By Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA
Imagine you are doing your phoning. The familiar ringing sounds once, twice…a third time. Do you start getting into your “voicemail mode?” You know what I mean, right? You stiffen up, queue up “the message” that you have left so many times and prepare to leave your voice on a machine?
If this sounds familiar, I doubt you get too many calls back. As a contrast, how do you leave a voicemail message for a friend or a loved one who you really want to call you back? Take a moment to compare messages you leave for QS's and the messages you leave for people you know and love. Jot down what you notice.
Interestingly, the messages have the same objective: find a way to have a fellow human being connect with you by calling you back. Are you creating connection or disconnection with your voicemails?
Here’s a proven method to create connection. Try it for yourself and let us know if it works for you.
1) Stop going into robot mode and talking to a machine—talk to a human!
While it may feel like your voice is disappearing into a voicemail black hole, the experience of the person listening to it is just as important as if they are live on the phone with you! Talk to the person through the line, voicemail or not. Become a “human” yourself by taking deep breaths, scanning your body for tension and relaxing before you even touch the phone.
2) Try this
Ask one of your colleagues to help (you can return the favor). Have them sit across from you while you dial. When the familiar voicemail message on the other end begins, look at each others’ faces. Make eye contact and do your normal expressions and gestures with your volunteer as you leave the message. Smile. Once you have practiced this a few times, switch roles.
3) Now solo
Now you’re ready to use an image of your QS from the web or a photo of your own loved one to “talk to” for the purpose of humanizing your voicemail messages.
4) Now with intention
What is your “intention” with phoning? Is it to hit a number? To look like you’re “trying" in Clientbuilder? Why are you in this practice? Everything you do needs to be aligned with you creating a wholehearted successful practice, not the image of one. Try shifting to something like: My intention is to connect with people I’d like to work with and set meetings.
5) Are you guilty?
Do you leave mystery messages? STOP IT!! Identify yourself by your full name, what you do and where you work (with pride!). Tell the QS why you are calling and what action you wish them to take. Expect them to return your call.
6) Now try this… Start by leaving a message on your own voicemail and listening to it
Bring your intention to life. Lower your voice and speak slowly as you leave the message. Even slower. No…slower yet. Avoid your temptation to rush on voicemail! “Hi John. [Pause, breathe] This is Suzy Miller. I’m a Financial Representative calling from Northwestern Mutual. [Pause, breathe] Our mutual connection John Jones suggested I give you a call to see if working together might make some sense. [Pause, breathe] Do you have some time late this week or early next week to meet? [Pause, breathe] Why don’t you give me at call at 123-456-7890 to let me know what works for you. [Pause, breathe, now slower yet!] That number again is 123-456-7890. I look forward to hearing back from you.
7) Dial with confidence. Whether you reach or not, you can still set. Start expecting calls to be returned and they will be.