Are Your Competition Getting the Leads You Want?

Making A Sales Call

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!

What’s your experience of great voicemails you’ve heard?

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3 Sales Tips

Here are 3 quick tips which can help you create more opportunities. These have all come from conversations I’ve had with clients and salespeople this week and are typical business challenges we all face:

Is The Problem Really The Problem?

How often do you think you’ve found the opportunity to help only to discover later it wasn’t really a big enough issue?  The trouble is we put in all this hard work Prospecting and navigating our way to the people we need to speak to that we are almost grateful that they continue the conversation!

If you have situations like that it’s time to pull back and be more objective. One way to do this is to ask a gauging question like “How important is that to you?” or “How much of an issue is that to you?” or “What would happen if you continued that way?”

What Are The Consequences Of Not Making The Call?

I get told by participants that they are worried about making calls to existing clients to ask if there are any further areas they can help with or issues to resolve. At least if you find out this stuff early on you have the opportunity to do something about it which the client will see as helpful and proactive. Here’s the consequence if you don’t: Today one of my connections told me he is about to switch provider because his existing supplier wasn’t responsive and communicative enough on multiple occasions when he contacted them.

Meanwhile he’s heard about the reputation of another provider and had personal feedback from some of their clients which gives him enough social proof to decide to take action and switch! The new provider has had to do nothing to gain this client other than being diligent and thorough and growing his reputation as a result!

Make Alternative Recommendations Especially If You Can’t Help!

I met someone this week who told me that they went into a business to help them with the requirement that they specialise in. It turned out that the issue wasn’t what they handle so they walked away. They didn’t want to create a solution for something that wasn’t a real problem and take money for the privilege, which is great…  BUT they identified another issue and then left it!

What they could have done is to make a recommendation or suggest suppliers that could help rather than just leaving them high and dry. That Prospect would appreciate the goodwill and maybe recommend them to their own connections.

There is always an opportunity for us in the world of sales sometimes it’s very well hidden- what do you think? For more sales advice call me on 07580894232 or email




Make More Sales in December

I did a workshop for some Field Sales people this time last year and the Sales Director decided to have a competition to see who could make the most appointments, it ran up to the end of December.

The team consisted of 10 people including 2 new starters and 8 of varying time in the role. It was a simple objective: appointments counted if they were for anytime in the rest of December and up to the end of January.

As a result everyone had a better than usual start to the New Year but some had an amazing start. Guess who, yes –you’re right, the two new starters! Their fresh views meant they were not impacted by barriers others perceived. They even beat the top performers.

As a Sales Trainer I’m very fortunate to work with all sorts of salespeople. There are those who might be underperforming and need more support to turn things around. Those that do a good performance and just need to ask a few better questions or be reminded of things that work. Then there’s the exceptional performers- they do two things:

Invest in self development, always thinking of and researching ways to improve then taking action and never let up, even in December.

They do stuff others don’t do and everyone can learn from the way they see opportunities particularly in December:

It’s the easiest time of year to get through- there’s less meetings going on so availability is better.

People are in a more relaxed frame of mind, more receptive.

There may be some budget left over which can be made available.

They are thinking of how they can invest in the coming year.

They are not getting as many calls as salespeople take their foot off the gas.

The competition is doing less activity

December makes all the difference!