Voice Mail Can Be Your Buddy
By BIG Mike McDaniel
Voice Mail is a classy name for "answer Machine".
Problem is, people at home had answer machines
long before most businesses. When the answer
machine industry finally figured how work to their
machines into business systems with more than one
extension, they called it "Voice Mail"
This article focuses on what you say TO the voice
mail, not the welcome greeting you might put on
your voice mail. You can leave two types of voice
mail messages. A message to a person you already
have a business relationship with, and a message
to a person you hope to establish a business
relationship with (a cold call).
Most people don't answer machines or voice mail.
If you have an answer machine at home you have
listened to that recorded silence while the non-
speaking person breathes, then hangs up, having
decided not to leave a message. Most answer
machine message begin with a pause because the
person on the other end was not prepared to leave
a message and does not think on their feet like
you and me. In business, the pause can kill you.
Voice mail can be your buddy. Be prepared to meet
it head on without a moment's hesitation. Just
like you worked out your one sentence unique
selling proposition and practiced the quick draw
of your business cards for networking, you can be
ready with several canned voice mail message and
not miss a second when the thing beeps at you.
Time is money. You took the time to make the call,
so you should make every effort to make it pay for
off for you. What you say is what makes the difference.
There is some research that says the average
executive gets over 300 messages (mail, eMail fax
and more) each day, not to mention the bombardment
of advertising messages from billboards, TV,
radio, cable and newspapers. That's a lot of
clutter to penetrate. And if your message is ho
hum, or starts with a pause... fahgettaboutit!
Your message must attract attention right off or
you go down with the delete button. Leaving
messages for friends and family is a snap, a
spontaneous act. Not so at work. You need to
prepare your message. Be ready before you dial.
What do you say?
You have to plan this in advance. Scripting is
not a bad idea. I am not saying you should read
from a script, but if you write and organize what
you are going to say and read the script out loud
enough times, it will sound like a natural when
you recite it to the machine. Just like you
rehearsed your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) so
you don't have to remember, it just comes out
naturally when someone asks "What do you do?"
I know of one eager saleslady who recorded her
voice mail response on a little cassette machine
hooked to her phone with a Radio Shack interface.
When she gets the tone, she pushes the play button
and sends it down the line. Another sales type,
(let's call him "Bif") had a guy at the radio
station do up a fancy 30 second commercial
complete with production effects and music.
There is a line you cross and Bif may have crossed it.
Your message should be targeted at building
credibility, so when you call again and the party
is in the office, you can get through.
How can you build credibility with a voice mail
message? For starts, you don't leave a lot of
ahhs, gulps, and uuhs. When you begin without
hesitation, in a clear, concise, upbeat manner you
are telegraphing a positive image of knowledge and
confidence, even when you get the "unexpected"
voice mail prompt.
As you deliver your rehearsed script over and
over, take care not to speed though with little or
no emotion in your voice. Remember how you feel
when the place you call is answered by a bored,
unhappy receptionist who speeds through the spiel
with the "I don't care if you can't comprehend
what I am saying" attitude. Your Voice mail pitch
must be warm, and slow enough to sound as if it is
coming from your heart, not your recorder on high speed.
Here are BIG Mike's Tips
for leaving effective Voice Mail
DON'T BE PREDICTABLE
Everyone leaves the same
tired message.You get tuned out the minutes it
starts, Example of same ol same ol: "Hi this is
Bif, we haven't met but I thought I'd call to see
if you would be interested in hearing about my
new..." UGH! Make your messages so compelling
folks have to call you back. And don't drone on
and on, make 'em short enough to entice, but long
enough to incite.
IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU
This phrase pops up in every aspect of marketing,
from advertising all the way down to answer
machine and voice mail messages, Its Not About You.
Take a poll. No one cares about you. No one cares
that your mug shot is 15 feet high on a billboard
across town. No one cares if you are doing your
own radio commercials and sound worse than the
high school announcer. No one cares if your
dealership has sold more cars than all the
dealers in Central Montana. And NO ONE CARES
when you leave a message about you, or your
company. Its not about you. WIIFM.
WIIFM is not a radio station, is the acronym to
remind you they don't care about you, instead they
ask "What's In It For Me?" WIIFM??
SELL THE BENEFITS
The key ingredient for successful sales and
marketing works for effective voice mail
as well. What can you say that will lead the
listener to know and believe that you have
something of value for them? Prospects
return calls if you convince them you may have
something they want...and, soon.
ASK FOR THE ORDER
Voice mails have been asking callers to "Leave a
message" for years, yet fully three quarters of
those who do respond to the beep only leave name
and phone number.
Your voice mail message gives you a perfect
opportunity to call for action on the part of
your listener (Remember you are competing with
300+ messages and the horrid reputation of
telephone sales pitches (telemarketers).
Go for the close with a call for action. Ask them
to do something. To Call You, To be on the lookout
for a package from FedEx. To check records to see
if you are not right on target. Ask and you'll get.
Voice mail response can be an effective sales
tool. Voice mail is one of many tools the
professional uses to get the job done, right
©2004 BIG Mike McDaniel, Professional Speaker and
Former Major Market TV News Anchor. The BIG Ideas
Group helps small business grow with mastermind
groups, seminars and sales training.
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