Every so often I’ll hear how someone who is offering a home-based or other small business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity or franchise has issues with people not returning their calls. As a result, their close rate is very low or even non-existent. On the other hand I talk with many savvy sellers who are closing on a routine basis.
Now, that’s not to say that the people getting blown off are totally non-savvy sellers; they may just be leaving the wrong voice message, wrong impression or, heck, even turning people off to the information they leave via voicemail without even realizing it. And then of course, all of this assumes they’re leaving a voicemail message at all.
Research shows that the average executive can easily receive more than 300 messages each and every day, not to mention the barrage of advertising messages they encounter from all types of media. It’s a prescription for information overload! Unfortunately, I was unable to pinpoint the average number of messages that a home-based or other small business or franchise owner receives per day, but as many of you can attest, it’s plenty.
Anyone in the business of selling anything in this day and age, if they can’t reach their intended target, almost certainly will be speaking to voicemail. When it happens, you have a choice to make ― leave a message or hang up. As someone who has been in sales for decades and done pretty well, my advice to you is don’t even consider hanging up.
The fact is that many first sales pitches are made via voicemail, and you shouldn’t shy away from this approach. The trick is to do it well because whether or not you make a solid first impression with your message is perhaps the most critical factor in getting your call returned.
Next you might ask, "How do I set myself apart and get my message not only heard, but my call returned?" For starters, you can actively practice becoming a voice message pro with these quick tips:
Response Time: If you’re responding to a lead that you generated through a vehicle in your overall marketing mix, time is not on your side. Many people are shopping among dozens of business opportunities, distributorships, licensee opportunities, small franchises or other products/services all at once ― yours is oftentimes just one of many. Given that’s what you’re up against, waiting even a day can cost you. It is very important that you respond to the person and/or company making the inquiry promptly.
It is also important to remember that in the case of your receiving an inquiry, responding to that inquiry does not constitute a “cold call.” The person is expecting you to contact them. Think of each inquiry as a “call to action,” and then make it count.
Offer Specifics: If you are working a lead, no matter what its source, you need to leave information in your voice message that makes it very clear where you got their information and that you are calling in response to their inquiry. So, first and foremost, your message should begin with your name and/or your company name and why you are calling (e.g.: They signed up on BusinessOpportunity.com at such and such a time on such and such a day.). Then you should leave your phone number...twice, and please, do it slowly. It is also a good idea to tell them your hours and when it is the best time to reach you.
Keep It Short: When it comes to voicemail message effectiveness, brevity is everything! The length of your voice message is critical ― going on and on about this and that is the perfect recipe for someone NOT to return your call. In fact, more often than not, it will actually have a negative effect. Practice keeping your voice messages under 45 seconds, and keep in mind that many voicemail systems are programmed to cut off after a certain period of time. How many of us have left what we thought was a stellar voice message only to be cut off by the dreaded “beep” just as we were about to leave our return phone number?! That whole scenario is just so embarrassing, leaving you no other option than to call back and leave yet another voice message.
Limit the Number of Topics: After your brief intro, you need to cut to the chase regarding the one main reason for your call; don't even try to tackle more than one key topic in any given message. Trying to convey information about more than one main subject in a voicemail is a great way to get your message deleted before the person on the other end of the phone even bothers with your phone number.
As a side note, make sure that YOUR recorded voice message is always up-to-date. It’s amazing to me just how many times I’ve gone to return a call and I hear someone’s outdated vacation message from July, when it’s now September! Not at all impressive ― in fact, it screams that you’re not a detail person and very disorganized. And who wants to do business with someone like that? Words to the wise…
Carpe Diem My Friends!