Unfortunately, we can't always be available each time a client or new prospect calls needing our services. In today's environment, when we do get a call it usually means they need something quickly, or it could even be regarding a problem on an existing order.
In your absence, what does a caller hear? Does your voice mail message give each caller a sense that you are professional, enthusiastic and eager to get right back to them... or does it leave them wondering when you will get the message and if in fact you will ever call them back?
Understanding that we are not exclusive to all of our clients, have you considered how much business you might be losing each year due to a weak voice mail message?
What if your client called the next available distributor because you were not available and you had a lousy voice mail message?
Maybe it is time to call yourself!
Over the weekend, take some time to evaluate your voice mail message on your cell phone and office phone system.
Call yourself, let it ring and count the rings. Does it pick up on the second ring? It should! If you make your clients wait four rings they may not want to wait that long to leave a message. Think about it... what message are you sending if you make them wait?
Test several ways to answer your phone and select the way that best reflects your selling style.
Here are a few good examples:
Hello, this is (first name, last name), I am not able to take your call personally at this time, but if you would like to leave a message, I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for calling. Goodbye!
Hello, this is (first name, last name), with (your company name) your call is very important to me so please leave a brief message and I will call you back as soon as possible. Goodbye.
Hello, this is (first name, last name), I am out of the office at this time but you can leave a message or try me on my cell phone... 555-555-1212. Thank you!
Hello, this is (first name, last name), I am not available to take your call at this time so please leave a message and I will return your call at my earliest convenience. Goodbye.
Our point is... you need to be completely satisfied with what you hear when your voice mail message picks up.
Make sure it sounds as professional as possible, and has that sense of urgency to respond to their call.
Here are a few do's and don'ts regarding voice mail etiquette:
- Keep your message short, upbeat, and professional.
- Forward the call to your cell phone if possible.
- If you can't forward the call, make sure the caller knows you will get back to them as soon as possible.
- Leave your cell number as a secondary option.
- Be natural and friendly in your tone and content.
- Thank them for the call.
- Be cute or funny.
- Have music playing in the background.
- Sound as though you are too busy to take the call.
- Say you will get back to them within 24 hours.... that is not good enough if you want the order.
- Make a commercial out of your message, keep it short!
- Forget to thank the caller for the opportunity to service them.
Just as first impressions in person are important, the professionalism of voice mail messages should be as well. Review your message, think about what your clients and prospects would want to hear, and see that your message matches their expectations.
Best of Success!
Dale Limes, MAS, is Senior Vice President of Sales for HALO Branded Solutions. He is an industry veteran of 27 years, a frequent trainer at industry events, and consults with distributors at every level to help increase sales and efficiency.