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The Deadly Sins of Voice Mail

Posted by Jerry Doll on Tue, Dec, 07, 2010 @ 10:12 AM

Written by Paul Nolan, for SalesForceXP - November-December 2010

The telephone, a form of communication that has received only minor tweaks in the last 100 years, just doesn't provide much to like these days, says John Jantsch, a marketing coach and the mastermind behind DuctTapeMarketing.com. He warns that if your salespeople are calling on prospects because they have something to sell, they had better not commit one of the following sins or they can forget about a call back:

1. No reason for the call

You call someone and say, "Hey Bob, this is Sandy, give me a call." Even if Bob and Sandy are best buds this one is a crime. There's a good chance that Sandy just needed to know what time the meeting is today and should leave that info for one of a dozen possible ways that Bob can respond. If Sandy actually wants a call back because she wants to sell Bob something, then this borders on silliness.

2. No value presented

When you leave a message in a prospecting mode you better get the recipient's attention by mentioning something of value. Point them

to an event, a free resource or information that demonstrates you understand a vast amount about what they do and what their challenges are. I got a call the other day where the salesperson suggested, "I don't really know what you guys do down there but I would love to come over and spend half an hour to see if there's anything we could do together." Seriously?

3. No reference for the call

Cold calling is abusive to both parties; A cold call voice message isn't much better, it's just easier to ignore. Spend some time getting to know who knows the person you're calling. Use the vast data available in your social networks and find virtual connections.

At the very least find a way to strike some common ground and suggest so and so thought you should call. It's much harder to ignore a referral.

4. No suggested call back plan

Phone tag is a cruel form of voice mail torture and can be minimized by suggesting when you are going to try to call back or suggesting when the recipient can catch you. You can also suggest all the better ways, such as e-mail, that you might be reached. This is particularly helpful when trying to move something forward without the ability to meet on the same clock.

5. Rapid fire phone number

Have you ever noticed how often people will leave long thoughtful messages and then get to the phone number part and speed up like they're suddenly out of time? Now, the person trying to call them back has to replay the message three times in order to jot down the number. Slow down when leaving your number and say it twice.

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