4 Steps To Effective Voicemails

You’ve let it sit on the corner of your desk all week – that dreaded call list. But now your manager is working his way office to office, asking how everyone is making out with their calls.

So you pick up the phone and dial the number, praying it’s been disconnected. It starts ringing, so you pray no one picks up and it goes to voicemail. And when it does, you still trip over your tongue and hang up feeling like a complete idiot.

Or maybe you feel totally prepared, project a professional tone, but still don’t understand why no one calls you back. Either way, odds are you aren’t showing the value that can be found by connecting with you.

Here’s my four step formula for crafting a value-filled voicemail.

1. Know who you’re calling. You have a name and  a phone number, but that’s not enough. You need to conduct a little research. The point is to paint a picture of your customer. You need to find out how they think and what they are trying to accomplish.

If you’re reaching out to an existing customer, pull up their account and see what you can learn. What products do they already have? How do they use them? How much do they spend with you? What problems have they reported in the past? What about their demographics?

If you’re calling on a potential customer, the internet is your friend. Type their name into Google and LinkedIn to see what you can find out about them. What kind of business are they in? Do they even use the sort of product or service you offer? What can you find out about the specific contact your attempting to reach?

The better you are at understanding your target’s point of view, the better you’ll be able to position your message in a way that they’ll receive in a positive light.

2. Know why you’re calling. Maybe you want to sell something. Maybe you need to gather some information. Or maybe you need your customer or prospect to perform some action that will help you get some paperwork off of your desk. Regardless of the purpose of your call, you need to reframe the goal in terms of what your target needs.

What opportunity are they currently missing out on? What problem could they solve by moving forward? What inconveniences do they stand to face by not taking action? By positioning your goal as their goal you’ll stand a better chance of getting the response you need.

3. Know your desired outcome. Sure, you’re calling this prospect with the hopes of earning a sale; but what is the specific next step you want the recipient of your call to take? Do you need them to answer a question, agree to a meeting, or send you a document? Know exactly what you want to happen as a result of your call.

4. Craft your message. Know that you have these three building blocks, its time to craft your message. Assuming you’ll be connected to voicemail, write out your message – on paper. Spend some time massaging the words until you have a message that clearly communicates the value your customer/target will realize by taking the step(s) you identified in step 3.

Now all that’s left is to pick up the phone and make the call. When the phone rings, clear your throat and prepare to leave your professionally crafted message. If, by chance, your prospect answers, simply read the first sentence or two of your message as an introduction to your call.

Want to see how it works? Check out this voicemail I received and how I would rescript it using this method.

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