Prospecting? You’ll definitely get some voicemail greetings. When you do, you get one shot after the beep to make an impression that warrants a call back. Better make it good.
Some insist doing that — making it good — takes a stringent recipe: memorized script, on-point intonation, smile upon speaking. All that can be fine, as long as you listen to this one essential piece of advice: Sound human. If someone perceives you as an impersonal recording, why would they want to call you back? They won’t.
While interviewing our sales team here at LevelEleven for wisdom I could share in this piece, business development manager Kasey Miller pretty much summed it up: “Prospects have actually told me that they’ve only called back because I seemed human.”
These four tips will get you the same sort of positive response:
1. Send an email immediately after your voicemail.
This is a great way to stay in front of people. Keep the email short, so as not to come off as overwhelming, and let the message display at least a hint of personality.
Here’s one that works well for our business development team:
Hi [First Name],
I left you a voicemail earlier today. I want to introduce you to a sales leaderboard/engagement tool for Salesforce that increases revenue and speeds up your sales cycle by keeping your team focused on the right behaviors.
Our app uses gamification to motivate your team toward your key initiatives. I would love to very quickly speak with you about how it can immediately impact your team. I have some time available this afternoon at 4:30 pm EST and Thursday. Would any of these times for you?
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!
2. When leaving the voicemail, take an “I’m here to help” approach, as opposed to leaving a full-scripted sales pitch.
Saying something like, “We offer [name of offering with a few details], and I wanted to see if it would make sense for you and your team,” has an entirely different tone than, “Give me a call to learn about the best [type of product or service] in [your category]. You need us. And here’s why: Many of our clients are just like you. [Go on for another minute or so, sharing statistics, asking questions and all that good, or not so good, stuff.]”
This tip applies even to inbound, or content-driven, leads. Say you’re following up with someone who downloaded an eBook. You can try something like, “I noticed you just downloaded our eBook on [topic]. I just wanted to make sure you received it and to see if you have any questions on anything you read or would like to learn more.”
3. Speaking of how you’re speaking, keep it short and conversational.
I’m not encouraging you to use slang, or talk to prospects like you would someone you’ve known your entire life; you still need to maintain professionalism. The point is simply that you don’t want to sound like a robot. Especially for younger sales reps, it’s easy to let the idea of being respectful toward someone lead you to be excessively formal. Yes, you do want to be polite. But an over-the-top vocabulary with an “It was splendid to make your acquaintance” sign-off usually isn’t necessary and can put people off.
4. In your message, announce any really relevant connections to the prospect.
This might mean mentioning mutual connections on LinkedIn or the fact that you already have many clients in the same industry as that prospect. Just pay attention to the “really relevant” part. You never want to stretch too far for connections, or to seem like you did a little too much research (i.e., come off as creepy).
5. Do not just leave your name and number and then ask for a call back.
Michael Pedone, President/CEO of SalesBuzz.com
recently talked about this at the Sales Acceleration Summit
. “Do you really want to start your first interaction with your prospect off on the wrong foot, by tricking them to give you a call back…?” he asked.
Different things work for different people; you should obviously keep doing what works for you. Just make sure that when your prospect does listen to your voicemail, regardless of the techniques you use when leaving it, that you sound like a person — and specifically the type that they’ll plan on calling back.
The Secret to Successful Prospecting Voicemails? Sound Human.
There's one essential thing you need to do for successful prospecting voicemails: Sound human.