Leaving Voicemail

How to leave a good sales voicemail

Times certainly have changed.  Voicemail’s, fax machines, and Yellow Pages.  These used to be staples of getting business done.  Now we have email, email, and the internet.  Voicemail is still a vital part of a days prospecting.  It does not matter whether you are calling a warm lead or not.  If you’ve already gone through the process of letting the phone ring and rolling into a voicemail, you may as well try and get something out of it.

If you are calling a warm lead than you’d want to leave it so you are absolutely sure that your prospect will know that you’ve called.  If the lead is relatively cold, than you are going to really want to leave a voicemail.  Think about it.  Say you dial a one hundred people in a day, and you leave fifty voicemail’s, and only one of them is returned.  That’s 2% of your voicemail’s being returned.  Why bother than?  Because these should be warm leads.

Say What You Mean to Say

The best way to ensure that buyers will call back is to be very upfront about why you are calling.  That’s why i’m a big believer in not obfuscating my intentions when I leave a voicemail.  I prefer having buyers call me back who know exactly why I am calling, and you should to.

Here is a basic template that you can change around to get a returned call:

Hello there Mr. Customer, my name is Jason with XYZ Widget Co.  I was trying to get in touch with you regarding your recent interest in our product,   Whenever you get a moment, I can be reached directly at 314-555-0891.  I’m also emailing you as well.  Thank you and have a great day.

That’s really all there is to it.  You don’t want to be specific about anything.

Leaving a Sales Voicemail Best Practices

  • Don’t leave a price on anyone’s voicemail.   All this effectively does is shoot yourself in the foot.  You may have a customer that would have spent way more, but once they get it in their   head that they can pay a certain rate, that rate becomes their price ceiling.
  • Don’t vomit a bunch of useless product knowledge.  You are a sales professional.  Just like leaving prices on someones voicemail, you don’t want to corner yourself into a product that may not fit the customers needs.
  • Do use some sort of script.  The second that someone hears you stutter or think about what you want to say on a voicemail is the second that that person hangs up.  The format should be:
    1. Introduce yourself
    2. Why you are calling
    3. Interest generating remark
    4. How to contact you
    5. Thank them for their time
  • Keep it under a minute.  You are going to lose anyone’s interest if you go over a minute.  Short and to the point is what you are looking for.

If you follow these practices, you’ll be well on your way to becoming excited when your phone rings, because buyers are on the other line.

How to Succeed at Cold Calling

 

For the purposes of this page, let us define cold calling as when you call on a business and they absolutely were not expecting your phone call.  Many businesses may tell you that the leads that you get are hot.  Maybe they have salesforce and tell you that you are calling a market generated lead based on this persons interest in your product or service.

It’s a numbers game

Sales truly is a numbers game.  You need to know exactly how many dials it is going to take to make a qualified lead.

If they aren’t specifically expecting you to call you need to know

You are going to get blown off (a lot)

You are going to spend many hours of your day speaking with people who are specifically trying NOT to let people like you speak with their boss.  Here are some helpful hints to get you past the gatekeeper:

Do not obfuscate or otherwise hide why you are calling them.  Gatekeepers hate that, and will see right through it.  Many companies and sales managers are going to ask you to ask for the decision maker like you two are old buddies.  They’d have you say something like this:

“Is Tom in.”  While that may work on some gatekeepers, it’ll often get you hung up on.

Instead what you want to do is give them a firm instruction.  Nearly all gatekeepers are used to taking instruction.  They are not leaders.  They will respond to a command.  I’m not saying be rude, because that’ll get you hung up on quick as well.   Here is a good intro: “Hi Jan, It’s Jay calling with BRP Company.  Tom had filled out a form on my website.  I’m trying to get in touch with him regarding that.  Could you put me through please?”  You let the decision maker know who you are, a little bit about why you are calling, and a clear order to put you through.

The phrase “could you put me through please” has a ton of benefit.  You’ll be amazed at how many people will put you just go ahead and put you through.  Instead of saying that though, you could say:  “Would you tell Tom that Jay from BRP Co is holding please?”

There are a lot of sales people that would describe themselves as “sharks” or “cold blooded killers”.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it is a good idea to lock that portion of your personality up when trying to get a decision maker on the phone.

Getting Started in Sales

If you’ve never worked in sales before you may have an image of an overly aggressive car salesman in your mind, or maybe you’ve had a terrible experience when you buy a phone and you have Sales is one of the most lucratvie professions that a person can go into.  Getting started in sales is not that difficult, and it can be one of the most rewarding careers out there.  Many sales positions pay six figures a year.  Top sales professionals often make more than some doctors and lawyers.

