Making Voice Mail Work For You Not Against You

Eric GilboordBy Featured Speaker Eric Gilboord

It is becoming the norm to work at home for all or some of your business activities. Pretty much every company and most consumers, have the ability to receive voice mail messages whether through an answering machine or an invisible machine from a telephone service provider. Some small businesses consider this a hindrance or a roadblock to getting to their prospect or customer. I consider voice mail to be a great aid in reaching people. If you learn to use voice mail to your advantage it could become a wonderful addition to your bag of marketing tools. Voice mail offers you the ability to communicate with your staff, suppliers and allied companies. I have moved many projects ahead by reducing the number of face to face meetings and utilizing voice mail to exchange details with my associates.

The following are common questions about using voice mail as part of the sales & marketing process:

Q. What do I do when I reach a voice mail message?
The secret is to prepare yourself prior to making the call. There is no need to be stumped by an electronic message vs a human voice on the other end of the line. You should have a plan of action and a specific message already in place in case the person is not available.

Q. Should I bother to leave a message or not?
To not take advantage of the capabilities of modern electronics is a waste. If you had a legitimate reason to make the call in the first place, then you owe it to the recipient and yourself to leave a message.

Q. How many messages can I leave without turning into a pest?
The answer is dependent on the type of message you are leaving, the frequency with which you leave the message and the urgency of the message. If the recipient is out of town and has left the message that they call in frequently, then give them the chance to return your call. No one wants to receive the same message repeatedly without having had a reasonable amount of time to respond. If the recipient is unable to respond or you find yourselves playing telephone tag you may leave a message requesting another contact person for you to call. Sometimes people are just plain busy.

Q. Should I vary my message each time?
There is no advantage to leaving the same message over and over again. Try providing more information or increasing the emotion in your voice to communicate a sense of urgency.

Q. How can I break out of the voice mail cycle?
Unfortunately, some people try to leave the wrong message and or are attempting to contact the wrong person. The real reason you are having difficulty getting that return call is because you have not left the information necessary to give you an answer. You may have asked the kind of question the recipient is not capable or ready to answer. You did not give them a reason to call back. Simply saying you called is not necessarily a good enough reason. They may be busy or if they don’t know you, may not feel the obligation to call back. Your own actions may have predetermined your failure. In a new business situation I like to leave some information that is of benefit to the recipient. Give them a reward for listening to the message and an incentive to return my call. To break the voice mail cycle, you can request a return call letting you know when would be the best specific time to reach them. The goal is to make a future arrangement for a phone appointment.

Voice mail can provide many advantages to the savvy marketer. You have the ability to deliver an electronic voice message throughout an organization practically anywhere in the world. The listener can refresh their memories and replay your voice mail over and over at their convenience. This enables the recipient of the message to think about its meaning prior to determining their next course of action. Voice mail has a distinct advantage over other forms of paper communication that have traditionally physically moved information throughout an organization. While social networking, personalized e-mail messages and e-brochures are all great forms of communications, voice mail enables you and the recipient, to inject emotion into your messages. The recipient can hear the emotion in your voice and respond accordingly. This added benefit allows both you and the recipient the opportunity to demonstrate how each of you feel about the project or the new product or service. Your feelings of concern, enthusiasm or excitement for a new idea may motivate the customer or prospect to take the extra step and meet with you vs a “we’ll see or I’ll get back to you” response to a request for a meeting or approval to proceed. I’ve made complete deals using only voice mail.

And that’s According 2 Eric.

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This post is by a guest writer. Please see the "About" section above for more information about today's featured expert.