Customer Experience News & Trends

Using customers’ voice mail to get screened in, not out

Voice mail boxes are a tough customer gatekeeper to crack. 

If voice mail systems had “truth detectors” that modified greetings from users, we’d probably hear, “This is Dale Johnson. I’m using voice mail to screen my calls to determine which ones have value to me. If you’re a salesperson who will drone on about your products and services, hit ‘6’ now and delete your own call so I won’t have to. Otherwise, tell me quickly how what you have will help me in some way, and if it’s compelling enough, I might get back to you.”

Electronic oblivion

Like it or not, that’s the feeling of some customers who purge voice mail messages into electronic oblivion. And you can’t blame them. No one has time to return inept messages that have nothing of value to the listener.

Thankfully, you can use voice mail as a sales tool to get screened in, not out.

Here’s how:

  • Be Prepared. As part of your call preparation, know what you’ll say should you reach a recording. Ensure you’ll have a smooth delivery with no “uhhh’s.” Prospects’ perception of you is based even more on the way you sound than on what you say. If you’re not prepared, hang up and call back when you are.
  • Present Benefits. You’ve got about a nanosecond to grip their lapels with a benefit that causes them to say, “Yeah, I’d be interested in that.” But don’t talk about yourself  people don’t care about your products or services. Results are what they want. Mention ideas you have that might be of interest to them about reducing their materials expense, information you have on reducing costs that could be of some use, the fact you’ve worked with other businesses of their type to help them increase their average order size, and so on. Ask yourself before your call, what do I have that this person would want, or what pain can I help them avoid?
  • Have a Contingency Statement. Make disclosure of the benefits contingent on speaking with them. Don’t leave entire sales presentations they can reject. Instead, pique their curiosity so they raise their eyebrows, curious to speak with you to learn more: ” . . . and to determine is this is something that might work for you, I’d like to ask you a few questions. . .”
  • Be Specific. Tell them what’s to happen: that you’ll call back, or if they’re to call you, the best time to reach you.
  • Give Numbers Slowly, Clearly, and Completely. Repeat your phone number as the very last thing they hear. They might pick up your message from a car or pay phone and not have a pen handy. This way they could phone back immediately.

Adapted from: How to Sell More in Less Time with No Rejection, by Art Sobczak, president of Business By Phone, Inc., Omaha, NE.

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