Never Wing It with Voicemail

Voicemail. It’s a wonderful way of capturing messages when we’re busy doing something where we just don’t want to have to jump to answer the phone, isn’t it? Before voicemail (and answering machines), we just missed out on information or opportunities.

For those of us in sales, the advent of voicemail is both a blessing and a curse, isn’t it? It allows us to leave important messages for our clients. It allows us to keep in touch without actually investing a lot of time chatting with the Chatty Cathy’s and Talkative Tom’s of the world. And, (the curse part) it allows the Evasive Ed’s and Indecisive Ida’s of the world to practice avoidance at the champion level.

Where we run into challenges–where voicemail just doesn’t seem to serve us all that well–is when we don’t properly prepare to use it well. You may think I’m a nit-picker, but I truly believe that any little nuance of selling that isn’t analyzed and used to its highest value could be costing you and me sales.

Understand this: Every client contact is a sales presentation. Read that line again.

You wouldn’t wing it when presenting your product or service, would you? Of course not. You’re a pro! You prepare like one.

Then, why would you not invest a couple of minutes in preparing what you will say in case you have to leave a message when calling a client or potential client? You may have a plan for what you’ll say and the goal of a conversation with that client. But what’s your goal when your “conversation” has to be one-sided because they don’t pick up? What will you say to get them interested enough in speaking with you that they’ll either return your call, meet you somewhere, or pick up the next time you call? And when will that be?

Do yourself a favor and set a goal for every client contact and then prepare accordingly. Develop the questions you need to ask in order to get the answers you want. Be prepared for that one-sided conversation with the client’s voicemail and you’ll start having more two-sided conversations because you provided value or piqued their curiosity and suggested what they should do next rather than winging it with something like, “This is Bob Smith. I was hoping to talk with you. I’ll call back another time.” That’s what winging it sounds like.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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