I often get asked whether or not we leave voicemails through the course of a campaign. You have already done most of the work making the call, leaving a voicemail takes less than a minute and could net you your next big opportunity. While the percentage of returned calls is extraordinarily low, the calls that are returned almost always result in deals if there is a real fit. Out of the 3000 dials our firm made last week, we had four returned calls. All four went to quote, and all four of them were larger SMB opportunities at greater than 50 seats.
Remember, prospecting is a process. You will get quick wins, but more often you are just following the process that you establish for filling your sales funnel. Leaving voicemails will be part of that process, and like any step in the process, the better and more consistently you do it, the better the results will be.
Here are some tips for leaving better voicemails for your prospects.
Don’t make calls from a blocked number.
Most people don’t answer blocked numbers, and people who see the same number come up repeatedly are inclined to answer it even if they aren’t picking up your voicemails.
Leave a professional sounding message.
A professional voicemail should have your name (spell out your name if it is not a common name or if there can be multiple ways to spell it), the date and time of your call, your company name, a brief description of the reason for your call, and your direct phone number, email address (spell it!) and your website address so your prospect can review your services before making an informed decision about whether or not they are going to return the call, and return the message in the way that is most appealing to them. I suggest having an interesting offer for your prospects to leave on their voicemail — it can be time sensitive, within reason. It is ridiculous to assume that the CEO of a business will have time to return your call before Friday, even if your offer is incredible.
There is a fine line between sounding like a professional and sounding like an infomercial. Leave the voicemail for yourself a few times — would you return that call? Does it sound too pushy? Do you sound happy? Hone the message, and practice leaving it before you begin delivering it to prospects.
Let them know when you’ll call next.
To close the message, let your prospect know you will call them again on a certain date at a certain time, and calendar that callback. Keep that commitment. You should have time in your calendar reserved for call back activities weekly.
Send an email if you have an email address.
If you do have an email address, indicate in your voicemail that you have their email and you will send them some information and follow up with them at a certain time, or they are welcome to respond to the email with an invitation to speak at a time that works for them. In the subject header of the email I usually write “Follow up from my Voicemail on Date/Time." The body of the email should contain details on the offer you mentioned on your email, and ideally a link to a landing page on your website so you can track any visitors to your website coming directly from your calling campaign.
Keep your follow up commitments
It takes on average six touches to connect with a prospect. You need a process to make sure you don’t drop the ball on your follow ups. There are several channel experts that speak to sales follow up, many of them also featured here on IdeaXchange. Stuart Crawford at Ulistic has a 17-step follow up process that he teaches his clients. Kendra Lee at the KLA Group teaches a multi-touch, integrated prospecting strategy and encourages her clients to reach out to prospects more than nine times. If you stop following up after only a few tries, you’re going to miss the opportunity.
Use Social Media to personalize your voicemails.
Did you enjoy reading something a prospect shared on Twitter or LinkedIn? Let them know it. If you are having trouble making a connection, it’s important that you indicate to them you are paying attention to them, their company, and their requirements. On your next voicemail, thank them for sharing that content. Use LinkedIn and Twitter as additional touches for prospecting. Make sure you indicate on your voicemails that you recently started following them on Twitter and enjoy their posts. Re-tweet content you find valuable.
Voicemail is a great one-minute advertisement for your services, don’t overlook it.
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