Last week I picked up the phone and called a woman I’m working on a project with. The phone rang several times and went to her voice mail.
“Hi, you’ve reached ‘Sally’. I hope you’re having a great day. I can’t get to the phone right now, so leave a message. If its important, I will be checking messages when I get back. Oh, and by the way, I do a variety of things. I’ve been helping people as a virtual assistant lately, so if you have any work you’d like me to help you with, I can do that. And I’m with a great MLM company that sells this juice you’re really going to love. And I’ve been working with a company that lets me do spa parties in your home, so I could set up a party with you and your friends soon…”
On and on it went for well over two minutes, describing all the different things she can do. I was calling her for a completely different reason – a personal project we are working on together – and I was overwhelmed with her message. Imagine if you did want to use one of her services – would you really have her full attention no matter what you decided to do?
Have you listened to your own phone message lately? What are you saying to callers? Do they leave a message because they are excited for the opportunity to possibly work with you? Or are they leaving a message grateful to not have to listen any more?
Even the smallest things like re-recording your voice message can have lasting impact on your business.
Tip 1: Is it about you or them?
Does your message say more about you, or give them the information they need? “I’m not here” is obvious so why state it? “I offer these services” is just confirming what they already know if they have reached the point of calling you. Instead, turn it around and tell them what’s in it for them – “Are you ready for a unique portrait experience?”
Tip 2: What do you truly have to say?
Think for a moment about the average person that calls you. What do they want? Are they potential clients? Current clients? Is there anything you can do to help them make the next step? For instance, one of our messages was “If you haven’t seen our online portfolio, please visit it at …”. We even described in a sentence or two what they would see when they got there “You’ll be able to see our complete portfolio with over 20,000 images”. That sets the stage for excitement.
Tip 3: Have you rehearsed?
One of the problems with “Sally’s” message was she didn’t plan first, and therefore didn’t know what to say. She had pauses and breaks, and was actually thinking about what to say while she was recording. Approach it a different way. Write down your message. Practice it. You may even record it and listen to it. Does it sound the way you want it to?
Tip 4: Change it frequently
Are you running a special this week? Is it a new season with new priorities? Then why are you using an old message? Update it regularly and get your current clients and prospects excited about what you are doing. High school seniors could care less about family portraits. And a commercial account doesn’t want to hear about weddings. Set your message to be specific for who may be calling.
Tip 5: Get specific
Is there anything that can help you be more specific with the caller when you call them back? As wedding photographers, we would always ask them to leave name, phone number and the date of the wedding. That way we knew before calling them back if we would speak about our services – or recommend one of our friends.
Your voice mail message isn’t just an after thought. Its not something that you do because you have to. Its an extension of your business. It’s another marketing tool. And if you use it right, it can help you convert prospects to clients faster because they will be excited to work with you.