Tuesday, September 11, 2012

At the Sound of the Beep

At the Sound of the Beep

by Tim Wackel

There's a school of thought that says never leave a voicemail for someone you're cold calling. These candidates for voicemail's hall of shame should have heeded that advice.

Hall of Shame Candidate #1
Hi, this is Ken with Hopeless Inc. We purchase used office telephone equipment and PC's. Our number is 214.555.1212. If you've recently switched systems or plan to in the near future please give us a call at 214.555.1212.

Not much of a compelling reason to return this call. What is the potential value in doing business with Hopeless Inc.? It looks like the classic numbers game - make enough calls and eventually you find someone who has just "switched systems" and wants to get rid of the junk sitting in the closet.

Hall of Shame Candidate #2
Good morning Kim, this is Barbie with Clueless. We produce the business to business database called Insight Online. I'm following up on your email inquiry to see if you have any questions about our product. Please give me a call at your convenience. My number is 888.555.1212 extension 1234.

Well for starters my name isn't Kim. Yes, I did make an inquiry, and I'm pretty confident that I didn't misspell my name on their form. Barbie says she wants to see if I have any questions on their product. Maybe it's just me, but if I had a question I'm thinking I would pick up the phone and call them. What if Barbie was calling because she had ideas on how Insight Online has helped other sales speakers improve their business? Think I would return that call? You better believe it!

So what does it take to craft a better voice mail message? How can you improve your odds of getting a call back? Here are five questions that will help you start creating better messages now:

1. Who is your target market?
Specifically, what is the title of the decision maker you want to do business with? And, if you are leaving a message for me, I want to hear that you work with professional sales trainers and speakers. I'm not interested in a one-size-fits-all approach. I'm interested in talking with someone who knows something about what I do (that's why it's called research!).

2. What are some of the specific challenges that you solve?
What are some opportunities that you help create? Be as specific as possible. This is the classic pains and gains stuff. Re-visit these ideas often.

3. What emotions (frustration, disappointment, concern, optimism, hope) does your target market experience with the challenges and opportunities you outlined above?
Remember that emotion plays a big part in buying decisions, yet most people sell using too much logic. Ever see someone driving a Lexus or wearing a Rolex? Help me understand the logic behind those buying decisions.

4. What are some of the competitive alternatives available to your target market?
Yeah, I hear you screaming "never bring up the competition!" Do you really believe your prospect is only going to consider you without checking out someone else? Think again! And remember, doing nothing is a competitive alternative.

5. Why, based on all of the alternatives available, should they do business with you?
What are your compelling differentiators? Be careful here, because most of you are thinking "great products, awesome service, solid reputation and a competitive price." If most of you are thinking this, then it really isn't a compelling differentiator is it?

Fill in the blanks, read, revise, get feedback from your peers and you will have crafted a message that is purposeful, powerful and on target.

"I specialize in helping (target market) who are (feelings/emotions) with (specific challenges) and want proven solutions for (your specific benefits). (Quantify number or use names) of clients have already discovered that unlike (competitive alternative), my solution is/does (compelling differentiator).

My goal is not to make a sales call on you, but if these issues sound familiar and the benefits are important to you, then it might be worth ten minutes for us to have a brief fact finding conversation."

Add this to your arsenal of scripts and you'll be getting callbacks in no time.

Tim Wackel is the founder of The Wackel Group, a training and consulting firm. Learn more at www.TimWackel.com.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fire Any Customers Lately?

You will always have 10% of your customers who are not profitable. No matter how much you think you need their business, they're hurting your top-line and bottom-line. Save yourself some money and gain some time by firing them.

Whenever I mention this to people, they always freak out because they soon see how serious I am. There is not one salesperson who does not have a customer who needs to be fired, based on the lack of profit you're making from them and/or the hassles they are causing you and your company. The most valuable asset in any company is time - the time the employees have. When it gets wasted doing activities that are not profitable, then it only results in one thing - the overall company being less profitable.

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