Are Your Voicemails a Silk Purse?

Having followed  many discussions lately on cold calling, it was something of a surprise to follow a discussion that accepted that cold calls are still a reality of sales and marketing for many companies. Rather than talk about how cold calling should be replaced with inbound lead generation (usually leveraged off social and email marketing automation software)  – which is of course a lovely idea, as long as you have the manpower and the budget to drive those inbound inquiries- this discussion talked about how to get the most value out of those calls.

Clearly, in the opinion of the discussion participants, one of the best ways to drive value from cold calling is to leave voicemails – intelligent, intriguing and honest ones that is. What people don’t like are ambiguous and/or demanding messages.

Here are some of the points that the discussion participants made to illustrate best practices for voicemails on cold calls:

  • Be honest and allude to your value proposition.
  • Understand you will likely need to leave several different messages over time before you ever get a call back.
  • Anticipate at least 8 unsuccessful attempts to connect and keep trying.
  • Change your voicemail messages a little on each repeat attempt.
  • Use your messages as an opportunity to leverage curiosity and build trust – to some degree you are warming up the contact for when you do connect.
  • Recognize that contacts are probably getting many bad voicemails left for them.
  • Call backs are great but know that your messages are building your brand – a little bit at a time.
  • Response rates are very low, but NO MESSAGE = GUARANTEED RESPONSE RATE OF 0%
  • Separate yourself from the pack and leave a message with something of value.

Like cold calling (any type of calling really)  voicemail is a valuable tool that is not going away.  The challenge that many sales and marketing teams face is how to evolve their expectations of what voicemail can do in keeping with how the market itself is evolving.  It used to be that voicemail was evaluated only based on the number of inbound calls a message could generate, but smart companies now understand that there are different objectives that it can support.

Every time you leave a voicemail it’s an opportunity to add one more piece of information about how your product or service can advance your contact’s  business goals, improve their performance and avoid pain. The rest is simply a matter of timing.

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