Voice Mail Can Be Your Buddy

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Voice Mail is a classy name for "answer Machine". Problem is, people at home had answer machines long before most businesses. When the answer machine industry finally figured how work to their machines into business systems with more than one extension, they called it "Voice Mail"

This article focuses on what you say TO the voice mail, not the welcome greeting you might put on your voice mail. You can leave two types of voice mail messages. A message to a person you already have a business relationship with, and a message to a person you hope to establish a business relationship with (a cold call).

Most people don't answer machines or voice mail. If you have an answer machine at home you have listened to that recorded silence while the non- speaking person breathes, then hangs up, having decided not to leave a message. Most answer machine message begin with a pause because the person on the other end was not prepared to leave a message and does not think on their feet like you and me. In business, the pause can kill you. Voice mail can be your buddy. Be prepared to meet it head on without a moment's hesitation. Just like you worked out your one sentence unique selling proposition and practiced the quick draw of your business cards for networking, you can be ready with several canned voice mail message and not miss a second when the thing beeps at you. Time is money. You took the time to make the call, so you should make every effort to make it pay for off for you. What you say is what makes the difference.

There is some research that says the average executive gets over 300 messages (mail, eMail fax and more) each day, not to mention the bombardment of advertising messages from billboards, TV, radio, cable and newspapers. That's a lot of clutter to penetrate. And if your message is ho hum, or starts with a pause... fahgettaboutit! Your message must attract attention right off or you go down with the delete button. Leaving messages for friends and family is a snap, a spontaneous act. Not so at work. You need to prepare your message.Be ready before you dial.

What do you say? You have to plan this in advance. Scripting is not a bad idea. I am not saying you should read from a script, but if you write and organize what you are going to say and read the script out loud enough times, it will sound like a natural when you recite it to the machine. Just like you rehearsed your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) so you don't have to remember, it just comes out naturally when someone asks "What do you do?"

I know of one eager saleslady who recorded her voice mail response on a little cassette machine hooked to her phone with a Radio Shack interface. When she gets the tone, she pushes the play button and sends it down the line. Another sales type, (let's call him "Bif") had a guy at the radio station do up a fancy 30 second commercial complete with production effects and music. There is a line you cross and Bif may have crossed it. Goals Your message should be targeted at building credibility, so when you call again and the party is in the office, you can get through.

How can you build credibility with a voice mail message? For starts, you don't leave a lot of ahhs, gulps, and uuhs. When you begin without hesitation, in a clear, concise, upbeat manner you are telegraphing a positive image of knowledge and confidence, even when you get the "unexpected" voice mail prompt.

As you deliver your rehearsed script over and over, take care not to speed though with little or no emotion in your voice. Remember how you feel when the place you call is answered by a bored, unhappy receptionist who speeds through the spiel with the "I don't care if you can't comprehend what I am saying" attitude. Your Voice mail pitch must be warm, and slow enough to sound as if it is coming from your heart, not your recorder on high speed.

Here are BIG Mike's Tips for leaving effective Voice Mail


Everyone leaves the same tired message.You get tuned out the minutes it starts, Example of same ol same ol: "Hi this is Bif, we haven't met but I thought I'd call to see if you would be interested in hearing about my new..." UGH! Make your messages so compelling folks have to call you back. And don't drone on and on, make 'em short enough to entice, but long enough to incite.


This phrase pops up in every aspect of marketing, from advertising all the way down to answer machine and voice mail messages, Its Not About You.

Take a poll. No one cares about you. No one cares that your mug shot is 15 feet high on a billboard across town. No one cares if you are doing your own radio commercials and sound worse than the high school announcer. No one cares if your dealership has sold more cars than all the dealers in Central Montana. And NO ONE CARES when you leave a message about you, or your company. Its not about you. WIIFM.

WIIFM is not a radio station, is the acronym to remind you they don't care about you, instead they ask "What's In It For Me?" WIIFM??


The key ingredient for successful sales and marketing works for effective voice mail as well. What can you say that will lead the listener to know and believe that you have something of value for them? Prospects return calls if you convince them you may have something they want...and, soon.


Voice mails have been asking callers to "Leave a message" for years, yet fully three quarters of those who do respond to the beep only leave name and phone number.

Your voice mail message gives you a perfect opportunity to call for action on the part of your listener (Remember you are competing with 300+ messages and the horrid reputation of telephone sales pitches (telemarketers).

Go for the close with a call for action. Ask them to do something. To Call You, To be on the lookout for a package from FedEx. To check records to see if you are not right on target. Ask and you'll get.

Voice mail response can be an effective sales tool. Voice mail is one of many tools the professional uses to get the job done, right

?2005 BIG Mike McDaniel All Rights Reserved BIG Mike is a Professional Speaker and Small Business Consultant with over 30 years experience,

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