We’ve all had a coworker that we have felt doesn’t pull their weight.   Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why does that person make the same amount of money as me when I work twice as hard as they do?” In sales it doesn’t matter what background you come from, what kind of education you’ve had, or who you know, At the end of the day it all comes down to performance.  For myself, I loved the feeling of seeing a coworker not putting in the effort.  It meant that there would be more leads and more opportunity to close sales!

How are you at handling rejection?  A salesman is constantly getting rejected.  If it were easy everyone would do it.  People by nature do not enjoy getting rejected.  The question is can you take the rejection and keep going.  I have worked in advertising sales where I called a hundred businesses a day.  If I were lucky I would actually speak with about 5 of the decision makers, and of those maybe one or two would buy.  That is considered a relatively high close percentage in that office.

So, what does that mean?  That means that fourty-nine out of the fifty times I tried to get a sale, the result was not the one that I was seeing.  Every time you get off of the phone after being rejected you need to put it behind you and move along.  Dwelling on what doesn’t work is never going to help you get ahead.

Can you handle being paid primarily on commission?

It’s a tough question to answer.  It’s an important thing to consider when getting started in sales.  You need to be financially disciplined enough to not live paycheck to paycheck.  If the thought of a job where you are paid based on exactly what you put in gets you excited sales may be a fit for you.  There are several ways that a sales rep can get paid.  Here are the most common ones.

 

  • Most of the time a sales reprasentative will either be paid on 100% commission, which is pretty self explanatory. It means that there is no base pay.  When you just start working at a job with 100% commission you will usually be paid on something called a “draw”.  When you receive pay from drawn commission, it means that you taking money out of commission that you haven’t even made yet.  This amount is usually minimum wage, but not always.  It can be a real bummer when you go through training for a few weeks and get a sale and realize that all you have done is paid the “bank” back the money that you’d already drawn.  I don’t want to completely discourage you from pursuing a job like this.  Some of the best sales jobs DO pay on this system.  This is also sometimes referred to as Base Vs. Commission.

Example:  Mortgage Banker

  • The most common type of commission system I have seen is base plus commission. This system pays a salesperson a set wage and then pays commission and/or bonus on top of that.   What is nice about this method is that things like vacation pay are a lot more common on this pay scale.   There is a fine line for sales managers who pay on this system.  If you pay to much base pay to the reps, it can actually demotivate the sales reps.  I once saw a girl straight out of college think she was rich because we were paying her $17.00 an hour base pay.  She put in minimal effort and was walked right out a month later because she had thought her fortune was already made.

 

Qualifications to be a Salesperson

Most good sales jobs will either want you to have x amount of proven experience in the field of sales, or a bachelor’s degree.  There are a couple of ways to go about getting this experience for an interview.

Reach down deep and try and find some way to make some sort of job experience that you have had translate properly to the person who is interviewing you for the job.  This is not unethical.  You are a salesman (or woman) the second that you enter that interview.  It is YOUR JOB to sell your interviewer on how your past job experience translates to what they are selling.

The main qualification to being a salesperson is the type of personality that is going to be a natural fit for the sales world.  You’ll either have it or you don’t.  My first interview for a sales job I failed.  I called back a few weeks later and asked them if I could interview again.  To my surprise they said yes.  After I got the job on the second interview I asked the sales manager who hired me what was different about the second interview.  He said it was the simple fact that I asked for it.  That’s a quality that they valued.  And that is probably the number one rule of sales.  No does not mean no.  It just means you haven’t sold them.  Be pleasantly persistent.

Where to look for sales jobs

A good place to start looking for a sales position is within your network of friends and family.  When considering new applicants for sales jobs, managers often like to have someone already in the office that will vouch for their new hire.  It makes sense.  You don’t want to see your buddy or family member fail, so if they are struggling you are going to help them out.  It is a built in mentor system and it’s super helpful.

If you don’t have any friends or family in sales try looking at Glassdoor.com.  You can check that against job openings on Monster, Hotjobs, or Ladders.  Glassdoor is great because it is a community of job seekers who review the postitions that they have earned and even share their salaries.  This is important because a company or hiring manager will make the pay sound to good to be true.

For example:  A company tells you that you’ll be paid 45k a year plus a certain amount of commission, and they also pay a big quarterly bonus.  It sounds fantastic.  You can read reviews of the job and find that the bonus is just not attainable.  If you have an outgoing demeanor and thick skin you should definitely consider getting started in sales.

Overcoming the Let me Think About It Objection

Often times, you’ll speak with a customer and you’ll have built a great relationship with them.  You pitch them a product that makes sense for their line of work.  You feel good about asking for the sale, and they “let me think about it”.   The let me think about it objection is really not an objection.  It is a brush off, and it means that you have more work to do.  Newer reps are often fine with hearing this.  They are happy that they haven’t been told no, and it gives them something to keep in their “pipeline”.

