Saturday, May 10, 2008

Are you ready for voice mail?

We’ve all received voice mail messages, and you probably have received voice mail messages from companies that were intentionally delivered as such.

I mean that no one was actually making the call, and had you been there to answer, the call would have ended – I know because I have experienced this.

The whole purpose of the call was to leave you a message. Before the call was ever made, it had been carefully prepared, scripted, and recorded to be broadcast to you and possibly dozen or maybe even hundreds or thousands of others.

Its advertising message, solicitation request, or call to action was intentional. This was not a call where someone was winging it. There were no “ums” or “uhs” or "ahs" unplanned pauses. The message was probably not rushed but neither was it drawn out.

Here’s my point, when you call to reach a customer – whether you have a scheduled phone appointment with them or not, and whether they are expecting you to call or not – be prepared.

Obviously you want to speak with your customers rather than just leave a message, but you may not be successful in reaching them.

I’m not a fan of leaving message after message, but a voice mail message on the initial post-visit contact and on any call where you and your customer had discussed a specific time to talk or the likelihood of you calling is in order.

Therefore plan for this possibility.

Before you ever place the call, ask yourself what you would say if you got their machine instead of them.

Briefly rehearse your message so that it makes sense and doesn’t sound like you were caught off-guard and unprepared. Then deliver it with confidence and energy that conveys that you are mildly disappointed for not reaching them but that you are looking forward to actually speaking with them and are excited about their interest in what you are offering.

Then you can suggest that you will try calling them again. Asking them to call you probably is not going to be productive.
You can choose to forego leaving a message altogether and just hang up as soon as you hear the voice mail greeting. However, if you do decide to leave a message, don't stammer through it and regret what you said or the way it sounded. Have a plan.

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