Effective sales professionals maintain a consistent cadence of “touches” with prospects so they can sustain a funnel that is at least three times the value of their targeted quota. Touches include networking events, door knocking, email campaigns, direct mail letters, targeted social media, newsletters, and, YES, even cold calling. When cold calling new leads and prospects, we are faced with the question: if there is no answer, should I leave a voicemail? Many people I work with are frustrated with the lack of success they experience when deciding to do so, as their voicemails rarely yield a return call and make them feel as though this is wasted time and effort. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s face it: practically no one likes leaving (or receiving) voicemails. You would most certainly rather have spoken to your prospect (otherwise you wouldn’t have called him or her in the first place), but it’s a part of our business lives and really can be a tool to differentiate ourselves from the competition. Try this three-step strategy to create a new approach and mindset, and watch your success rate soar.
Voicemail #1: Short, focused and intriguing — requires NO ACTION on the prospect’s part.
Here’s an example:
“Good morning, Kevin, this is Kathy Copelin of Challenger Coaching. I’m sorry I missed you. Kevin, I’m reaching out to you because Steve at Diamond Auto Group asked me to contact you to discuss the exciting work we are doing to increase his sales team’s closing ratio by more than 31%. Look for a call back from me next Tuesday at 9 am.”
What’s missing? The phone number. Why? By removing the need for him to do anything, you’re allowing Kevin to focus on the impressive results you are clearly dangling in front of him. And by stating that you’ll call him back at another time, you create the opportunity to show him how you follow up. Imagine how impressed he’ll be when you call back on Tuesday at 9 am!
Voicemail #2: Short, focused and meets the promise you made in your first voicemail.
It should sound something like this.
“Hi Kevin, this is Kathy Copelin with Challenger Coaching, I’m sorry I missed you again. As I mentioned in my voicemail last Wednesday, Steve at Diamond Auto and I have formed a great training partnership. Steve thought you’d want to learn more about what we did to help them increase closing rates by 31%. I will try to reach you this Friday at 2:30 pm.”
Again, no phone number and nothing for the prospect to do; just wait for you to call back on Friday at 2:30 pm.
Voicemail #3: Leave a final short, focused message that, again, meets your promise to call at the stated time.
If you did, indeed, call at 2:30 pm on Friday afternoon, you’ve begun to create some credibility of keeping your word with the prospect. On this third attempt, the message should include your phone number.
“Happy Friday, Kevin. This is Kathy Copelin with Challenger Coaching calling, as promised in my voicemail from Tuesday. Kevin, you’ve been hard to reach, and I’m curious if you’ve already engaged another sales coach or trainer or I’m just not choosing the right time to call. Would you kindly give me a call back at 561-420-1224. If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll try again in a couple weeks.”
I left my number this time because I may, indeed, have bad timing on my calls to him. It’s unfair to both of us for me to just keep guessing when it is a good time to call.
This three-step voicemail method works because prospects appreciate brevity and timeliness and your ability to keep your word — all very desirable traits in any working relationship. Many sales reps find this three-step approach easy to implement and have seen a strong uptick in reaching new and existing clients when employing it. A powerful voicemail strategy is your roadmap to navigating the sales journey and builds evidence for prospects in demonstrating your ability to keep your word, as promised. Try it for a few months and monitor the results; you’ll be delighted!
From MENTOR. October 2017;8(10): 10-11.