Turn Voice-Mail Messages into Sales Opportunities – Part II

Last time, FEI sales leader Zoot educated young salesperson Demeter on how effective use of voice mail can lead to sales opportunities. This week, Zoot gives the sales apprentice another tip for leaving a voice-mail message that will get returned. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot walked in to Demeter’s office to find him talking on the O-phone.

“FEI has a fire solution for nearly every restaurant need. Our torches will illuminate your dining areas, our custom fire-lit ovens will cook your food, and our matches will supply you and your staff with quick and easy access to fire wherever you go. Our fire products have so many uses…”

“You’re talking too much,” Zoot suggested. “Listen more.”

Demeter put his hand over the receiver. “I can’t. I’m leaving a voice message.”

Zoot slapped his hand to his forehead. “Good grapes! You’ll be lucky if your prospect even listens to a message that long, let alone returns it. Short and sweet voice-mail messages are much more likely to get callbacks.”

Demeter put down his O-phone. “I’m all ears.”

“Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes,” Zoot said. “How do you feel when you have to slog through dozens of long, rambling voice messages?”

“I’d rather go wading in the river Styx,” Demeter said. “I usually just end up deleting those.”

“Exactly! We appreciate people who don’t waste our time, so we’re more likely to notice and respond to brief voice-mail messages. That’s why you should keep them to less than 20 seconds and focus on communicating a single idea. Any longer, and you risk losing the listener’s interest.”

“I’m with you so far,” Demeter said. “But I’m naturally long-winded. How can I keep this impulse in check when get voice mail?”

“I suggest drafting and rehearsing a concise message before calling,” Zoot said. “This will help you prepare for either leaving a memorable voicemail or having a strong conversation with the prospect.”

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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