There is a lively debate underway in one of my LinkedIn groups about whether or not you should call your prospect’s cell phone if they’ve included the number in their outbound voice mail message – or on their email signature or business card for that matter – versus leaving a message.
To me, it’s a no-brainer. Call the cell phone.
They’ve provided you with a valid alternate contact number and an invitation to use it. Why would you even think twice? Top sales professionals know that it’s critical to get in front of their prospects by whatever appropriate means they can. These days, that often means calling their cell phone.
The reality is that voice mail – even messages left on cell phones – is quickly falling out of favor. Data from uReach Technologies (their operations include voice messaging systems for several major cell phone carriers) shows that more than 30 percent of voice mail messages go unheard for three or more days. More than 20 percent of people with messages in their mailboxes rarely, if ever, check them.
There are a number of reasons behind the decline of the voice mail message. Accessing messages is often a multi-step process that takes too long in today’s fast-paced business environment. It also takes longer to listen to a voice message than it does to read an email or text.
Voice mail is also one-way communication. You can’t forward or respond to a message directly, but rather must physically return the call and risk getting caught up in a game of phone tag.
Plus, many people are just plain bad at leaving voice mail messages. They tend to be long rambling affairs that are rushed to the point that it’s difficult to determine the actual purpose of the call or capture the call-back number.
I will add one caveat to my stance. If the prospect’s voice mail message makes it clear that calls to the cell phone number should be reserved for urgent matters, respect that or risk losing the sale. Instead, leave a short, clear and concise message and follow up again later on.