Leave a voicemail? Don’t leave a voicemail? In prospecting, this is a question that sellers are passionate about. Many suggest not, but isn’t that a missed opportunity?
I always leave a message because how else will your prospects know that you want to speak with them? In today’s world where it’s acceptable to screen calls, you may never reach your contact if you don’t. Add to it that a message allows a prospect to hear your interest in talking with them and your professionalism in a way that email can’t convey.
So why not do it? Take advantage of the 40 seconds or so to grab attention, leave a positive impression, and start relationship building.
Here are a few tips to increase your success rates when leaving prospecting voicemail messages.
Have an idea to go with the triggering event. The core of your message should be about a triggering event or business issue your prospect is most likely grappling with. Don’t talk about your offerings or the latest special deal. Don’t even refer to them. Focus on your contact’s issue and mention that you have some thoughts or an idea about how to address the issue based on work you’ve done with similar companies. It’s the opportunity to get a new idea that’ll make prospects want to speak with you. Before you leave the voicemail, make sure you really do have an idea that would be of value to your contact. That way if they answer, you have something valuable to share; and if they call back, you know exactly what idea you wanted to talk about.
Request a specific time. Don’t stop with a request to call you. You’ll end up playing phone tag. After as few as two returned calls to you, prospects will give up. Leaving your email address isn’t a guarantee either; they probably won’t take the time to type it in to reply. Instead, make it easy to connect by requesting a specific date and time to talk.
It sounds something like this:
I wanted to schedule 15 minutes to discuss my idea with you. By chance are you open Thursday at 2:30? Let me know. My phone number is 111-222-1234 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to our discussion!
Do it again via email. Clearly you aren’t expecting a response. Picking up the phone during a busy day is hard. If you have your prospect’s email address, promise to send an email “in case that’s an easier way for you to respond.” Then send an email that says the same thing as your voicemail, including the time you suggested to talk. Don’t attach anything or include any additional links beyond what you have in your signature. Keep it concise and to-the-point. You can share more when you connect.
If you don’t get a response, call Thursday at 2:30, further demonstrating your professionalism and interest in talking with the prospect. Leave a voicemail that you’d promised to call and reiterating that you had an idea you wanted to talk about. Suggest a new time to talk and do it all again.
Switch it up. In today’s environment it can take 9 attempts or more to get a return call so don’t get discouraged. After the third call approach the gatekeeper to schedule a time on the prospect’s calendar. Use your value proposition and let his assistant know you just wanted to share your idea. If you can find the contact on Twitter or LinkedIn, send him a direct message using your value proposition. Use every avenue available to you to reach out to your prospect and let them know you’d like to talk. If it’s a real hot prospect and he’s located in your same city, consider dropping by his office. It’s an old-fashioned prospecting approach, but it still works, especially in tight-knit communities, streets or buildings.
The secret to success with this approach is to have real ideas to share about how to help your prospect address the business issue you mentioned. When you do that, your prospect is glad he took your call. He appreciates the value you provided and will schedule another call. If all you do is spew on about your offerings, you didn’t meet your commitment from your voicemail and you’ll never get a second chance.