You, as a top closer (or on your way to becoming one) understand that this objection is to be addressed head on.  A potential buyer who has a few days to think about something will invariably cool of.  Unless you feel in your gut that they will buy if given time, you’re going to need to push here.  You’ll need to ask them what exactly they need to think about, and you need to do it in a way that doesn’t push the customer away.

You need to get an answer to this question so that we can find out what the real objection is and get to work on that.  You can try something along the lines of:

You:  Well, I’m happy that you are thinking of coming aboard.  In case there was something that I missed, what part of the program is troubling you?

At this point listen to what they have to say, because they are about to give you their real reason for not buying.  Just think about it like this, there is always something to think about.  It is your job to extract that from your customer and overcome it.   To recap:  The let me think about it objection is always a smokescreen.

 

 

 

overcoming the let me talk to my partner objection

Let me talk to my partner/ spouse is one of the most common objections that you are going to get when you sell for a living.  The good news is it is one of the easier ones to overcome.  You’ll really just need to determine whether or not the customer really does need to speak with a partner, or if they are trying to brush you off.  This objection is a 100% result of a poor qualification effort.  You should be asking your customer on every single call whether or not anyone else is involved in the decision making process.  In fact, if you were to commit to doing that you probably don’t even need to read the other stuff below.

You’ll want to be relatively careful with this objection.  If you push a customer too hard on it you’ll end up pushing them away.  Instead, you’ll want to try and do a trial close to see whether you have them on your side or not.  Once you have an ally in a co-owner, it’s significantly easier to get a sale.   Here is how you would go about doing it.

You:  As we discussed before this program will only be $2400 a month, and all we need to get you started is  a simple down payment.

Customer:   (hemming and hawing)  That sounds good, but I need to speak with my wife first.

You:  OK, Tom.  I understand that completely.  So, if she is good with it you’ll be ready to move forward with the order than?

Customer:   Absolutely.  I have to talk with her before I get my checkbook out.

You:  I get that.  My wife and I always discuss it before we make big investments.  If she says yes, than is this something that you’ll move forward with?

You want to ask them if they’d move forward with the program.  If they don’t give you an immediate yes, that means that they haven’t truly been sold on the idea of doing business with you.  You have more work to do.  A good follow up when you don’t get the answer that you want to hear is:

You:  What is it about the program that you feel is unsatisfactory?

-or-

You:  What would it take to get you to move forward with this today?

I personally much prefer the second option.  If you’ve already went ahead and asked for the sale, than you can  go ahead and be direct with the customer.  You are asking them for their real objection, since you have now weeded out the partner objection for what it truly is –  a stall.

Pitching the Partner

Have you ever given your best possible sales presentation to the partner, and been told that they will run it by their partner?  What happened when they got back with you?  I bet the answer was a no.  You never ever want to send your prospect off to do the selling for you.  You want to deputize them in order to help you.  Once your prospect has said that they would buy if their partner was game  you now have an ally that help You do a few important things.

  • Get past any gate keepers to the partner( who at this point is the true decision maker).
  • They can schedule a time to speak with the partner on your behalf.
  • You should encourage them to tell the partner what they think about the product or service, and to convey their excitement.

This truly is all you want them doing, and even the third one can be iffy.  If you let the partner speak for your product or service it is going to go something like this.  “I spoke with this sales dude on the phone, he promised us a bunch of cool stuff for a lot of money.”  You don’t want that exchange to happen.

Never pitch the partner like you have the sale in the bag.  In fact, you’re going to want to start over at the beginning.  Assume any information that has been passed along already has been misrepresented.  Take your time and use what the other partner has said to your advantage.  You should often note that when you are speaking with someones spouse that they often will act like the brakes to someones gas pedal.  They may end  up stonewalling you.  You’re going to have to go back to the original spouse you spoke with and remind them that life is full of risk, and that although it’s never fun to spend money, they can’t let their spouse keep them from doing what’s in their combined best interest.

The takeaway:  Make sure that you have turned the partner into an ally and you’ll overcome the partner objection with ease.

 

Overcoming the Fear of Rejection

One of the more common issues that you may run across is the fear of rejection.  If you ‘ve ever had a difficult time picking up the phone and calling someone you know what I am talking about.  It’s just not in human nature to be OK with being constantly rejected.  And that is what sales is, so you may as well get used to it.

The trick to overcoming rejection is how you handle it.  If you are keeping track of how many calls it takes to create a lead, and how many leads it’ll take to create a sale than this part will be easier for you.  Your attitude needs to be one of gratitude whenever someone tells you no.

