Are You Missing Opportunities Due To Voicemail?

We must get as many parts of our communication process working for us as possible.

How often when you dial in to retrieve your messages do you find blank ones where the caller just hung up?

Do you have a personalised voice mail message delivered in a friendly tone? While making business phone calls this week I found that only two thirds of the people I called had personalised voice mails. These are business people! And a large chunk of them are sales people.

So why do you think this is? Is it one of those things that they keep meaning to do? Or maybe they’ve tried recording it a few times and hated the result so just left it to the default mobile provider automated version? Or is it that they don’t think it’s that important?

Let’s look at the consequences. The objective of having a voice mail facility from a business point of view is to allow you to know that someone called so you can start or continue a conversation. If you are in sales it’s even more vital: it could be the start or continuation of an enquiry or request for help.

Let’s imagine you are in a meeting or the signal has dropped out. A Prospect who is considering you as well as a few other options gets your voicemail:

It’s the default option: “You are through to the (insert mobile telecoms company) voice mail service for number 1234 567899, please leave a message after the tone…”

The Prospect thinks; “have I dialled the right person, maybe I misdialled?” They hang up without leaving details. They’re busy and make a mental note to check later.  In the meantime they speak to one of the other providers of your services and leave a message with another (they had a personalised voice mail message so the Prospect at least knew they had the right person.) They start to engage with the other providers and their thoughts are at risk of moving away from your option.  The result: missed opportunity! The others engaged…

What kind of greeting should you record? It’s worth including these ingredients:

Smile! It can be heard a mile off.

Friendly tone, remember the point is to encourage a message!

Appropriate greeting – one that is natural to you and tell them they are through to your voicemail*

Ask them to leave a message and suggest when you will be able to respond (or details of alternative point of contact for urgent help if relevant.)

Thank them for calling- every little courtesy counts for a lot!

*My friend and excellent Coach, Sharon, has such a personalised approach to her voicemail with the way she answers it you actually think it’s her in the flesh at first. What an effective communicator!

Definitely use the facility to listen back to your message before setting it. It might take a few attempts before you’re happy with it. Even professional voice over artists can take multiple goes before they get a performance right.

Have a listen to your voicemail message, does it sound like you are encouraging interaction? The proof statement is how often when you dial into your voicemail do you hear a blank message as the caller hangs up without saying anything!

Have you heard any voice mail messages which made you WANT to leave a message? What about those that made you cringe?

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