Saturday, August 20, 2016

"We Should Be Comfortable Leaving A Voice Message Because We Are Going To Need To Do It"

We’ve all received voice mail messages, and we likely have also received voice mail messages from companies that were intentionally delivered as such. They didn't really want to talk with us since most of them were automated calls anyway. They just wanted to leave their marketing message, knowing that a certain percentage of people would call back and then they could switch into sales mode.


With calls like these, no one was actually making the call, and had we been there to answer the call, it would have ended as if it have never been made.

The whole purpose of the call was to leave us a carefully scripted, prerecorded message. Before the call was ever made, it had been carefully prepared, written out, critiqued, and recorded to be broadcast to us and possibly dozens or maybe even hundreds or thousands of others.

The advertising message, solicitation request, or call to action it contained was intentional. This was not a call where someone was winging it. There were no “ums” or “uhs” or "ahs" or other unplanned pauses. The message was probably not rushed but neither was it drawn out.

Here’s the point, when we call to reach a customer or potential client – whether we have a scheduled phone appointment with them or not, and whether they are expecting our call or not – we need to be prepared.

Obviously we want to speak with our customers rather than just leaving them a message, but we may not be successful in reaching them. If we really didn't need or want to talk with them, we could have sent a text or email.

While leaving message after message doesn't really help our position, a voice mail message on the initial post-visit contact and on any call where we had discussed a specific time to talk with our customer is in order.

Therefore plan for this possibility. We don't want to get to the "beep" and freeze and then make an obvious hangup. We need to be ready and then deliver a brief message that is pleasant, professional, and one that invites another conversation.

We also don't want to leave sensitive information such as a quote or details of our estimate or the anticipated job because we want to deliver that firsthand and we never know who else might hear the message beside the person we are trying to reach.

Before we ever place the call, we must ask ourselves what we would say to the person we were calling if we got their machine instead of them. After all, we were calling for a reason, and we had hoped to talk with them directly. When this isn't possible, we need to be ready with the next closest option.

We should briefly rehearse our message so that it makes sense and doesn’t sound like we were caught off-guard and unprepared. Then deliver it with confidence and energy that conveys that we are mildly disappointed for not reaching them but that we are looking forward to actually speaking with them and are excited about their interest in what we are offering or prepared to discuss with them in terms of possible solutions.

Then we can close the message by saying that we will try calling them again. Asking them to call us probably is not going to be productive.

Just the one message is sufficient - even if we aren't successful in reaching them on subsequent calls. We don't want to seem desperate or like we are chasing them. If they do see our phone number on their phone display and call back, that's all we wanted anyway so it's good.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.