sales voicemails create relationships

Do you get too many emails? Most people will answer emphatically, “YES!”

Ugh. Right?!

Now, be honest: Do you send too many emails? Based on what I see, the answer is probably also YES. Even when picking up the phone would solve problems quicker, shorten the sales cycle, and increase close rates, many people have themselves convinced that email is more “efficient.”

Here’s the thing: Email is great for transactions. However, you must have conversations to build a valuable long-term and/or strategic relationship. If you feel frustrated that your prospects or clients are treating you like a “vendor,” take a look at how much of your interaction is email vs. phone.

You may be tempted to exclaim, “But nobody picks up the phone. It always goes to voicemail.” However, when you truly believe in the value of what you have to share and the partnership you hope to build, you still try. If they don’t answer, no problem. Leave a message. Sure, also send an email, and mail a letter, and try to meet them at a live event. The most successful sales process includes a multi-step, multi-channel approach. There’s just no question that phone outreach is critical for any business that hopes to go beyond order-taking.

Still, hearing that voicemail beep puts you on the spot. I get it. While email can be carefully crafted with as much time as you need to sort and express your thoughts, voicemail requires instant clarity. It can be intimidating.

Here are 10 tips that will help you feel and sound more confident when you are leaving sales voicemails:

  1. DO have your value and business mission in mind before you dial. You want to help them, not sell. You aren’t “bothering” them if they have a problem you can solve. They aren’t doing you a favor in calling you back. They are helping themselves.

  2. DO be clear about your goal for the call. If you are calling to get a meeting, say that. Don’t sell your solution. Say you’re calling to set up time so you can learn more about them, and talk about trends or challenges to whatever extent you mutually decide makes sense.

  3. DO leave your phone number at the beginning and the end. That makes them more likely to write it down, and gives them the benefit of not having to listen to an entire message twice if they miss a digit.

  4. DON’T give your email address. It’s too cumbersome, they won’t likely email you unless you email them, and you want them to call you.

  5. DO smile when you are talking, be confident, and put energy behind your words. Even though they can’t see you, your emotion will come through. If you let it, the power of your voice will be far more effective than any written communication.

  6. DO speak calmly and clearly. If you have to rush to get a message into the amount of time allotted for a voicemail message, you’re saying too much. Say less and slow down.

  7. DON’T use upspeak. Record yourself leaving voicemails and see if you are ending statements with an upward tone that implies a question. This is called “upspeak.” It betrays your lack of confidence, and undermines your credibility. You should only sound like you are asking a question when you are actually asking a question.

  8. DON’T give too much information. If you tell them everything they need to know, they have no reason to call you back. Pique their curiosity, and make them feel something. Your energy and clear intention will always trump a long, scripted pitch.

  9. DO end on a positive note. The best closings are “Thanks in advance” or “I look forward to speaking with you.” These statements have an assumptive close on a call back, and are also warm and friendly.

  10. DO practice and get help if you need it. This is key for anything you want to get great at doing. There’s zero need to suffer in silence. Why continue to avoid or struggle with something that will unquestionably help you and your business.

Here’s an offer: Go ahead and leave me a voicemail. I’m happy to provide some free tips specific to your business. Here’s my number: 1-603-327-9064.  

Any bets how many people actually call me?

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frustrated sales executive
It doesn’t matter if you spend a ton of money on marketing to bring in leads, or you rely on sales professionals to make cold calls. A key frustration for most leaders and businesses who come to me is that prospects aren’t responding to multiple outreach attempts. Even targets who initiated contact and seemed interested, have a way of disappearing into the ether. Meanwhile, you may think your sales prospecting efforts are on point.

If you are a business builder who has had sales prospects going into the “black hole,” one (or more) of these five things is probably happening:

  1. You’re making it about you.
    Want to test this theory? Check your email and phone scripts. How many paragraphs start with I, We, or the name of your company? Remember the mantra, “Be interested, not interesting.” Lead with connection and curiosity. You’ll have the chance to tell them how awesome you are later.
  2. You’re trying to sell them stuff.
    On average, it takes at least seven touches to close a deal; maybe twenty. Stop trying to do it in one. The right goal in this early stage is meaningful conversation to help you both figure out whether there’s a potential fit, and then mutually agree on next steps.

  3. You don’t have a consistent process.
    There’s a formula for what it takes to close a deal. You want to figure that out, document it, and use it. Not quite there yet? Start with general best practices. (I’m happy to help.) Next to people, process is the most important thing in your sales arsenal.

  4. You’ve forgotten why you’re in business.
    Stop to fully absorb your ideal prospect’s psychographic, why you are uniquely positioned to help them, and why it’s so important that you work together on this thing ASAP. Authentic generosity, clarity, and conviction needs to come through in every touch point.

