The caller spoke so quickly I could barely understand her message let alone write down her telephone number. Her words ran together and it was difficult to decipher the company name even though I listened to the message twice. Although we hear information at two to three times the rate we speak (approximately 450 words per minute vs. 150 wpm), most people cannot actually process information that quickly especially if they need to write something down (see the next point). When you leave a voice mail message ensure that it is clear, articulate and easy to understand. Better yet, make sure you leave a compelling reason for your prospect to return your call.
This was obviously a sales call and the sales person wanted me to return her call. That didn’t happen because I didn’t want to listen to her message six or seven times simply to get her phone number. After all, it took two listens just to get the area code. If you make a lot of calls in a day, it’s easy to forget that rattling off your number in rapid-fire manner will make it difficult for the other person to record it. Slow down when you recite your telephone number. You may think that you are speaking too slowly but I can assure that your contact will appreciate. Better yet, leave your call-back number at the beginning AND at the end of the message.
She indicated that this was a follow-up call to a request I had made, but it was difficult to tell because her message was so difficult to understand. I think it was something about accepting credit cards for my business. However, because I already accept all major credit cards, I couldn’t think of a recent time when I may have requested information about this. This actually brings up a few points.
1. If I did make the request, the sales person should have referenced it by saying something like, “Mr. Robertson, on (insert date here) you requested information on our credit card solutions through our website and I’m contacting you to discuss the solutions we offer.” This would have caught my attention.
2. I don’t recall making a request which means if I did, it was several months ago. That means the timing of their follow-up calls needs improvement. How quickly do you respond to requests? I have found that there is serious lag or delay for companies to web forms and even voice mail requests.
Here is another fatal mistake.
In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t deleted the message so quickly—I’ll be the first to admit that patience is not one of my stronger suits. I would love to have played this message back to the person in charge of the sales team at this company and asked them if this how they really wanted their outbound calls handled.
If you own a business and rely on others to make outbound calls or sales calls, I strongly suggest that you record and audit their calls from time-to-time. If you make your own sales calls, take the time to record yourself and listen to your approach. You may be surprised what you hear.