Every time someone tells you no it is just bringing you one step closer to your next sale.  That needs to be your mentality.  Rejection is your fuel.  It powers you and makes you stronger.

One call at a time

When dealing with the fear of rejection, you’ll start to find picking up the phone and making dials to be difficult.  You’ll find yourself doing things to not call on potential customers.  I have seen plenty of people with poor sales skills make a ton of sales.  They are not afraid of the phone.  They are not afraid of rejection, or sounding dumb.

Don not let yourself think to far ahead of the process.  The best sales representatives know their product inside and out.  They do not judge the leads ahead of time, and they certainly don’t sit there for fifteen minutes thinking about what the customer is going to say when they give their pitch.  Calls rarely go the way that you see them going in your head.  It’s better to not waste that precious selling time.

Set yourself some goals.  Tell yourself that you’ll make ten calls and talk to at least one decision maker, and then you’ll allow yourself to go get a cup of coffee.  Break your day into mini segments and plan on making a certain amount of calls.  Stick with it and in no time calling on customers will become second nature to you.

 

Just go for it

What is the worst thing that could happen.  Somebody says no.  So what!  As yourself, is this going to matter at all in my life tomorrow?  The answer is always going to be no.  Life is more important than what you do for a living.  Try and keep perspective.  If you take it one call at a time, eventually you will have no issues whatsoever with

Overcoming the Price Objection

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?  You speak with a potential client.  You do a great job interviewing them and evaluating their needs, now it’s time to close.  So, you go ahead and ask for the sale and they say that it is just not in their budget.  There are several ways to overcome this objection.  Let’s get straight to it!

Properly qualify your prospect.

This objection, more than any other, is a symptom of a rushed call. Many reps will try to throw something against the wall  and see it if sticks.  I’m not saying that throwing a number out there to entice a lead that is quickly slipping away is a bad idea.  But, if you find yourself in this situation to often, you’ll want to evaluate how much time you are spending on the qualification part of the phone call.

Always be asking yourself if it’s really price that they have an issue with, or if you’ve failed to make them see the value.  Just because someone is telling you that it costs to much does not really mean that it does.  It may very well mean that they don’t see the value in what you have pitched them.  It can also be a stall or smokescreen as well.  It’s an effective one because they aren’t saying no.  They are basically telling you that their hands are tied.

This is why it is so important to do good fact finding.  When most people buy something they are expecting a return on their investment.  Sometimes that return is financially quantifiable, and sometimes it is in utility or happiness.  We are going to concentrate on getting return on investment.  It’s vital for you to understand exactly what your customers bottom line return is on what you are selling.

Here’s and example of a good ROI.  Lets pretend that we are selling advertising to a roofer.

 

Salesman: My parents had a roof put on a couple of months ago.  It ran them about five thousand dollars.  Does that sound right?


Customer:  Well, we average around seven thousand from most residential jobs.  They got a heck of a deal.

 

Now did we just come right out and ask him exactly how much money he makes on a job?  Absolutely not.  We gave an example.  Why?  Because people naturally feel a tendency to correct you when you are wrong.  Instead of thinking about what an invasive question this is, they will more often than not give you the correct number.

Of course, not everyone will be so forthcoming.  In these instances I’ll try to be blunt with them and say that I’m just trying to get a better understanding of their business in order to provide them with the best possible quote.  At this it is more important that you try and get the number anyway.  A more blunt approach will often work.  Just ask them.

Salesman: My parents had a roof put on a couple of months ago.  It ran them about five thousand dollars.  Does that sound right?


Customer:  I see what you are trying to do.  I'm not giving you that.

Salesman:  I understand and appreciate where you are coming from, but in order to make sure that this is a good fit for you I need to understand your business.  What is your average job worth to you?

 

Now, when you go to close this customer you can give them the proper return on investment.  It now makes it easy to overcome this objection.  You’ll now be able to tell them that what you are offering them will bring them 9 customers a month, and at $7000 a pop they are looking to make $63000 a month.  The only investment they need to make is a $600 a month for this.

 

Sometimes it is the price.

Sometimes the price really can be an issue, but most of the time it is a value issue.  You must provide the feeling that they are receiving a great deal of value for the money.  You must thoroughly qualify your prospect and make sure that you are not ignoring any obvious signs that they aren’t going to buy.

If you do catch them saying something earlier in the call about not having money anyway and you’ve come this far than you’ve taught yourself an important lesson on how to not waste your time.  And as you get better and better, you’ll only get more upset when you miss out on time on the phone

The takeaway.

Make sure that you are getting a good ROI and doing top notch fact finding. This will ensure that you can use your customers own words to overcome the price objection.