  5. Your language betrays your lack of confidence.
    Desperate and/or repetitive messages such as “I’m just following up…” “Sorry to bug you…” “Please return my call, even if it’s to tell me no…” all show that you need them more than they need you. Even worse are icky-salesy tactics such as alligators, cheesy movie references, and anything that can be translated to, “What can I do to get you in this Prius today?”  If it feels gross, it is. Don’t be that guy.
All of this assumes you are 100% clear about who you are trying to attract as your ideal client, and that your marketing and sales strategy are working in lockstep. If not, start there. Also, spend a lot more time on sales mindset.
As with most things in life and in business, it pays to work from the inside, out.
Need help? Schedule a free, helpful consultation. Let’s chat.
sales email screenshot

Today is likely to be rife with last-ditch efforts for business builders to close a few more 2018 deals. Your inbox (and maybe your sent file) is probably full of emails that start with, “I just wanted to…”

These few words say SO MUCH about the sender. Let’s break it down:

How an email starts says a lot about the true goal of the message. When the first sentence starts with “I…” there’s a pretty good chance that the objective is more meaningful for the sender than the receiver.

As you read the email further, the more times the sender says I, We, My, Our, the more they are prioritizing themselves.

The word “just” betrays a lack of confidence. It’s the word equivalent of knocking very quietly on a door of someone you don’t know that well yet. You’re visiting unannounced and you’re about to ask them for money.  On the one hand, you need them to answer. On the other hand, you don’t really believe you have any right being there. Deep down, you’re actually a little mortified with yourself.

Other phrases that also convey this lack of belief in your mission or value include anything that remotely sounds like, “Sorry to bother you….”

The remaining part of the statement, “I just wanted to…” further demonstrates that it’s all about the sender. “I want” also shows up as “I would like to…” and “I would love to….”. There’s also “I hope….” And “I am hopeful that…” (See also: “just”). 

In a very typical email that I received this morning, the sender used versions of these phrases SEVEN times in about four paragraphs.

My kids are actually the ones who taught me that when I want someone to do something, it has to be about why it’s important to them. The more time-crunched and desperate the situation, the more critical the communication approach. Yelling the sales equivalent of “DO IT NOW BECAUSE I WANT YOU TO AND I SAID SO!” may get the job done. However, it’s not going to feel good to anyone involved and certainly won’t help the long-term relationship. As noted earlier, being meek and weak is likewise ineffective. (This is true in both parenting and sales.)

In summary, remember these tips the next time you send or receive a sales email:

  • Use “you” early and often. Make it about them.
  • Be relevant. Do your homework and/or reference real conversations.
  •  Be confident. Go in deeply believing in your mission and value. Know it. Feel it.
  • Connect to their priorities. If they barely know you, they probably don’t care what you want.
    (Heck, they may not care even if you gave birth to them.)

Ultimately, all of this connects mindset, message, and method. This is what the Firewalk Sales system is all about. Need assistance crafting your next sales email? Schedule a free consultation, and let’s work on it together. Happy to help you!

After more than six years in business, I started considering a branding shift within Charlene Ignites, LLC. There were two major goals:  1) Better speak to my ideal target clients in both messaging and aesthetic  2) Better differentiate my personal brand from the growing company brand. Still, I struggled to find the inspiration until participating in an intense personal development retreat. You can read even more details of the story here.

A Spark of Inspiration

Upon returning from the retreat, I described a powerful firewalking experience to one of my clients. With an expression of bewilderment, he remarked, “That must have been terrifying and painful.”

“Actually,” I replied with a shrug, “It was surprisingly fun and easy.”

On the spot, I described my personal firewalking experience in ten steps:

  1. Get your mind right.
  2. Listen to your expert guide.
  3. Ensure you have the right materials.
  4. Proclaim your intentions with clarity, confidence, and conviction.
  5. Believe in the science.
  6. Walk, don’t rush, and don’t stop until you are fully through the finish line.
  7. Use the love and support all around you to make the experience better.
  8. Focus your attention on the receiver.
  9. Wipe your feet, and clear away any little annoying tidbits.
  10. Celebrate!

My client looked at me, chuckled slightly, and said, “Ya know…. That sounds a lot like how you’ve been teaching us to sell.”

The Light Bulb Moment

It was an epiphany! He was right on. My mission is all about helping business builders who see sales as difficult, a little scary, and kinda painful. Many of them would rather walk on flaming hot coals than make 100 cold calls. Yet, they want the growth. They want the transformation. They are ready to take the leap of faith to learn the mindset, message, and method that will take them to the next level.

While the Firewalk Sales System is prescriptive in many ways, it is also perceptive. Human beings are complicated. Selling effectively so your ideal clients can buy confidently can’t be done by a script. It’s an art as much as a science. Done well, it can even feel a little like magic.

Just like the firewalk.

Let’s put the art, science, magic to work for you. Schedule your free, helpful consultation this week.