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BREAKING THE VOICE MAIL BARRIER
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By C.J. Hayden

Even if you never place a cold call, you still have to reach people by phone. That customer who was so interested last month never called you back, and now you must call her. You call once, twice, three times, but you can't get her in person. How can you manage to close a sale if all you ever get is voice mail?

Doing business in the age of voice mail can be extremely frustrating. While it is true that some people leave their voice mail on all the time, you can sometimes get through by calling off hours. Try calling before 8:30 or after 5:30. You may also find people at their desks during the lunch hour.

So should you keep calling or leave a message? Actually, you should do both. Assume that most people won't call you back, so just keep right on calling them.

Josiane Feigon, principal of the telesales training and coaching company, Telesmart Communications (www.tele-smart.com), suggests that you try pressing "0" or "0"# to transfer to the receptionist. That way you can verify that the person you are trying to reach is still in the same job position, and find out when they are expected to be in.

Whether you reach your prospects or not, never make them wrong for not returning your calls. Rather than saying, "I haven't heard from you," let them know you are eager to speak with them, and wanted to try again while you were in your office. Feigon recommends, "As a rule, try not to leave any more than three voice mail messages over a 10-day period of time and then lay off for a month."

Speaker and trainer Melinda Henning of Doing Business by Phone (www.unforgettablelearning.com) says that the way to deal with voice mail is to use it as an advertising medium. In other words, leave a voice mail commercial. Especially if you are cold calling, Melinda suggests that you compose a series of different commercials, each one revealing some new and interesting fact about your business, and another reason for someone to speak with you.


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