Last week I shared with you a recording of a cold call voice mail message that I have received 10 times over the past several months.
If you didn’t hear it yet, listen here, and see the background info I included. And check out the comments a few fellow readers left.
Now I’ll give my analysis.
First, here is the text of the message:
“Hello. Good morning. My name is ___ calling with (a temporary staffing firm). I was calling to see if I could take a moment of your time in order to schedule a meeting for you to speak with our Vice President. Our telephone number is____. I’ll try contacting you again at a more convenient time. Thank you and have a wonderful afternoon.”
Ok, where do I begin?
This call could be the poster child for many of the mistakes I suggest salespeople avoid on prospecting calls when I present my live Smart Calling training programs.
First, big picture, this is a COLD call, which I define as calling someone you don’t know and doesn’t know you, giving a generic canned pitch, and not knowing, or using any intelligence about the prospect.
Those calls are dumb, and destined for failure, as this series of messages is with me.
He does not address me by name, even though on my voice mail greeting I identify myself.
He makes no reference to my company or anything going on in my world. It is a talking direct mail piece that is addressed to “Occupant.”
One of the biggest errors he made, that many salespeople commit as well in their messages and openers is not having any possible value.
Where’s the “What’s in it for me?”
Worse, he says he wants to take something from me, anyone’s most valuable asset, time.
Asking for a Decision
To compound the lack of value, he goes further and suggests he wants to arrange a meeting with me and his VP. You’ve got to be kidding me. There’s not a reason to listen to the entire message, much less to call him back, and most certainly not to arrange a meeting for which I don’t know the reason.
Asking for a decision of any type in a prospecting voice mail or opening statement– other than to continue the call and exchange information– is a reason for them to put up resistance.
And, by the way, I’m a President and CEO. He wants me to talk to a VP?
I’m not a fan at all of calls where the ivory-tower executive has an underling making his appointments for him. What, is he too important to call me personally?
Don’t get me wrong, this is different than the very sound lead generation/development model where a prospector generates interest, qualifies, and then hands it off or sets an appointment for the inside or outside sales rep.
But those calls should still follow the Smart Calling process which I’ll go through in a minute.
Were there ANY positives in this message?
Hmmm. It was short. Which proves you don’t have to say a lot to screw up badly.
So, where could this caller improve?
First, it would need to start with management, perhaps the VP, who probably instituted this smile-and-dial, throw it up against the wall and see what sticks, make 1000 calls a day, numbers game, ridiculous approach.
With that said, here’s what I would suggest.
Identify the Possible Value Propositions
This is so fundamental, but most salespeople are deficient at it. WHY might someone possibly be interested in speaking with you?
What possible result might be an outcome for staying on the phone, or returning a phone call?
This caller’s company is in the temp business, which I am not an expert in, but I imagine that they,
-help companies handle seasonal work or short-term projects without having to hire full-time long-term employees.
-help companies avoid the time and expense of recruiting and interviewing candidates for positions without the risk of hiring someone full-time that might not work out,
-help companies avoid the taxes, paperwork, and payroll expenses of full-time employees
And, if they have been in business for any length of time, they likely have some metrics that they can attach to the results they have achieved for others.
We’ll get back to using some of this in a minute.
Do Smart Calling Research
Possible value becomes more relevant when it is tailored to the prospect and his/her world.
We gather intelligence through a variety of online and offline sources… LinkedIn, Google, news, social media, other sources that identify trigger events, and more.
And the best, most timely source is doing Social Engineering, which is asking questions of others at the company.
Hypothetically, let’s say he did the most basic research on me. I’m pretty easy to find online.
He’d know that I deliver sales training programs, and produce training resources for salespeople.
Let’s say he did some Social Engineering and learned that we are going to soon launch a new LinkedIn training program for salespeople and will use a lot of virtual help. THAT could be the trigger event that could enhance his Possible Value Proposition.
Then it’s a simple matter of plugging it into the Smart Call Opening/Voice Mail Process. A good message/opener would look like this:
“Hi Art, I’m ___ with ____. I understand that you are now gearing up for a major launch for your new LinkedIn for Sales Success training program—which I’m excited to hear about—and that you’re going to be using lots of virtual staff to help. With other companies doing similar product launches we’ve been able to help them minimize the time and expense hassles of finding the right people for their projects so they can focus on generating revenue more quickly. I’d like to ask a few questions to see if I could provide some information for you.”
To make this a voice mail message, I’d add at the end,
“I will call you again on (day). If you’d like to reach me before then, my number is _____”
A few points on this:
-It quickly establishes that the caller is not puking out the same canned presentation to everyone. Research has been done.
-Someone, somewhere reading this is saying, “That’s too long.”
No it isn’t.
Too long isn’t a function of number of words, it’s a function of listener interest or lack thereof. (Feel free to Tweet that, with credit of course.)
I would listen to everything there because it touched on what is going on in my world, and addresses possible problems I’m thinking about.
As we already established with the actual voice mail, short messages can suck badly. With that said, you do want to say as much as you can, of value, with the fewest number of words to do so.
That’s why preparing in advance, and editing is necessary.
-Notice it doesn’t focus on hiring temporary help, it talks results: minimizing time and expense hassles and generating revenue more quickly.
– The only decision it asks for is a simple one: to answer a few questions. Even if his goal is to set a up a meeting with his VP, I’d be more inclined to do so after answering a few well-planned questions designed to get me talking about anticipated pain and hassle of finding help.
I agree, partially, with the pundits who loudly scream, “Cold calling is dead.” It’s dumb. Just like this caller demonstrated.
Actually the cold part is dumb, but the calling part does still work.
SMART Call prospecting is very much alive, and is the fastest, cheapest way to enter into a sales conversation with someone you’d like to do business with, whom might not ever contact you first, or whom you are unable to be introduced to.
Successful salespeople prove that every day.
The high level executive of a company I could help greatly might not have ever heard of me, and I could grow old waiting for him to read something I’ve written. But, by Smart Calling I could be talking with him within minutes, and beginning a sales process.
I know many of you are doing the right things on your prospecting calls and are doing Smart Calling. However, if you find you are having some challenges getting to decision makers and engaging them in meaningful conversations, I want to help.
I will take you step-by-step through your Smart Call creation so you can get through and sell.
In my Smart Calling audio course we go in-depth into each of the areas I covered here, and much much more.
AND, I will personally review your opening statement/voice mail message, just like I did here, and give my suggested changes. Yes, I do these personally.