The 60-Second Voicemail Pitch
Voicemail message: “Can I get 30 minutes of your time? My name is Bill and I sell printing. I’d like to talk to you about my company and the many ways we can save you money. I’ll fill you in on our background, equipment list, company philosophy and discuss myriad success stories. A PowerPoint presentation displayed on my iPad will bring the world of print to life.
“Oh, and I will want to know something about you, what you do and what you buy so that I can provide pricing. What do you say? Do you have 30 minutes for me?”
Quite honestly, no. My job as a buyer is all-consuming. With fewer people working here, that means we need to get more done in less time. The idea that I would have 30 minutes to give anyone is, unfortunately, ludicrous. I barely have time to do my own job and God help me when my boss decides to push something else onto my desk.
Back in the old days, we used to set time aside each month for the specific purpose of meeting new vendors. After all, we didn’t know what we didn’t know and there might very well be a better mousetrap out there. But those were different times.
I mean, I get it. I understand that your job is to sit in front of people like me and extol the virtues of your products and services. Chances are overwhelming that I already have one of you — if not two — doing a satisfactory, if not stellar job. Seeking out another source is not a priority for me.
Besides, you are a printer. Taking a meeting with you is akin to spending time weighing the benefits of buying milk at a convenience store different from the one I currently frequent. It’s just milk. Are your cows better than their cows? Getting ink and toner to magically stick to a substrate can be successfully accomplished by any cow in the pasture. So, no, I do not have 30 minutes to listen to you talk about printing.
Voicemail message: “Okay, then can I get 20 minutes of your time? My name, again, is Bill and I sell printing. I’d like to talk to you about my capabilities and my differentiator. I see that you are in the health care field. We work with many companies in that space, helping them to reduce their print spend through innovative online ordering solutions. We have big pieces of print equipment with lots of lights and buttons.
“I’d love to tell you all about it as well as hear more about your future plans for growth and how we might be able to help. Do you have 20 minutes to spare?”
Not really. It does interest me that you have some experience in health care. Thank you for mentioning that. It drives me crazy that I have to spend part of my busy day explaining to people what we do when it is publicly available information. From time to time, salespeople sit in front of me at a first appointment completely unprepared. They know all about their company and their industry but nothing about mine. Once I realize how one-sided this conversation is going to be, I shut it down faster than a bad first date.
Your voicemail provides some glimmer of hope that you have a general knowledge of the vertical market we inhabit, but does little to persuade me to fit you into my busy day. I am slightly more tempted than before, but only slightly.
Voicemail message: “Ten minutes. Just give me 10 minutes. I promise to respect your time and keep the conversation about printing to a minimum while asking a bevy of open-ended questions carefully prepared based on the extensive research I will do prior to walking in your door.
“If I am still in your office past 10 minutes, it’s because you have kept me there to discuss something we hit upon of mutual interest. Got 10 minutes?”
Perhaps. I like the heavy emphasis on me, my needs and the company’s future. I like the fact that you have stripped away the parts about you that I can basically assume to be true and that, if you have a piece of equipment so unique that I need to know about it, you will work that part in. Otherwise, it will go without saying that you are competent, on time, ISO certified, and that people buy from you because of your great customer service, blah, blah, blah. However …
Ten minutes of face-to-face time is an interruption in my day. We both know it’s not going to be 10 minutes. You will arrive and be escorted to the conference room where I will join you. We will chitchat for a few minutes and then you will give your presentation. Neither of us will keep track of the time and before we know it, 30 minutes will have passed.
I’d like to say that I’ve got time for a 10-minute phone call, and I could probably find the time, but I have a better idea: Can you leave me a 60-second voicemail message — no more, no less — that is so compelling, so interesting, so different, so intriguing, that I would be remiss at my job if I did not find the time to meet with you for further discussion?
Voicemail message: “Good morning. My name is Bill and my company has vast experience in the health care market. In reviewing your website and after calling the trade association that I see you belong to, I have a good understanding of where your company is headed and the general challenges faced by those in your field.
“From now until the end of the year, I see that you will be taking part in numerous trade shows as a follow-up to the product announcement that was made recently. I can help you to increase the ROI of that expenditure. I can drive attendance to your booth. I can assist in the creation of graphics including small-format, high-quality print right up to wide-format banners and posters that will get the message across. And I can help you with swift follow-up to the leads generated, even customizing to individual requests.
“My hope is that you have 30 minutes to meet with me so that we can discuss the ideas that I will come prepared to deliver. Can I get 30 minutes of your time?”
Quite honestly ... yes. Yes you can. PI
About the Author
Bill Farquharson is a VP at Epicomm. His training programs can drive your sales momentum. Visit sales.epicomm.org for more information or contact Farquharson at (781) 934-7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org