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Productivity and cost efficiency are important drivers for businesses implementing new technologies. While it is hardly new and few can argue its overall benefit, voice mail is one technology that has greatly reduced the productivity of B2B salespeople and increased cost for their employers. This however can be fixed. Here’s how.

No question that trying to engage with a live prospect has become increasingly difficult as voice mail has become ubiquitous. Contrary to what most reps think it is not always a case of people “hiding behind voice mail”, most people are truly busy and use voice mail to cope. However, consistently successful reps always leave voice mail, and as a result get more appointments and generate more sales and revenues There are a couple of dynamics at play. A lot of reps say “I never get a call back”; “No one ever returns voice mails”. Not true, I get return calls from five out of ten messages I leave.

More importantly you also benefit from messages left even when they don’t call back. Studies show it can take anywhere from four to seven approaches before someone responds to or consider something new, i.e. your product/service. Many reps will call several times, not leave a message hoping they will eventually get the person live; most will give up after three attempts at reaching someone, and move on. There is a difference between being persistent in getting on a prospect’s radar, and agitation; most reps give up too soon. When you do not leave a message, then you may have tried three or even four times, but as far as the prospect is concerned you’re at zero; you didn’t leave a message, no “calling card” telling them you want to talk to them.

Some reps waste time dialing someone dozens of times, not leaving a message. When they finally connect they let the built-up frustration out on the prospect, as though it was his fault that they called and called and called, instead of leaving a message and having them call back, while making use of the wait time to reach out to more prospects. Another thing to consider is that a vast majority of reps, who do not leave messages, still listen to the entire outbound message on the voice mail, so why not take a few more seconds and leave a message. It’s a no brainer. On the one hand, even if they don’t call back (within 72 hours), you are on the prospects radar (yes initially at the fringe but still better than the those who don’t leave messages).

On the other hand, you have a 50-50 shot of getting a call back, good odds, and certainly many more conversation leading to more appointments. The technique for getting a call back is very simple. The human mind hates a mystery, given the opportunity to erase a question mark most people will do it. Most messages ask you to leave “a detailed message”, because they want to be able to fully evaluate and prioritize who and what they call back. Your goal is to be contrarian and minimalist. Create a need for them to call back if they want to close off or resolve the issue. Using third party references and brevity is the key. Consider using a message like the one below. Assume ABC is a company you currently do or have done business with that the contact will recognize, (competitor, supplier, customer, but one that you are or have dealt with).

“Hi Mr. Smith. This is Bill Drake from Safety Software. You can reach me at 416-565-1212, and I’m calling you with reference to ABC Company.” Keep the messages short!

If you leave a message like the one above, it causes curiosity and leverages the work you are doing with ABC Company to schedule an appointment with your target. As mentioned above, I get five return calls for every ten messages left. That is five more conversations than those who don’t leave messages, which means more appointments and more sales.

Sell well!

Originally posted on sellbetter.ca

About the Author

Tibor ShantoTibor Shanto is Prospecting & Sales Execution Specialist specializing in B2B companies that deliver professional development for professional sales people. He aims to help sales professionals better execute their sales process, with a focus on new client and revenue acquisition. He has worked with hundreds of companies and thousands of reps, helping them understand that success in sales is all about Execution – Everything Else Is Just talk.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.


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