The Voicemail Award
If there was ever a trophy given to the Buyer who deflected the most incoming phone calls from new vendors and relegated everything to voicemail, it would look a lot like the Heisman Trophy. For the uninitiated, the Heisman is given to the top college football player of the year. It symbolizes greatness and often predicts complete failure in the Pros. But, it’s the hand gesture that the football player is making at the top of the trophy that I think is most appropriate here.
Picture a helmeted football player holding onto the ball, one knee tucked up as if running, and a straight arm and open hand pushing away would-be tacklers. In football terms, it’s called the “Stiff arm.” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Voicemail Award.
I would guess that all print salespeople would have at least one nominee. Most people assume that Voicemail is where sales calls go to die, that there is no value to leaving a message, and that anything they say will be quickly deleted and forgotten. To this, I have two comments:
First, if your voicemail messages are going unreturned, it is likely that you are not saying anything of value. “Hi, my name is Bill. I think I can save you money on the cost of your print. Here’s my telephone number. Let’s talk.”
Easy there, tiger. Let’s not come on too strong. I can’t imagine why someone wouldn’t return that one!
Voicemail is an audition. It’s a chance for you to demonstrate your attitude, knowledge, and sales skill. Be prepared and then knock it out of the park!
Second, I want to tell you about a response I got to a LinkedIn question: Why don’t buyers return phone calls? One respondent posted a memorable comment. He told me that he gets 60 voicemail messages a day. He said, “If I returned every call and gave everyone five minutes, that would take five hours of my day, every day.”