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Voice Mail Recommendations from the Pros
By Mark Sanford, PhD

A few quick tips for leaving voice mail from Todd Natenberg, author of "I Just Got a Job in Sales! Now What?" 

1. Speak slowly, but enthusiastic. If you aren't excited, the prospect won't be.

2. Say your name, company and phone number at the start and at the end. Nothing is worse than when someone is interested in your product and they have to play the message ten times to catch your name and number.

3. State your desire to "help." It's a powerful word.

For instance, when I get voice mail, I say:

"Hello, SO AND SO. This is Todd Natenberg, TBN Sales Solutions, (773) 755-1306. I'm sorry I missed you. I'm calling to introduce my company to see if we can HELP. TBN Sales Solutions increases commissions for salespeople and profits for businesses through customized training, coaching and consulting. We establish structures and procedures, through classroom workshops and individual sales coaching, to teach reps to control their own destiny, thereby impacting the bottom line. Please call me. Again, Todd Natenberg, TBN Sales Solutions, (773) 755-1306. Thank you." "

Getting Prospects to Return Your Voicemail

Brooks Dreyfus Consulting ( put out a document on how to get your voice mail messages returned. They make the following points:

"Effective voicemails must meet certain criteria. The following is a list of points for leaving great voicemails. After you understand the criteria, create specific messages that are in-line with these points.

Criteria for effective voicemails: 

Short - voicemails should be no longer than 20 seconds. Less is better. It's more effective to leave prospects wondering who you are and what you called for,than for them to delete a long-winded message.

2. Arouse curiosity - this is the single most important piece of advice. The only goal in leaving voicemails for cold prospects is to get them to call you back. If you tell them everything, they don't need to call you back. Spark their interest by having them think about who you are. Being vague may sometimes create interest in the prospects mind. If they are curious, they will call you back.

3. Be different - think of all the voicemail messages that you receive. Do they inspire you to call back? If not, leave messages that are completely different than the ones you receive. Uniqueness will grab a prospects attention and will be more likely to compel them to return your messages.

4. What's in it for them? - If you decide to leave additional information on your call, only state information that is a clear benefit to the customer. What benefits of your products or your services will most likely intrigue them enough to call you back?

5. Warm up the call - take liberty in how you warm up the call. Use whatever you may or may not know about the company. Do you know any other people at the company? Do you know what they do? Do you know their competitors? Any information you know about the company can be used in a voicemail to make you sound more familiar with the prospect and his company.

6. Be confident - don't ask them to call you back, tell them to call you back. You must believe that you are doing them a favor by contacting them, not vice versa. Successful sales calls ensure parity between you and the prospect. Failed sales calls are ones in which you are the subordinate to the prospect.

7. Be creative - think of new and different approaches every day. Even voicemail messages that seem odd at first may be the most effective in getting prospects to call you back.

8. Be prepared - when prospects do call you back, make sure you're able to quickly and efficiently move into your sales call. Fumbling around, asking them multiple times for their name, telling them to hold on while you bring their name up in the database, or trying to find questions you want to ask, will kill your credibility with the customer. You should be able to easily and effectively move into a sales presentation with only a pen and a blank piece of paper."

Mark Sanford, of Sanford Associates, is a business development coach and trainer with 30+ years of business experience. More free articles and training materials on cold calling. Mark can be reached at 925.253.0646.

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