By Jeff Beals
Let’s say it’s Tuesday morning at 7:30, the start of your weekly phone prospecting time. You did your pre-call research the previous day and have your list of prospects ready to go. You sit down at your desk, dial the first prospect’s number and…
You get their voicemail, of course.
The vast majority of prospecting calls go to voicemail. Some sales pros gripe and grumble when they are automatically routed to a prospect’s voicemail. They complain, that “nobody ever answers the damned phone!”
It is true that prospects are getting harder to reach. It is also true that decision makers are more likely to let calls from unrecognized phone numbers go to voicemail.
But don’t consider voicemails to be a bad thing; see them as opportunities, little advertisements that can be customized exactly to each prospect’s unique situation. Because you are most likely going to get voicemail whenever you call, it makes sense that you put a lot of thought and effort into each voicemail. I know sales reps whose voicemails are so good and so effective, they would RATHER get a prospect’s voicemail than reach him or her on the first attempt.
In order to make your voicemail efforts more fruitful, here are some common voicemail mistakes that every sales rep should studiously avoid:
1. Talking too much
Sales voicemails should be less than 20 seconds.
2. Giving up too soon
It typically takes eight or more voicemails to get a prospect to call you back. Most people quit after two or three messages, because they’re worried about being pesky or sounding desperate. I’ll admit it feels weird to carpet bomb a prospect with eight or more voicemails, but if each voicemail highlights something of value, they are really effective. If you are persistent there’s a good chance they’ll call you back.
3. Touching base
Never say, “I’m calling to touch base,” or “I’m just checking in with you.” Those are annoying voicemails to receive, because they provide nothing of value to the recipient.
4. Talk about yourself
Never leave a litany of features and benefits on a voicemail. Never talk about how great you are, how many awards your company has won or the combined years of experience your staff has. Your prospects only care about how your product or service makes their lives better.
5. “I’m going to be in your area next week and would love to stop by and take just 20 minutes of your time.”
Just because you are coincidentally going to be in a prospect’s city, doesn’t mean that a prospect wants to drop everything she has going on and spend time with you. Your travel schedule is irrelevant to a prospect if you have failed to catch his imagination in the first place.
6. Trying to say too much
If you only have 20 seconds to leave a voicemail, you only have time for one idea. If you have more than one burning thing you want to say, save the second thing for the next voicemail.
7. Forget to leave your call-back number
One of the easiest excuses a prospect has to NOT return a voicemail message is if the call-back number is not readily available. Only 7 percent of sales voicemails are ever returned, which means it’s hard enough to get call backs. Don’t do anything that lowers the likelihood.
8. Being misleading
Some sales reps like to deceive prospects in their voicemails either by implying that they are returning the recipient’s call (even though the recipient never called them in the first place) or by name-dropping a person they don’t really know. You don’t want to do anything that comes back to embarrass yourself if you do end up getting a meeting.
Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”
Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:
“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY
I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA
“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team