With as many as 50 percent of all sales going to the first salesperson to reach the customer, it’s not only vital that we reply to prospective customers quickly but when we do, we must have a message and strategy in place that compels them to respond. As salespeople, it’s easy for us to blame the customer when they fail to respond to our follow-up attempts or stop returning our calls. “They’re busy”, “They weren’t that interested, anyway”. We’ve all heard the fabricated excuses designed to blame the customer for our failure: as sales professionals, we failed to sound different – be different – think differently – than our competitors’ sales force.
Here are four simple steps to create voicemail and email messages that customers can’t help but respond to:
- Think like a customer. What would get you to pick up the phone? Here’s a hint: it’s not the standard and boring “Hi it’s Lana with ABC Company and I’m calling to follow-up with you on your product inquiry. My number is 555-1212.” Yawn. They just got that very same voicemail message from three of your competitors. Your message needs to sound different. It needs to sound energetic and contagiously enthusiastic. “Hi Ms. Johnson. This is Lana with ABC Company and I’d love to learn more about your storage needs and whether our unique and exciting solutions might be the answer you’re looking for. My direct line is 555-1212.” Practice by leaving messages for yourself. Do you sound energetic? Is your enthusiasm for your product contagious? If not, keep practicing until you convince yourself.
- Give your prospective customer a reason to speak with you personally. If you tell them everything they need to know (pricing, availability, benefits) in your message, congratulations! You’ve just eliminated their need to speak with you. Instead, dangle a proverbial carrot and pique their curiosity so they’ll want to learn more. Share something of value, something relevant, something interesting — but don’t tell them what they want most, which is likely to be pricing. “Good morning, Ms. Johnson. This is Lana with ABC Company and our storage solutions help homeowners more than triple their storage capacity. I’m excited to tell you how.”
- Your message must be brief. Challenge yourself to use no more than three sentences and never, ever, give away your pricing, availability, or other pertinent details in a voicemail or email. If you’re leaving a voicemail message, do so in an environment with few distractions to avoid any hesitations, stammering, or breaks.
- Don’t give anything away. Only rookies start offering discounts right away. You don’t know that the customer has a price objection and the customer may not yet know or understand your value proposition. Discounts mean lower profits and lower profits mean less money for everyone. Using a discount to entice a prospect into calling you promises to turn your next conversation into price haggling.
Start building your own library of messages to use with customers based on your pipeline stage and where you’re at in the sales process. Have a minimum of three compelling messages that can be used for each stage and continually build your collection to keep the ones that work best and toss the ones that didn’t seem effective.
Improving the caliber of your messages not only helps you increase the number of customers you’re able to touch but also decreases the chances your prospects will fall off the radar or into your competitors’ hands.