Voice mail: Crafting a message that makes prospects want to talk to you

by on October 17, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Sample Sales Training Videos

Video Transcript

Voiceover: Welcome to this Quick Take Rapid Learning Module. Today’s topic: Voice mail: Crafting a message that makes prospects want to talk to you

Tim Hamilton has a hot sales lead: Mary Munroe was just hired by Major Industries to modernize its product testing lab. Tim sells testing equipment. Maybe he can sell some to Mary.

Tim calls Major Industries and asks for Mary.

So what are the odds that he’s going to talk to her today?

Not good. Only about one in four business calls result in a live conversation, according to AT&T. Nearly all the rest go into voice mail.

Given those statistics, it’s pretty clear that every salesperson who prospects by phone needs a strategy for voice mail. In this Quick Take, you will learn:

  • What you’re really selling in your voice mail message (it isn’t your product or your service)
  • Why the best messages intentionally leave out critical information
  • And three rules that will make your voice mail messages more effective

So let’s get back to Tim. As expected, he doesn’t get Mary when he calls. Here’s the message he leaves her:

“Hi, Mary. Tim Hamilton here at Precision Test Equipment. Just quickly – I know you’re busy — we’re one of the world’s largest distributors of industrial test equipment. With our experience, low prices and broad product line, I think we could help you upgrade your lab. I’d love to talk to you about what kinds of equipment you might be needing. Please give me a call at 888-555-5555. Again, it’s Tim Hamilton at Precision Test. 888-555-5555.”

Tim’s message is perfectly professional. It’s not offensive or pushy. In fact, Mary listens almost all the way to the end before she deletes it.

But this is a failed message. The odds are slim that Mary will call Tim back. In fact, when Tim calls Mary back, she’ll probably duck his call – because of his message.

So what’s the solution? If voice mail messages scare off prospects – and many of them do – what should Tim have done? Leave no message and just try to ambush Mary later?

Of course not. It’s vitally important that Tim connect with Mary now – or he could miss a good sales opportunity. He simply needs a better message.

You can craft a message that will make prospects want to talk you, by following three key rules. Let’s take a look at them.

Rule 1: Sell the next call.

Tim’s first mistake: His message was trying to sell the wrong thing: a solution. It’s way too soon for that. He knows virtually nothing about Mary. He doesn’t know her buying timetable, or what kind of equipment she might need, or the challenges she’s facing. So he leaves a generic message with a weak, unfocused benefit. No wonder Mary deletes it.

Tim can’t sell Mary a solution until he talks to her. The only objective for this message is to motivate her to take his next call.

How? Let’s look at the next rule to find out.

Rule 2: Leave stuff out.

Tim’s message gave Mary too much information: It’s Tim. From Precision. Sells test equipment. Okay, got it, Mary thinks. That’s all she needs to know.

Unless Mary has an urgent and immediate need for lab equipment, she has little motivation to take Tim’s next call. She’ll try to keep him in mind for the future, but right now she has a million other things to attend to.

A better approach: leave the prospect wanting to find out more. Don’t give it all away in the first call.

The next rule is the most important one of all.

Rule 3: Make the message all about your buyer, not yourself.

Tim left an “all about me” message. Of course he needed to talk about himself a little – to identify himself and his reason for calling. But the rest of his message was way too focused on his company, his products and his objectives. Mary isn’t very interested in learning about Tim or Precision Test Equipment. Mary’s interested in Mary.

Now let’s give Tim a do-over and see how he can apply these three rules to craft a more effective voice mail message.

Before Tim ever picks up the phone, he invests some time and effort to learn more about Mary. He does some research on the Web, reviews the press release announcing her arrival and checks with contacts who might know something about her

He discovers that Mary has a passionate interest in lab safety. She sits on an industry committee that creates safety standards for labs. And her old lab won an award for the best safety program in the industry.

Tim uses what he’s learned to create a compelling reason for Mary to take his next call. Here’s his message:

“Hi, Mary. This is Tim Hamilton at Precision Labs. I heard about the innovative safety program you created at General Labs. I’m curious about whether you’re planning to launch a similar program at Major Industries. If you are, I have a couple of questions I’d like to ask you, and an idea you might want to consider. Please give me a call at 888-555-5555. Again, it’s Tim Hamilton at Precision Test. 888-555-5555.”

Let’s deconstruct Tim’s message.

  • First, he didn’t mention a single product, service or solution.
  • Second, he focused only on stuff that mattered to Mary. He mentioned safety and specifically referred to her past work at General Labs. That showed Mary that this isn’t a run-of-the-mill sales call. Tim has actually taken the time to learn about her and knows something about her priorities. And of course, she’d love to talk about safety and the program she’s so proud of.
  • Third, Tim left lots of loose ends in his message. He didn’t say where he heard about the program. He didn’t tell Mary what questions he had, or what his idea is. So now she’s curious. She’ll have to talk to Tim to find out more.

The result: Next time Tim calls, Mary will probably give him a couple of minutes of her time – and that’s all he needs.

There are many ways to give a prospect a reason to take your next call – even if you don’t have time to do a lot of research on them. Perhaps you mention a hot-button issue that you know is affecting their industry right now. Or refer to something their CEO wrote in the last annual report. Or ask an insightful question that shows you have insight into their business.

Prospects are inundated with messages from ill-informed salespeople who betray their laziness with unfocused or gimmicky messages. Prospects think: “Why should I waste my time talking to someone who can’t take the trouble to find out a single thing about me?”

It doesn’t take that much to stand out from that crowd. If you expect prospects to give you their valuable time, show them that you invested some time and thought before you called.

Let’s review the three rules for creating effective voice mail messages:

  1. Sell the next call. That’s your only objective.
  2. Leave stuff out. Loose ends create curiosity.
  3. Make it all about the buyer. Find out what’s important to them before you call.

Thanks for watching.

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