ways we help our customers meet this challenge. My number again is 888-541-8595."

Close Their File
Making sure your voice is not hostile or impatient; leave a polite message that conveys the message that you will not be calling anymore.

Example:

"Mr. Thompson, this is Mary Smith from Real Vision Studio at 888-541-8595. I've been attempting to reach you for the last several weeks regarding the estimate you asked us to send you on June 24th, but we have not received a call back. We don't want to bug you or congest your voice mail with unwanted messages, so would you please call me back and let me know if you would like me to close your file? My number again is 888-541-8595."

Make Sure YOUR Outgoing Voicemail Message Is Professional
When people call your voicemail do you sound friendly, honest, energetic and sincere or do you sound irritated, bored or uninterested? Follow these steps to prepare a successful voicemail message:.

Script your message. Writing it out will help you say exactly what you need to say. You'll also be less likely to make a mistake when reading from your script.

Practice, Practice, Practice your message before you record it. Say it over and over again out loud to become familiar with the words.

Smile while recording your message. A smile will make your voice sound warm and welcoming.

Stand up while recording your message. This will definitely add energy and animation to your voice.

Get feedback from family, friends or colleagues. Does your message sound as good? If it doesn’t, do it again!

Include a unique selling proposition, a phrase that articulates a key benefit to your customer. For example:

"Thank you for calling Real Vision Studio, Your Online Marketing Specialists. We CAN Spin Your World! Leave your name and number at the tone and we'll get back to you as soon as can.”

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