When it comes to engaging with customers, voice mail can be your best friend. Yet, most people use it ineffectively. They copy what other people do when it comes to leaving messages. As a result, they get ignored and the potential customer never engages with them. Here is a simple process to improve your use of voice mail.
First, let’s look at how most people use voice mail for their business. They call a potential customer and if they don’t pick up, they leave a message. A typical message is, “This is John Doe from XYZ Company and we offer an ABC product. Call me back at your convenience at (123) 456-7890.” Most likely it’ll be deleted. Most people will be persistent enough to call again and still the phone rolls over to the same voice mail message. They are asked to leave another message, and they leave the same message—except this time, the listener deletes the message before it ends. If they keep leaving more messages, the sooner and sooner the listener will delete them. The listener hopes they will just go away – after all, no response is a response. If you leave a message enough times, the listener may call you back out of annoyance—and with no intention of discussing your product. They only want not to have their voice mailbox clogged.
Create a Series of Messages
A more systematic approach is a voice mail campaign. The first step is to brainstorm about what information you want to convey to your customer. What are your marketing messages? If you don’t have a product yet, but are doing research, why would your potential customers want to spend their time helping you create a new product. At this point, you haven’t talked to your customers so you are making assumptions.
Write down 24 short statements about how your new product can benefit them, solve a problem for them, or help them reach their goals. Then prioritize these messages.
Build Interest for Your Product One Message at a Time
The next time you call and get voice mail, leave one of these messages and every time you call again, leave another. Now you are building a story. Not all customers will need your product for the same reasons. Keep track of which message eventually gets the customer to return your call.
The Voice Mail Campaign
A typical voice mail campaign would have the caller leave 2 messages per week for the first two weeks, 1 message per week for the next four weeks, and finally 1 message per month for the next four months. If your customer is interested, 5 to 8 message are usually needed to get a call returned.
Business-to-business customers are much more receptive to cold calls at work than at home. After all, their employers are paying for them to listen to you. In almost every industry, there are days and times when you are most likely to reach someone. Get to know these times. A common time is often Monday mornings or Friday afternoons.
Like most new processes in business, developing an effective voice mail campaign is a business experiment.
About the Author
Cynthia Kocialski is the founder of three start-ups and helps entrepreneurs transform their ideas into new business through her books and video series. Cynthia writes regularly at Start-up Entrepreneurs’ Blog.