Monday, August 26, 2013

When your first pitch is a voicemail

Good luck.
You plan and rehearse presentations to groups and to individuals. You think about letters and emails you send. You may think through an important upcoming phone call, even do a bit of role playing.

But how much thought have you given to voicemail?

I confess I have given it a lot. That "leave a message" message even seems to come as a surprise. Yet the odds are your first call to someone will end up in voicemail. Especially someone you don't know well. Someone you're trying to pitch.

Jake Fisher, a principal at Bridges Advertising in Oklahoma City, offers a model message to leave.
(Smiling) Hi, this Jake Fisher with Bridges Advertising. Fay Shapiro mentioned that I should call you about your upcoming outreach campaign. My number is 708-7901. That’s area code 405-708-7901. Talk to you soon. 405-708-7901. Jake Fisher with Bridges Advertising (Hang up)
Fisher was once a disc jockey, and he borrowed some techniques for voice mail from his radio days:
Smile when you talk. Radio listeners can’t see the deejay. But the subtle difference in verbal delivery that comes when the speaker smiles is clearly communicated through the radio speakers. I like to imagine that I have just finished laughing at a funny joke, and I am smiling in the humorous afterglow. So it is with a voicemail message. Smile when you leave a message. Even if you have to fake it, your message will sound more pleasant.

Get right to the hook. When a radio personality turns on the microphone, as the music is fading, the hr or she has only a few fleeting moments in order to hook the listener before finger touches button, and the listener punches out to another radio station. Voicemail messages are similar. You have just a few moments to engage your prospect before finger touches button and your prospect punches out to the next message. The simplest hook in a prospect voicemail is to invoke the name of a mutual acquaintance that is referring you. Of course, this requires that you ask a mutual acquaintance for a referral.

Repeat the important information. Do you ever notice how radio personalities tend to repeat the name of the radio station? They do this so the listener remembers the station name. Until recently, radio ratings (which are tied to revenue) were measured by the unaided recall, by selected radio listeners, of which stations that they listened to. That is why we are used to hearing radio stations constantly identifying themselves. In the case of a voicemail message, the most important part is MY phone number and name. I want the prospect to call me back. They must remember my phone number and who I am. Even in the age of caller ID, I say my number and name three times in a phone message.
Who'd a thunk it? I learn something new everyday.

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