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Speed up an answer to your voice mail

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

That little light on your phone, ­letting you know a message awaits? No rush—at least for most people. Research shows that people take longer to reply to voice messages than other types of communication.

Even getting a voice message heard is a challenge: Nearly one-third of voice messages sit unheard for three or more days, according to research from uReach Technologies.

So what can you do to ensure that people respond to a message you leave them? Try these tips from Wendy Weiss, author of The Sales Winner’s Handbook, whose sales tips work just as well when you’re trying to “sell” the idea of returning your phone call:

•  Find out whether your target actually listens to her voice mail. If there’s an administrative professional or receptionist transferring the call, ask, “Does she keep up daily with her voice mails?” If you don’t hear a resounding “yes,” ask if there’s a better way to make contact.

Also, listen closely to the outgoing voice message. Does your target mention another way to reach her? That may be a better bet.

•  Begin your message by saying your name, your firm and your phone number. Pace yourself by air-writing the words that your target will need to write down. A slow pace also signals that this is information worth writing down.

•  Give a one-sentence reason for your call, recommends Weiss. Ex­­plain the benefit or potential outcome that you’d like to deliver.

Example: “I’m calling to give you a few important insights into this week’s board meeting, so you won’t feel unprepared for the discussion.”

•  Provide a one-sentence success story about how you were able to help someone else.

A salesperson might talk about helping another business with a similar problem. Example:  “We just saved XYZ Corp. $100,000 with one of our solutions.”

You might trigger interest by saying, “I’m reaching out to all our board members to give them the benefit of this information.”

•  Repeat your name, firm and number again at the end of the message. Make it easy for the recipient.

— Adapted from “How to Sell Using Voice Mail,” Geoffrey James, Inc.

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