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Fix your voice message now


How do you greet your customers?

Does this greeting sound familiar?

“I’m either on my phone or away from my desk.”

No kidding. Pathetic.

“No, no, Jeffrey,” you say. “I tell people what day it is.”

“It’s Monday and I’ll be in meetings in the morning and I’ll be in and out of the office in the afternoon.” Still pathetic.

I don’t care what you’re doing. I called to talk to you.

Voice mail is America’s sales enigma. Everybody has it and 9,999 out of 10,000 have boring and ineffective messages.

Why do I need to know that you are away from your desk? Why do I need to know that you’re in a meeting? Why do I need to know what day of the week it is?

Answer: I don’t need to know. More accurately, I don’t want to know. What I want is to get you on the phone, that’s why I called.

Many companies have two voice mail systems. The first is where a computer answers the phone and informs me for “my convenience” or “to serve me better” that I can select from the following nine options. By the time I reach your silly voice mail, I’m annoyed times two.

Then there’s that added element of rudeness when I call and ask for you and the live attendant sends me directly to your voicemail without having the courtesy to tell me you’re not there.

Pardon my rant, but what I’ve just given you is a solid reason for your customer to go to your competition, whose people might be friendly and helpful.

Now let’s get back to you and your voice mail message. Here are 7.5 ways to give your voice mail so much pizzazz that someone might tell someone else to call you just to hear your message.

You see, people who buy your stuff talk to other people who buy your stuff. If someone calls to hear your message, that would also be known as a “lead.”

Leads are expensive and hard to come by. Your voice mail is a key to getting new customers and creating word-of-mouth advertising.

1. A short message about the value of your product. Just give a hint or tip. For example, tell me one thing I can do to profit from the use of your product. Number them and change the message weekly.

2. A thoughtful quotation. The Internet will give you millions. This must be changed daily.

3. Celebrity impersonation. Find someone who does voices – or do a bad one yourself.

4. Your kid. “Hi. I’m Dave’s costly accident, Jason. He’s out earning my college tuition. You can help by leaving a message that includes an order.”

5. Something generally funny. Say this in a somewhat weary voice: “I’m just one man and it’s a big world.”

6. Something funny about your product or your business: “Hi. You’ve reached Tom. I am out saving the world one box at a time. Please leave a message and I’ll try to find a cardboard carton to save your world.”

7. A testimonial from a customer. Can you imagine one of your best customers saying something like “Hi. I’m Dave Smith from ABC Plumbing. Joe is over here right now taking care of our account like he has for the past 10 years. Please let him take care of yours.”

7.5. Something off the wall. The reason I’m saving this for last is that many people are uncomfortable about going off the wall. Off-the-wall messages will be talked about the most. “Hi. I am probably here; I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.”

My message is always off the wall. My present cellular phone message is: “Hi. This is Jeffrey. I wish I could talk to you but I can’t. Please leave your American Express card number with expiration date and I’ll get right back to you.”

This may seem somewhat crazy to you, but three people a day leave their American Express numbers. It’s fun, it’s memorable, and it’s not offensive.

If you claim to be different from your competition, a great place to start is your recorded message.

Free GitBit: Send me your creative voice mail message. We’ll publish them in our Sales Caffeine e-zine. The best ones will win a free softbound copy of my new edition of “The Sales Bible.” E-mail them to traci@gitomer.com.

President of Charlotte, N.C.-based Buy Gitomer, Jeffrey Gitomer gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or by e-mail at salesman@gitomer.com.

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