Some cold calling experts suggest that you leave a message when you receive a prospect's voicemail.
Unfortunately, many sales people feel that this is an exercise in futility because most of the time their prospect does not call them back. If that sounds familiar, here are nine reasons why your prospects don't return your calls.
1. Your voicemail message is too long. The majority of voicemail messages decision- makers receive are far too long. Decision-makers are too busy to listen to a long, rambling, and disjointed message. That means you need to get your message across in 30 seconds or less. In fact, I suggest that you try and limit your message to a maximum of 20 seconds.
2. Your voicemail message is too cryptic. On the reverse side, a short, terse voicemail with no details will not likely motivate someone to call you back. You MUST give a prospect enough information to capture their attention and say, "I need to talk to this person."
3. You leave the same voicemail message. It is important to keep trying to connect with your prospect which often means leaving multiple voicemail messages. However, if you want someone to call you back you need to leave a different message every time you call. Plus it must be compelling (see the next point).
4. Your message is not compelling. Most voicemail messages do little to motivate someone to pick up the telephone and return your call. A compelling message MUST demonstrate that you understand your prospect's industry, situation or circumstances and portray that you might have a solution.
5. You have not developed a relationship with them. In today's competitive landscape, people want to do business with suppliers and vendors they know and trust. A call from a salesperson in an unknown company is not likely going to be returned
6. You sound like every other salesperson. The average executive receives dozens of sales calls a day so if you want a busy executive to call you back, your message MUST stand out from every other call he or she receives. I once sat in a Vice President's office as he listened to his voicemail messages on speakerphone and was fascinated how similar every sales call sounded. I was equally intrigued by how quickly this person deleted the messages, too. His finger hovered over the delete button, and in most cases, he erased the message in the first few seconds.
7. You have not done any research. When you leave a voicemail message that clearly demonstrates that you know nothing about your prospect's business, there is no chance they will return your call. For example, "Mr Prospect, we provide solutions that help call centers improve their productivity and performance and generate a higher ROI on their out-bound calls." If this message was left for a small business owner (and it was!) it is highly unlikely the salesperson would get a return call (and they didn't!). At the very least, do some basic research and make sure that your message reflects that homework. It will improve your chances of a return call.
8. Your product or service does not interest them. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone needs your solution and when you call companies that are not the right fit for your product, service or offering, you are simply wasting your time and that of your prospects. Improve your results by more closely targeting your prospecting calls to companies who can actually use your product or service (see point 7 above).
9. Your prospect is simply too busy. Most salespeople fail to realize exactly how busy executives are. A client of mine once said, "I'm so busy right now I can't possibly take on any more projects." This sheer volume of work often prevents decision makers from returning your call because they don't have the time to talk to you and because they can't fit another project into their schedule. Unless your product, service or offering is something they desperately need right now, they probably won't return your call.
About the Author:
Kelley Robertson, author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps sales professionals and businesses discover new techniques to improve their sales and profits. Kelley conducts workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences.