« Help! Confused by CFO's behavior | Main | Competing Against the Big Companies »


Bill Bell

Voicemail messages usually get returned if you offer your prospect something he/she is likely to be interested in.

As a publisher's representative, I used to send the ad manager of a prospective customer a tearsheet of his/her recent ad in a competitive publication suggesting that the product advertised would likely appeal to the readers of my magazine. I'd enclose a copy of my magazine with a bit of basic information.

In my letter I'd say that after they had a chance to look this material over I would call to see if we could arrange an appointment. After about ten days would call back, and usually my prospect would readily agree that we should meet. (Sometimes I did not even need to make the call; they'd call me.)

There were three key points that required some effort and research:
(1) I had to know my audience well enough to be certain that the product in question would be of interest to my readers.
(2) I had to make sure that I spelled the ad manager's name correctly and that "ad manager" was the correct title and
(3) I had to positively follow up with a call as promised. When we finally did meet I did NOT try to jump right in and "sell an ad".

What I did do will be the subject of another comment.
Regards, Bill Bell

Michael Stammer

What I find most interesting about the example is that I would tend to zone out on that message whether I was hearing it live, in a letter or email, or in a voice mail. There's really nothing in it that would make me want to endure more time with that rep.

I would suggest you go a step further than calling yourself and Jill suggests. Start by recording a number of calls and presentations and then review them. Be honest. How much of it is just mind-numbing drivel that drives prospects away?

The key is, as you Jill points out, listening with the prospect's ears. Here BUSY and DISTRACTED ears! Is your message one that really matters in the midst of the myriad distractions coming at her? If not, you are dead.

Jacques de Villiers

Hi Jill,

It sounds like a tough world in your neck of the woods. In South Africa we haven't yet experienced voicemail as an obstacle (OK, we're a small country of only 42-mil of which 11-mil are economically active)so we don't have the numbers you have to contend with.

Our main problem is getting past the gatekeeper (secretary). Do you have an e-book on that particular challenge.

By the way. I loved your radio interview.

Jacques de Villiers

Jill Konrath

Jacques, From what I hear, voicemail problems in the U.S. are far worse here than anywhere else in the world. The only time you run into gatekeepers is when you're calling on a senior-level executive. I don't have any ebooks on this topic, but I do have a chapter on dealing with gatekeepers in my new book. In case you're interested, "Selling to Big Companies" will be out on December 1st!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Contact Info

  • Phone: 651.429.1922
    [email protected]
    Twitter: @jillkonrath

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter
    Blog powered by Typepad