By William Bronchick & Frank Pulley
In this day and age of emails, texts, and social media, the telephone is still used frequently to communicate, especially in business. The fact is that many of us have either eliminated or reduced the numbers of “landlines” we have had with the advent of cell phones, especially “smartphones.” Most of us involved in real estate investing are often mobile because of meetings with potential buyers, sellers, and associates and in pursuit of investment properties, so we aren’t at our office much of the time. Even with all of this new technology available, telephone communications rank just below a person to person meeting for effective communications. Think of a great voicemail as part of a solid marketing plan.
As we venture through our work week, and with the information overload most of us experience many times each day, more often than not we may be unavailable when someone calls us. Most of our known associates will leave us a message, but what about those folks that may be “new possibilities?” These people are possible buyers, sellers, and potential new “team members.” These are people that we must communicate with in order to keep our business growing and moving ahead. Most of us just “wing it” and come up with a voice mail that is either ineffective or just doesn’t create the desired responses. Thus we find a need to leave a better than average voicemail that will evoke a response and convince them to leave a message for us.
There is no “silver bullet” for a voicemail message that will work 100% of the time. However, with a little thought and dedication, one can certainly increase the odds with a quality, well thought out voice mail. In addition, please understand that you may be trying to attract more than one type of caller, so make sure that your message matches the person calling. For example, it might be best if you used your cell and it’s number for regular business calls, but for possible buyers and sellers, use a feature such as Google Voice (there are several others also out there such as Grasshopper and others) that will allow you to leave a message more suited to those potential callers. This feature allows you to still receive the call on your cell phone but will let you know whether it is coming from your cell or your Google Voice number.
We will talk a bit later in this article about how to put together a good message, but let’s start with some essential information that should be part of your compelling message. Here is some information that should be included in an effective voicemail:
• Your name and that of your company.
• Your position within the company, if necessary.
• Alternate contact info, such as an office number, email or website, if needed.
• An apology that you can’t take their call right away.
• Do NOT say, “Your call is very important to us.” This is overused and tends to offend people.
• A promise that you will return their call within a specified period of time. If you are out of office for an extended time, then include when you will return and an alternate person or way (email) that they can contact you.
• A compelling reason for the caller to leave a message. This can be a promise that you believe that you can help the caller by solving their problem. It can also be a time-sensitive reason such as, “ I can only purchase 2 more houses before the end of this month, so please leave me a message, so I can give you a call about your property!”
• Keep your message short; 20-25 seconds at the most.
Now that we have listed some pertinent information to include in an effective voicemail, let’s discuss how to actually get it to that point. Here are a few tips on how to do this.
• Decide on who the target person that you are leaving the message for actually is.
• Create (in writing) a script that contains the components of the items we listed above for an effective message.
• Decide on who will leave the message if there is a group of you. Otherwise, it should be you.
• Rehearse the script until you are comfortable with it. Speak slowly and distinctly.
• Record the message. Do it where there is no background noise or distractions.
• Listen to the message. Record it again if it isn’t what you intended.
• Have friends, family and especially business associates call and listen to the message. Get their feedback.
• Make final changes if needed.
• Save the script on your computer. Put a reminder on your calendar to change it up once in awhile.
• Make sure you follow up when you say you will!
With a little thought and effort, you can be sure to come up with a voice mail that is performing much better than what you currently use. There is no time like the present to get started. As always, suggestions from a mentor or trusted advisor can be extremely helpful. Here’s to your success!