Voice-mail and email are very effective communication tools. As such, your target list of prospects and customers is being inundated with voice-mails and email messages from your direct competitors, in addition to any number of other vendors who compete with you indirectly—for budget dollars.
The are only two reasons people respond to voice and email messages—obligation and curiosity. If your boss calls and leaves a message, you will likely return the call. If your largest customer calls, you will surely return their call as well, because that’s what you do when you have important customers, or a boss.
But, what about decision makers who don’t feel “obligated” to return cold calls from vendors? Besides obligation, the only other thing that causes people to return voice-mail messages or email is curiosity.
The challenge is, most voice-mails and email messages that get lobbed into potential decision makers do more to satisfy their curiosity than create it. Oops! As a result, the average return call rate on voice-mail has dropped below 5%, and the odds of getting replies to email can be just as bleak.
Sample messages of Curiosity Inducing Voice-mails:
i.) “Hi, George, this is Pat Wilkins calling from Dynamic Systems—I’m on the team that works with industrial accounts in Central Florida. I was on a conference call with one of our products managers last Wednesday afternoon just after lunch, and two issues came up that I thought might impact your current manufacturing platform, one of which is time sensitive. I wanted to be proactive and try to catch you in the office this afternoon. If you get a chance today, could you please call me back at (770) 123-4567? I should be here until around 5:30pm.”
ii) “Hi, Dale, this is Lane Patterson with HLM Corporation. I’m on the team that supports healthcare accounts for the Midwest region. I was hoping to catch you for a minute because we’ve had 13 new announcements in the last three and a half months, two of which I believe might impact your diagnostic assessments under the new legislation. If you get a chance today, could you please call me at (770) 123-4567?”
(iii) “Hi, Steve, this is Joe Tomlin calling from Templeton Partners. I manage a team that works with financial brokers in the tri-cities area. A note came across my desk yesterday morning that caught my eye regarding (insert something relevant) and I wanted to try and catch up with you today if possible. When you get a chance, could you please call me at (770) 123-4567?”
Key Point: If I sent 5 different voice-mails or email messages, they would have five different sets of words depending on what information I had about the account, my purpose for calling, and the objective of the call. But in every case, my intention would be to leave (or send) a purposeful message, that was specific and relevant. Do that in your business, and you can easily realize a 50%+ response rate, which represents a whopping 1000% increase over industry averages.