Voice mail is an inevitable fact of life when reaching out to prospects by phone. But hanging up and trying again later isn’t the best way to handle it.
Nor is leaving a generic message that will likely be deleted even before the recipient gets to the part where you ask them to call you back.
Like any part of the sales process, voice mail requires a strategy to ensure that the time you spend making the call and that the recipient spends listening to your message isn’t wasted.
As with any strategy, preparation is the key. This means being ready with at least the idea of what you want to say when you hear the beep.
The most effective messages not only make use of the prospect’s name, but also show you have a basic understanding of their business and get them thinking about how your offering can meet their needs.
For example, “Hi Mary, this is Kathleen from XYZ Health Insurance. Small business owners like yourself are struggling to find ways to contain the rising cost of health insurance while still providing their employees with comprehensive coverage. To learn some proven strategies for doing just that, please call me at…” is more effective than “This is Kathleen from XYZ Health Insurance and I’d like to speak with you about your company’s insurance needs. Please call me at…”
Having a good understanding of what you want to say also keeps you from being tongue-tied when you hear the beep (or if you actually connect with a live person, for that matter).
Finally, don’t rush through your message so quickly that your words are unintelligible. Spell your name when necessary and state your phone number slowly enough for the listener to write it down the first time. In fact, it’s a good practice to write down your phone number as you are saying it, which ensures your listener can do the same.
The cardinal rule of voice mail is to keep it clear and concise. If your prospect has to replay your message several times to understand who you are, why you’re calling and how you can be reached, you’ve blown your chances for a return call.