Business moves at the speed of light in today‚Äôs business world. We are doing more with less, and electronic communication is a fact of life. But realistically, we cannot answer every telephone call that comes in, no matter how much we‚Äôd like to.
That‚Äôs where voicemail comes in. Whether you are a recruiter looking to connect with A-Team talent or a job hunter trying to get an interview, you can expect to end up in the voicemail box every once in a while.
How do you make that important connection while stuck in phone call purgatory? By keeping in mind that this is your first interaction. In every conversation, including voicemails, we are judged by what we say and how we say it. The listener does not have the advantage of seeing us in person or being able to read our body language; they only have a voice on a phone. Time is ticking and we have one shot to get it right.
Here are five ideas to transform your voicemails into incoming calls!
1. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the people with follow-through who excel.‚Äù ‚ÄìMary Kay Ash
If you decide to make the call, leave a message. People often screen their calls due to the high volume of work that they have, the phone robots asking you to pay the ‚ÄúIRS,‚Äù and the presence of constant pressing deadlines. A common time management tactic that business people take is to block out times to accept and return calls. Any calls that come in outside of that time block go to voicemail, so be sure to leave your contact information clearly within your message.
2. ‚ÄúHere‚Äôs a good idea ‚Äî have a POINT!‚Äù ‚ÄìNeal Page
The easiest way to make sure you DON‚ÄôT get a response is to leave a message with no purpose. Voicemails that merely say, ‚ÄúCall me back!‚Äù are not priorities. Make sure that you explain fully what‚Äôs in it for them.
People are strange that way ‚Äì they want to answer the question, ‚ÄúWhy is this important to me?‚Äù Don‚Äôt leave them hanging, give them the gist!
3. ‚ÄúBrevity is the soul of wit.‚Äù ‚ÄìWilliam Shakespeare
Author Dennis Roth says, ‚ÄúIf it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought.‚Äù Leaving a voicemail that rambles on and on is not effective. You have a maximum of 30 seconds to get your message across before you lose their interest‚Äînot to mention run out of time in their voicemail box. Remove all language that isn‚Äôt pertinent to your reason for leaving the voicemail. If you are not close friends with this person, don‚Äôt try to act like it! Be professional and succinct.
Use a script to keep it short. Don‚Äôt merely read it word-for-word, as that will be obvious and boring, but use it as a guide to stay on track.
4. ‚ÄúPowerful people speak slowly.‚Äù ‚ÄìMichael Cain
While brevity is important, we need to make sure to speak slowly so that the listener can understand the most important information in the message ‚Äì our name, number, and requested action (more on the action part in a moment).
5. ‚ÄúAction speaks louder than words.‚Äù ‚ÄìMark Twain
You are making the call because you want the listener to do something. That action could be a return call, an interview, a meeting, et cetera. If you want the action, you must ask for it! Don‚Äôt assume that the listener can or will read your mind. Let them know exactly what you are asking for and what it is that you want to happen.
No matter how you feel about it, voicemail is woven into the fabric of society, both in our business and personal lives. In many cases, the voicemail that you leave will create a lasting first impression of you and your company. Following these five steps won‚Äôt guarantee a return call, but it will give you a better chance for one.