Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: Do/Don’t Leave That Voicemail

If you asked a politician or a pathological liar (sorry, that’s redundant), or Two Face, one of Batman’s rivals, whether or not to leave voicemail during a prospecting call, the answer would be either a resounding yes-no or an equally convincing no-yes. Voicemail is equal parts problem and opportunity, nuisance and last resort, “Don’t bother” and “Better than nothing.” You likely come down firmly on one side of the argument or the other (or both, in which case you’d make an excellent Consultant!).

Voicemail became popular in the early ’80s as an added service (read: added cost) along with Caller ID and Call Forwarding. It eliminated the need for an answering machine and gave us access to messages 24/7 from anywhere in the world. If you are looking for the origin of the mobile office, look no further. Voicemail was the first in a long line of “technology services” that tethered us all to work. Prior to this point, unanswered phones rang incessantly and callers learned to simply try again later. Ah, the good old days.

But what was once a convenience for both caller and recipient became a Black Hole for Sales effort and a place where persistency goes to die. If that is the case, is there still a reason to leave a message at all?

Let’s examine both arguments…

OMG, yes! Leave Voicemail. Are you nuts? You are seriously considering not leaving a voicemail message? What record will there be of your desire to speak to someone? Not leaving a voicemail message is like not making a sales call and hoping that business comes to you. Granted, you should not expect a return phone call, but that’s no longer what voicemail is for.

The number one reason why someone buys from you is your raw sales ability. Voicemail is an audition. It’s a chance for you to demonstrate your personality, attitude and diligence. It’s the “Tag. You’re it!” part of sales. As Wayne Gretzky’s Dad said to him, “You miss 100 percent of the shots that you never take.” By leaving a clear, concise and professional voicemail message, you build your brand. The value goes beyond the words you use. Combining strong and valuable words with diligence leaves the impression that you are knowledgeable, different, fun, positive and someone that everyone wants to do business with.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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