How to Leave an Effective Voicemail

Have you ever received a message from a salesperson? (No, not one from your store.) How effective was the message? Did it raise your curiosity level? Did it prompt you to pick up the phone and call back? Were you confused about the intent of the caller or, worse yet, not even sure who the caller was? Like any consumer of goods, at some point you’ve heard a good and a bad message from a salesperson.

When guests leave your store without a set appointment, your salesperson’s job is to follow up with them to schedule one. In the ideal world, this can be done with a single phone call. The reality is a salesperson could make multiple attempts, leaving a voicemail eight out of 10 times. (Of course, getting multiple contact numbers from a guest could improve the odds.) Most salespeople give up after leaving one message. Over time, when there is no callback from the customer, one could give up on follow-up altogether.

Most salespeople take very little time to prepare for a phone conversation (i.e., practicing/role-playing, writing possible objections down, and so forth), let alone prepare to leave a 30-second message. When you are not prepared to leave a message, you can go on rambling for a minute or two. Have you ever gotten one of those two-minute messages? The same is true with your salespeople. Preparation is the key to an effective message. Creating an effective message is easy when utilizing the steps to a callback, and your guests will hear a message that prompts them to pick up the phone and call back.

It is important for salespeople to know why they are making the call in the first place. What is the reason for this communication? Whatever the reason is, the main function of the message is to get a callback. In essence they are selling a callback. Too many times salespeople sell a car, payments, trade-in value or nothing while leaving a message. When that happens, the message becomes polluted, and the salesperson sounds like dozens of other salespeople on the voicemail—there is no message within the message.

Additionally, preparation consists of creating a script and practicing it. Writing out a message script or outline will help improve the quality of the message, which in turn improves the callback ratio. The good news is this part of the preparation takes only a few minutes, but can produce great long-term results.

Below is a step-by-step example of a voicemail script.

Intro: “Hi (customer’s first name), this is (your name) from (dealership, location). My number is (phone number).” Experts recommend leaving your contact number twice, at the beginning and end of the message, and saying it slowly with the last digits in pairs.

Set the stage: “You visited our store last night and test drove a (vehicle).” There is a chance they stopped at several dealerships.

Throw in a compliment: “I really enjoyed meeting you and your family!” Saying something nice about the customer offers a personal touch.

Reason for a call: “You mentioned you wanted to … I wanted to know how it went,” Establishing the reason the customer left is essential to meaningful follow-up.

Desired action: “Call me …” Keeping it simple is the key. Get to the point; you want them to call you back. Any additional pleasantries could convolute the message.

Contact info: “… at (phone number). This is (your name) at (dealership, location).”

Farewell: “Looking forward hearing from you.”

The entire message takes 25 to 35 seconds. In contrast with a lengthy, unclear and pointless message, a concise and clear communication with spelled-out contact info and a call to action will get results. Less is more.

To create a meaningful message, your sales staff must know why they are making the follow-up call. In preparation for a phone call, a salesperson must create an outline for a phone conversation and a message, in case a customer does not answer. Practicing a voicemail out loud a few times will increase confidence, which will help make the message stand out.

Keeping the message short and to-the-point is a great message in and of itself—you value your customer’s time. Remember, when you are leaving a message, you are selling a callback. When talking on the phone, you are selling an appointment, and only when you are face-to-face with the customer, you are selling a vehicle.

Vol. 8, Issue 2

About the author

Tony Troussov

Director of Training

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