If you or your reps are tired of hearing the dreaded beep when contacting a potential sales lead, you’re certainly not alone. With call back rates being less than 1% for cold calls, people have become increasingly clever at skirting these solicitations.
For a salesperson, it’s easy to get discouraged by hearing the standard greetings and the bored voices, and even more difficult to go against the grain with a genuine enthusiasm that doesn’t come across as overbearing. But sales calls are the nature of every business, and voicemails come with the territory. Switch up your tactics for better results.
Start with the solution
You have to make a lasting impression in a very short amount of time here. Instead of running through a standard script that starts with the name of the rep, try beginning with the exact solutions that are being brought to the table. By doing this, you can trim up to 10 seconds of irrelevant speech, and get straight to the point.
Top decision makers will likely be skeptical no matter what is initially said in a voicemail, especially when hearing from a total stranger who may have a hidden agenda. Try starting the voicemail off with the name of the person you’re calling, and what can be done to help them. Develop scripts where different points are emphasized to see if one gets more traction in terms of call backs. Then at the end, close with the standard name of the salesperson and the telephone number.
Timing and words
Voicemails don’t necessarily need to be long, and preferably they should be kept to around 30 seconds. There are some people who will delete the message from their phone even before the salesperson can get out the first word.
While this is unfortunate, it’s just a fact of life. However, one major opportunity is that more and more people are having their voicemails transcribed and sent to email, meaning that the decision maker may at least glance at the context of the call before deleting it. The words have to be spoken with perfect diction, as well as attention-grabbing and concise, as opposed to an overt sales call with overblown promises. The best thing to do on a voicemail is to instill a natural sense of curiosity before disconnecting the call in how the product or service can possibly accomplish its goals.
Keeping it relevant
When taking the time to make personal sales calls, every word needs to have some larger point behind it.
Practice ensures the message will be delivered in a smooth and coherent manner; just be mindful to avoid sounding overly rehearsed or robotic. When you know someone’s time is important, it’s worth remembering that their needs may be very different from what you initially assume. There should be practice sessions completed with direct supervisors and other sales reps, with everyone taking into account how they would feel if they heard a voicemail from a total stranger. Feedback doesn’t have to be harsh, but it should point out if the caller sounds boring, speaks in generalities or just plain doesn’t sound convinced that they can help.
Losing the fear
There’s no doubt it will be difficult to make an impression when leaving 100 voicemails a day, but that fear cannot get in the way — even if it’s the 15th attempt spread out over weeks. Nervousness or anxiety shouldn’t stop reps from taking a chance like making a joke, even at the risk of feeling as though they’re being unprofessional. After all, well-placed humor that actually makes the receiver smile isn’t likely something they get every day. The sales rep should also never reference how many past (failed) attempts they’ve made to connect either.
While there is the chance that your company will be labeled as one that is unable to take a hint, more often than not, buyers admire salespeople who are personable and refuse to give up (even though they may not say it very often). As long as the salesperson leaving the voicemails is hitting the major points and bringing up information or stories that strike home, then the voicemail can hardly be labeled a waste of time.
Before a sales rep finishes up their spiel, they should be leaving a very clear call-to-action. Letting the listener know they have the options to check a website, call them back, watch a YouTube video, or email them is only going to overwhelm and confuse them. Pick one action that the person is most likely to complete, or leave them with one action and an alternative.
Some people enjoy having narrowed down choices, such as checking out a product demonstration to ensure they actually have a need for the goods the company is offering before calling. Every voicemail left should have a clear structure and an easily understood layout, which takes some practice when you only have 30 seconds or less.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.