I was recently involved in a conversation about the phone. Those of us in sales of any kind can have a love/hate relationship with the phone. The three most important things you can do are (1) make the call, (2) leave a message, and (3) return messages.
The first is often the hardest. My little 3½ oz phone weighs 20 pounds when it’s time to make my calls. That’s an improvement, though. When I first started making calls it weighed 200 pounds.
The third is simply common courtesy. Your outgoing message says that you’ll call back. Keep your word. Call back.
It’s the second that I’m focused on today, though. It’s important that you leave a message. Why? Let me tell you.
Some people assume that everyone has caller ID. So, “they’ll know I called and will call me back.” That’s wrong. My home phone does not have caller ID. My cell phone will display the number, but won’t show the name unless it’s someone in my contact list. Also, some people figure if they do have caller ID, they’ll call me back. There are people who will call an unknown number, but I’m not one of them. What if it was a wrong number? What if it’s a husband wanting to surprise his wife with my products and his wife answers? Leave a message.
In these days when so many people do have caller ID, many people will know you’ve called. It’s polite to let them know why. Otherwise they see you’ve called several times and could think you’re a stalker. If I’m not sure what the best time is to call someone, I’ll call at various times of day, saying, “Hi, this is Rae, [company name] consultant. I’m not sure what time of day is best for you, so I’ll try again in a few hours.” When I call back I say, “Hi, it’s Rae the [company name] consultant again. I’m still trying to touch base with you. If I don’t hear from you I’ll try again at _________________.” This way if they’re out of town they know why you’ve called several times. Leave a message.
Leaving a message allows you to prepare them for your next call or for when they call you back. They’ll have had a chance to look over their calendar and call a friend or two if they’re scheduling a party. They’ll have their product information at hand if they have a question. Allow them to be prepared. Leave a message.
So, when you make that call, if you don’t talk to a real, live, person, leave a message.