My good friend Gail Goodman is clearly the "Telephone Consultant". Gail is the number one expert who makes sure you and/or your sales team can make appointments on the phone and build your business.
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Most of us talkers need to remember that leaving a voice mail is not the same as talking to the actual prospect with whom you want an initial appointment. The biggest mistake I hear when folks are leaving a voice mail is that they use the exact same script as they would have used had the person picked up the phone. That needs to be changed.
Let's answer some questions I get about voice mail.
First: What is the purpose of a voice mail?
Answer: We want to let the other person know we tried to reach them and to give them a way of calling us back.
Second: Should you leave a voice mail?
Answer: That depends. I would suggest that you leave a voice mail for any of the following:
- Someone you've met and they would remember you
- A referral
- An orphan policyholder of your company
- Your own clients
For cold calling, I would suggest that the activity requires more dials than any other types of lead and so you're rate of return on investment (i.e. the time spent leaving voice mails) is rarely rewarded as much as the additional dials you'll be able to do if you DO NOT leave a voice mail.
Third: If I do leave a voice mail, what do I say?
Answer: That's the most important question of all. In order to use voice mail effectively, you want to leave much less than you probably think. Just let the other person know you called, remind them of who you are if necessary, then leave your phone number. The last part of that, your phone number, is the most important so we'll spend time on that in a moment.
If you've been referred to someone, the script would be: "Hi, this is Gail Goodman, and a mutual friend of ours, Bill Cates, suggested I give you a call. At your convenience, please call me back ....." and then your phone number.
If it's someone you met at a party/sports activity/school function for your kids, you would say: "Hi, this is Gail Goodman, we met at ____________ and talked for a while. At your convenience, please give me a call at ............"
Notice how short they are. Also, most folks don't remember you by your company name, even if you met someone at a business function and both of you exchanged cards. They will remember you by your conversation, so refer to that in your voice mail.
DO NOT say you are calling to set an appointment unless you have done some serious face-to-face work on preparing the prospect for that event. Giving away the fact that you want an appointment is one of the biggest verbal errors you can make on a voice mail.
Leaving your phone number, slowly, and twice is pretty obvious. But since all people are slightly dyslexic when it comes to numbers, you want to make sure that they write your number down correctly. So say the first three digits, take time to inhale a lungful of breath, the next three digits, breathe again, and then the last four digits as individual numbers. The second time you repeat it, do the last four digits as "couples". For example, 914-555-3846 would be "Nine, one, four (pause), five, five, five (pause) three, eight, four, six "the first time, but Nine, one, four (pause), five, five, five (pause) thirty eight, forty six" the second time.
That's it. Keep your voice mails brief, tell them who you are and how they know you, leave your phone number slowly, twice and two different ways, and HANG UP!
As always, keep dialin' and smilin'
"The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished."
- Daniel Davenport