What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Basic Sales 101 – It’s amazing how often we must return to one of those early lessons that we all should know, but must relearn. I am constantly surprised when the most popular video sales tips I produce aren’t on how to beat voice mail or manage time or overcome objections, but rather the one on simple messages—such as how to dress. The only explanation I have for the spike in views (they are on YouTube, FYI) is that they get forwarded as a reminder to other reps.

In that spirit, see if you can figure out what is wrong here…

I call a print sales rep and get voice mail. The voice is upbeat and positive; the message is complete and brief. That’s good.

I am given the option of speaking to a CSR if I need help with an order. Check! And last, I am told that if I need immediate attention, I can call his cell at:

“The number is seveneightone, ninethreefour, sevenohthreesix.”

He was at the second comma by the time I got a pen in my hand. Seriously? Dude, slow down! Speak clearly! Or why bother leaving the number at all?

The outgoing voice mail message that I recommend goes like this:

“This is Bill Farquharson. Thanks for calling. Today is <>. I will be in meetings this morning until 11 a.m., after which I can return your call. If you need immediate assistance, press ‘0’ and ask for Christine. Otherwise, I will call you back after 11.”

That message tells the caller where I am today, how to get help immediately, and when they can expect a call back. Because I was specific with the time, 99.9 percent of the callers will leave a message.

If you want to leave your cell number, great. Knock yourself out. But do it slowly and clearly. Otherwise, either change your outgoing voice mail daily, or leave a generic one with Basic Sales 101 in mind.

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."
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