There’s a terrific post on EyesOnSales called The 20 Worst Prospecting Voicemail Mistakes Salespeople Make and there are a few mistakes that really ring true for me.
One of them is “Not leaving a voicemail at all.” It’s the number one mistake and I couldn’t agree more. While there are still some companies and sales teams that won’t ever leave messages, preferring instead what I call the “ambush” technique, most people are looking to get some value out of their effort and if you don’t leave a message when you don’t connect, you have totally wasted your time.
Some sales managers feel that with the low return rate, leaving voicemail is not worth the effort but that ties into mistake #’s 10 & 15 – leaving the message and just waiting for a returned call. Worse than that, leaving a voicemail – or any other single message – and seriously expecting that you won’t need to do anything until your own phone starts to ring, indicates that you have perhaps spent the last 5 years with your head in the sand.
Making personal connections is hard work. Even when you’re returning a call or following up on a solid enquiry it can take a long time to directly connect with the person or people who you need to talk with.
And that’s just one of the reasons why voicemail – usually with an email follow up- is such a critically important tool for a sales person. Let’s face it, many people are working in markets where there is a volume of calls component to be met. Realistically, you probably aren’t going to do a lot of in-depth research on any single company until you have established some communication. That means that your voicemail might not necessarily be addressing a unique trigger event, but with a little creativity you can talk about a “likely” trigger. Good examples are large trade events, competitive exposure, industry news…there’s really a lot to work with and you can incorporate this into your own voicemail to add some value to your message.
I would say that one thing missing from this otherwise great list is “Failing to add value”
Adding value is key to your opening communications and to your suspect and prospect nurturing. Adding value does not require a half hour break between calls to draft your deathless prose, but it does mean that you need to provide some small snippet of information or an idea within your 30 odd second message what will create a favorable impression in the mind of the person you left the message for.
Will they call you back faster? Not likely. Buyers are marching to the beat of their own drums not yours. They’ll call back when they want something from you. But to improve your odds that they’ll want something from you, it would help if they know you exist and believe you’re in touch with their market. If you don’t leave any message at all, they won’t even know you exist and if you can’t add some value to your message, they won’t care.