You are a sales professional; you give a telephonic call to a prospective customer and he is not available to respond to you at the time of your calling; either your call gets directed to a voice-mail or some one else — his secretary, his colleague, his spouse — receives your call. You are very eager to get the call returned by that person without the necessity of your calling that person once again. Right?
Lesson 1: Don’t expect that person to call you back! Make it clear to your mind that the other person need not necessarily be as interested as you are in doing the business with you. This being understood very clearly, make sure however that the way you leave your message has the maximum potential to get the call returned.
In the event that the customer too is interested in doing the business with you, your message should not jeopardize any chance of the person returning your call. For that, clarity of message is the watch word.
Lesson 2: When you are recording-in your message in a voice-mail
(a) Remember that a voice recorder is a machine, which has got its own deficiencies in the quality of sound reproduction. So, talk a bit louder, preferably not in a bass voice and talk slower than your normal speed.
(b) Make sure that there are no background noises in the place from where you are talking. Don’t record the message with your TV or sound system blaring in the back ground; don’t talk from roadside where traffic is heavy. Don’t talk from a crowded shopping mall or from a discotheque.
(c) Tell first who is calling, with a clear pronunciation of your name, followed by phone number. Spell out each digit at a speed with which one will be able to scribble down the number. Repeat the number once again before concluding the recording.
(d) Be courteous and polite in your diction; If you are sure that the person has a specific requirement for the product or service you are selling, then start with “I understand you have a requirement of .”. If it is a cold call, make a straightforward statement of what you are offering rather than engaging in high pitched and bulldozing sales talk. Important: Be as brief as possible.
(e) Conclude with a polite request to call you back (repeating your number the second time).
Lesson 3: When some one else receives the call:
(a) Identify yourself first and tell the call-receiver, why you are calling the specific person.
(b) By your polite and nice manner of talking, make sure that the call-receiver does not abruptly hang up the call after curtly informing you “so and so is not available, call later”. Check whether you can get in touch with the person in some other number; if not, request for noting down your name and phone number and leaving a message at the table of the person.
You must be smart enough to find out from the way the response comes whether the call-receiver has really noted down the number. Before hanging up, find out the name and the relationship (whether a secretary, a friend, a colleague or relative) of the person who received the call. This will be useful for you in case you have to call up again in the absence of the return of call. If the same person happens to receive the call this time too and if you could remind him/ her about your previous call, he/ she will definitely feel obliged to inform the person positively this time, if he/she had forgotten to do so last time.
(c) Always find out when the person is likely to be available and at what time you can try to call again. Seeking this information should not however leave an impression with the call-receiver that you will any way call up again and he/she need not bother to leave a message to the concerned person! Request in any case for leaving a message for the return of call.
All said and done, remember that it is quite natural in the order of the world that customers always remain in an elevated platform. Expecting a call to be returned by a customer as a matter of courtesy or good manners is rather too much of asking. When you call up your customer again (in the absence of return of call), never express a sense of displeasure in your tone on this account. It is bad manners!