When I Sell, No Return Call is Expected
Posted: January 18, 2008
Those who have read my column for the past few years know that I do not leave my telephone number on an answering machine when I am calling a sales prospect. I firmly believe that is not the prospect's obligation to call me back when my mission is to sell them something. On the other hand, whether I call a personal friend, an existing customer or another small business owner, I always try to state my reason for the call in a concise manner when leaving a message on a voice mail machine.
I called a business associate the other day and wanted to leave a verbal note on his voice mail system. Once I began to recite the message, I realized that my communique' became a little long-winded. At that point, I wished I could have pressed the same buttom that is on my personal voice message service that would allow me to delete my rambling comments. Unfortunately, that was not possible. Consequently, when my friend called me back, we both had a good laugh about my voice mail that went on way longer than was necessary.
Whenever I leave a voice message, I always say my name twice and slowly repeat my personal cell phone number at least two times. I have found that I have a better chance of receiving a return call if I say who I am, what I want and how to get a hold of me - all at a deliberate pace.
I remember receiving a return call about 10 years ago from an out-of-town real estate executive who told me that I "talked too fast" and did not provide a valid reason for him to call me back within the prescribed deadline. That is when I learned how to properly leave a voice message that would compel someone to return my call in a timely fashion.
One of the most frustrating aspects of voice mail is when I try to convey my e-mail address by phone. I kick myself for not coming up with an e-mail address for The Bottom Line that does not include t's, n's and b's. (firstname.lastname@example.org). However, my personal e-mail address is much easier to remember and easier to say over the phone: djr (as in Daniel John Ropa) tbl (as in The Bottom Line) @yahoo.com. (email@example.com).
In the meantime, if I have called you in the last few months in an attempt to sell something, I will eventually get a hold of you - so do not feel obligated to call me back. That is the way it should be. I just hope I don't leave too many long-winded messages on your personal voice mail.