Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Do Your Team's Voicemails Sell the Conversation?

by Matt Bertuzzi on Wed, Sep 09, 2009

On the blog last Friday I shared a post that I found interesting.  It did a great job of laying out the case for B2B websites to "sell a conversation". There are some thoughtful comments so please check them out.

I want to pick up the "selling the conversation" notion again but this time as it relates to voicemail.

I stepped out of the office yesterday and returned to the following voicemail. (Note: I changed the name, company and whitepaper title to protect the innocent.) The left side is what they said and the right side is what I heard.


HI Matt, This is First Longlastname from ABC.

Your company name sounds somewhat familiar. You - I don't know. That name I'd remember.

My phone number is 617-555-1234 extension 617.

Are you really calling me to give me your phone number?

(My left hand makes a swift move towards the "7" key to delete the message)

But I thought what the heck; I'll give them another chance.

Last week you download our Whitepaper "Leveraging LinkedIn for Lead Generation".

OK, that rings a bell. But so what? Why the call?

(My hand backs away from the "7" key)

The reason for my call is that we generally follow up to see if you might....

What?! You're taking up my time because that is what you generally do?

(At this point and seemingly without any instruction from my conscious mind, my finger hits the "7" key and message is deleted.)

Does this voicemail sell the conversation to you?
Would you have felt compelled to return this call? Is that what you generally do?

Every interaction with a prospect needs to deliver a compelling reason for them to take action. Whether warm, cold calling or inbound follow-up, we have to sell the conversation.

So what might First Longlastname have done differently? Here's a few ideas:

  • Focus on buyer personas
    If I'm worth a follow up phone call, I must be a high probability lead for ABC. If they had constructed buyer personas, they'd understand more about my motivation, goals and challenges.

    So rather than:
    Last week you download our Whitepaper "Leveraging LinkedIn for Lead Generation".

    They might say:
    Many of the Marketers I work with are focused on optimizing their use of social networks like LinkedIn for lead generation.  I would assume, based on your download of our White Paper, that this is also an issue for you.

  • What's the return for returning the call?
    Also based on my buyer persona, First Longlastname would have a better idea of what other resources ABC has that might be of interest me.

    So rather than:
    The reason for my call is that we generally follow up to see if you might....

    They might say:
    I have a research report on how other professional services firms are using LinkedIn to great effect. It isn't generally available on our site, but if you return my call I'd be happy to share it with you. If appropriate perhaps we might discuss how ABC has worked with Marketing Executives, like you, to....

You get the idea. If your team's voicemails:

  • focus on the buyer
  • address their goals
  • share what you can offer them

Then you are well on your way to selling the conversation in your prospecting process.

Am I expecting too much? Are there any other ideas on what First Longlastname could/should have done?

(Photo credit: dorseygraphics)

Topics: sales tips, cold calling, lead generation

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