Somerset Accountant Reports On: Remember the Purpose of the Task
October 20, 2011
“I’ve always believed no matter how many shots I miss, I’m going to make the next one.”
– Jonathan Swift
With just about two months left in 2011, I want to start by reminding you that if you haven’t yet made plans to finalize your capital purchasing for this year, some big Section 179 deductions will be phased out in 2012, and it’s a good idea to make plans to purchase necessary equipment now, rather than two months from now.Drop me an email, if you need more guidance on this subject. +++++ Now, I started writing my article below, intending it to be focused on improving your sales team’s performance when getting through gatekeepers and leaving messages … but after polishing it off, I’ve come back to my intro here and wanted you to understand that though the subject is as I’ve put it, the content really holds true for any kind of marketing or communication you might be doing. I can boil it down thusly: Keep the point of your communication simple — and do what it takes to prompt the necessary response. Seems simple, right? But I can’t tell you how many voice mails, emails and other messages my assistant has to wade through for me which could be reduced in length by about a quarter.
Messages on my personal cell phone can be even worse! But in your marketing — especially if you’re wanting to make a sale, eventually — have that old saw in mind: keep the main thing, the main thing…
Mark Clark’s “Real World” Business Strategy Getting Through Gatekeepers and Winning With Voicemail
While the technology has changed from tapes to megabytes, the basic concept of a voice message remains the same. And, as people have increasingly found ways to streamline their work, they’ve also figured out smart ways to protect their time — gatekeepers aren’t just secretaries any more … they can be technological. But sadly, many sales people and communicators still act like it’s the 1980’s with voice messages, and further — little effort is made to cut through technological (and human) gatekeepers with any kind of clarity.
So here’s where you can start…Learn when to shut up. When leaving a message, you have a limited window to make your point. That means you can’t provide a lot of background information or cover multiple topics. So before you call, make sure you have a singular focus to mention if you get the person’s voicemail — as well as if it’s an assistant or other gatekeeper.
Then, highlight that important point, and leave the rest of your points for the actual follow-up discussion.Use mystery to your advantage. Resist the temptation to go into your sales pitch about solving all the problems for your listener. For one thing, the listener probably doesn’t have time (or want) to listen to your pitch. For another, if you give your pitch, what reason do they have to call you back? Instead, only allude to the idea that a solution does exist…but don’t go into detail. Leave some mystery. After all — the purpose of leaving a message is to get them to call or contact you back! So everything about what you’re doing should incentivize this ONE action.
And this might seem obvious, but still state a number the person can reach you at even though many phones have caller ID. You can even give them a time frame (such as saying they can call you back by a certain day or time) to help create a sense of urgency about solving the mystery you’ve established in your message.
Put some life and personality into it. Nobody wants to listen to a person who’s boring or sounds bored. The same is true with voice messages. After all, if you don’t have energy when talking about something, why should the listener have the energy to call you back? So before you call, take a second to raise your energy level.
Some experts recommend standing up when making a call or smiling while talking on the phone, as a way to subtly convey a pleasant, energetic tone. It never hurts to practice, and you shouldn’t hesitate to actually TEST out different approaches (and track the results). Now, can you see how these strategies can work with any kind of marketing or internal communication? They say that salesmanship is one of the most important skills for non-salespersons to have … and it’s true.
So be sure to call me later. And keep your message short. 😉