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What Is It - an Answer Machine or Voice Mail?

by Big Mike McDaniel

What I want to know is who decided that an answering machine was to be called a voice mail machine? Hey, if it walks like a duck...

Whatever they call it, if you miss your contact you may have to speak to the machine. You can do one of three things. Leave a message, leave your name and phone number or hang-up.

Forget the hang-up. You made the call, don't waste the opportunity by not leaving a message that includes more than your phone number.

What you say and how you say it is what sets the voice mail pro apart from the disgruntled amateur. What should you say? You have to plan this in advance. Scripting is not a bad idea. Eliminate the ahs and stumbles. Just pretend the crummy machine is the real deal. You wouldn't search for words if your prospect answered in person, right?

There is research that says the average executive gets over 300 messages from mail, email, fax and more each day, not to mention the bombardment of advertising messages from billboards, TV radio and cable. That's a lot of clutter for you to penetrate.

You must get attention right off, or you go down with the delete button.

First off, it's not about you. This phrase pops up in every aspect of marketing, from advertising all the way to voice mail messages, Its Not About You.

Take a poll. No one cares about you (well, maybe your dog). What everyone cares about is me. What's in it for me? Leave a message, not name and phone number and don't go on about you... seek to entice interest by suggesting something for them.

Everyone leaves the same tired message and they get tuned out the minute it starts; "Hi this is Roscoe, we haven't met but I thought I'd call to see if you would be interested in hearing about my new..." UGH! I, I, I, Me, Me, Me.

Make your messages so compelling folks have to call you back. And don't drone on and on, make 'em short enough to entice, but long enough to incite.

Voice mails have been asking callers to "Leave a message" for years, yet fully three quarters of those who do respond to the beep leave only name and phone number. What message does that send?

Your voice mail message gives you a perfect opportunity to call for action on the part of your listener (Remember you are competing with 300+ messages and the horrid reputation of telephone telemarketers).

Go for the close. Ask them to do something. To call you. To be on the lookout for a package from FedEx. Ask and you will get.

Voice mail response can be an effective sales tool. Voice mail is one of many tools the professional uses to get the job done right.

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About the Author:

BIG Mike is a Business Consultant and Professional Speaker. His BIG Ideas Group helps business grow with promotions, special reports, mastermind groups, seminars and consulting. Subscribe to "BIG Ideas for Small Business" Newsletter visit

©2006 BIG Mike McDaniel, All Rights Reserved

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