Getting To Know You
By Joe Bonura, CSP
Are you suffering from technology overkill? When
calling clients and business associates, do you hear recorded
messages more often than live voices? Does it become more
and more difficult to reach people by phone? This is Part
One of a two-part message on using voice mail to your advantage.
Part one covers overcoming voice mail roadblocks
while making warm calls. Warm calls are referrals and prospects
that know of you, but do not know you, and business associates
who know you, but do not return your calls.
Part Two will feature using voice mail efficiently
when cold calling for prospects.
Take The Live Option
The first rule of voice mail: If you have the option of reaching
a live person, take it! Usually dialing zero after the beep will
send you to an assistant or receptionist. Ask for the assistant's
name, and say, "Linda, I was just in Bob's voice mail. What
is the best time to reach him in person?"
Call back at the suggested time, and if you are unable to reach
him at that time, forward to the assistant again, asking for her
by name, and say, "Linda, I was unable to reach Bob at the
time you suggested. I would leave a message; however, I am difficult
to reach, and we will probably play voice mail tag. How can I
reach him now?" You will be amazed at how often you find
your contact by having the resolution to ask this question.
Cutting Down On Voice Mail Tag
Do you want to eliminate voice mail tag? Since your callers know
you, your contacts are likely to call you back. If there is a
chance they will reach your voice mail, let them know how your
system works when leaving a message on their voice mail. When
I am on the phone, my voice mail kicks on, even though I am in
the office. I tell my contacts the best time to reach me, and
if they reach my voice mail, I am probably on the phone. Leave
a message, and I will call back within 15 minutes.
Warm Calling - It Is All In The Message
Your key objective in warm calling is to reach your contact.
Unlike cold calling, you will leave messages most of the time,
and a good message is critical to your success. I will give you
several suggestions for leaving a powerful voice mail message.
Always Prepare A Voice Mail Script Before You Make The Call
Yes, a script (as a prompter). Write your message in full prose,
or simply list the main points that you wish to make. State your
purpose clearly and ask for what you want.
Include A Benefit Statement
Begin by creating a desire in them to speak with you. Design
your personal benefit statement by asking a question. For example:
"How would you like to increase the return on your marketing
investment? We may be able to show you how."
If your company has recently provided a new service, let the
customer know by designing your question with that benefit in
mind. For example: "I heard that you are forming a telemarketing
department. Are you aware that Joe has a seminar series to help
telemarketers overcome cold-call jitters? Call me to discuss the
Referrals Are Gold
When my marketing manager has a referral, she states the contact's
name at the beginning of her message. For example: "I promised
Bob Quinn that I would contact you. Because Bob hired Joe to train
his salespeople, Bob is experiencing phenomenal results. He felt
you could benefit from Joe's expertise."
When recording, always deliver a detailed message, and think
of it as a one-way conversation that your contact will eventually
complete. An advantage to voice mail is that you can ask exactly
what you wish and can be assured that it is communicated the way
you want to say it. Secretaries and receptionists may interpret
your message incorrectly to a prospect.
Create A Sense Of Urgency
Give the contact a pressing reason to call back. Give date deadlines,
or let them know if you are running out of stock. For example:
"Joe will be in Chicago for one day on January 19th conducting
a seminar on negotiating long-term contracts. I thought you would
be interested, so call by next week because space is limited."
Never, never, never lie about your deadlines or stock availability
to create urgency - it is not worth ruining your credibility.
Create a voice mail script that is distinguishable from others
by adding your own personality, sound effects, singing, music,
anything attention-grabbing. I have a colleague who uses dialects
and impersonations to get callbacks. Exercise discretion and determine
whether your unique factor is appropriate to the situation based
on your level of familiarity with the contact.
Be Clear And Concise
Keep your message to 35 seconds or less. Preparation is the key
to keeping your timing sharp. Unprepared callers tend to ramble,
so practice your message before dialing.
Real People Still Exist
In the age of technology, you encounter voice mail so often that
it is surprising when you reach a live contact. Be ready
to turn your voice mail script into a human conversation.
You now have many ways to improve your chances of
making contacts. Read Part Two of my voice mail power tips
that focuses on how to use voice mail to your advantage
when cold calling for prospects. I cover topics like combining
voice mail with other technologies, setting appointments,
and evaluating prospects.
© 1997 Joe Bonura & Associates,