Here’s another bit of wisdom that was in my email today. I have coached my staff and others to use the “idea” approach over the years. The “help” approach also works well here in the midwest. However I have some additional words of advice and warning that I’ll give you at the end of this post.
USING INTRIGUE TO GET VOICE MAIL
By Jim Domanski
Have you read any novels by John Grisham,
Tom Clancy, Anne Perry, Nelson DeMille
or perhaps Patricia Cornell?
They have the uncanny ability to draw
you in, to get you to read the next
paragraph, the next page and the chapter
beyond even though it is well past midnight.
Because they are masters at intrigue.
Intrigue is defined as “mystery, suspense;
to arose interest or curiosity.”
At the end of every chapter, these authors
leave you with an unanswered question, a
moment of suspense, a sense of expectation.
You can’t help but read on.
When prospects pick up/access their
voice mail, they are, in effect, picking
up a book and leafing through the pages.
Something must catch their eye…er…ear.
In a way, you must become a master of
intrigue when it comes to leaving a voice
mail. You must become the Grisham or
Cornell of voice mail! You must leave
your prospect hungry for more. He or
she must want to pick up that phone
in the telephony equivalent of turning
to the next page.
How do you do this?
Writing a good novel is essential a
matter of technique. So too is leaving
a voice mail. After leaving your name
and your company here are some techniques
or statements that leave your prospect
curious for more.
“I NEED YOUR HELP.”
This statement has proven to be very
effective in getting prospects to call
back. It looks like this:
“Mr. Gandara, I need your help with some
research I am doing on safety issues
and I am told you are the resident expert…”
There are three things that work with
this statement. The first is that the
word ‘help’ appeals to the average
individual. It is not threatening and
it certainly doesn’t sound like a
Secondly, intrigue is created by
forcing the recipient to ask:
“What kind of help?” “Why?”
“What’s this all about?”
Finally, the phrase flatters. By
stating that the prospect is the
resident expert, the prospect
“I HAVE AN IDEA.”
I have used the “idea” opener
in other scenarios in telesales and
it works extremely well because it
leaves the recipient asking the question
“Ms. Ackerman, I have an idea that I
would like to run by you that might
significantly impact your quality
It creates intrigue in much the same
manner as the “I need your help.”
The prospect is forced to wonder the
precise nature of the idea. That it
significantly impacts quality control
makes it all the more interesting.
This is a new one for me. I like it
and wish that I had developed it but
the credit goes to Tom Freese, author
of “The Secrets of Questions Based
“Dr. Tuori, I have a question that
I believe only you can answer concerning
carpal tunnel syndrome…”
The fact that only the recipient can
answer the question is intrigue enough.
The prospect thinks: “What question?
Here’s another one I have seen used in
various forms. The insider referral
leverages the expertise, title or
position of someone within your company
and creates a unique sense of intrigue.
“Mr. Jackson, Dr. Carrigan, the head
of our Marketing Development Division,
suggested I give you a call concerning
The intrigue here is twofold. First,
the reference to “Doctor” Carrigan is
powerful. A doctor? What kind of doctor?
What is this about? Why did should a
doctor want me to call?
Second, the reference to productivity
is an implied benefit. But it is not
precisely clear and it nags like a
persistent itch. To scratch it you
have to call.
Not every company has a doctor on staff.
Another variation of this voice mail
“Mr. Edgerton, our president, suggested
I give you a call…”
The “president” is a powerful title and
generally gets the attention of the
Learn to be a master of intrigue. Craft
your messages and try them. Test variations
and see what works best for you. Maybe you’ll
create your own “best seller.”
(Jim Domanski is President of Teleconcepts
a telesales consulting and training firm. Contact
him at firstname.lastname@example.org and
613-591-1998. He’s also author of the bookS,
and “Profiting By Phone,”
Here’s the additional advice:
1. Be prepared for what you are going to say if you get a live person, and if you get voice mail. You are in control since you are the one placing the call!!
2. You must be honest! Do not ask for help and then turn into a pushy salesperson! Use the appropriate words. If say you have an idea, then you better have an idea. If you need help, then be sure to ask for specific help.
3. Do not sell over the phone. Use the phone to schedule a meeting. Face to face meeting if possible.
4. Now if you are doing sales over the phone, you better be good at it. Otherwise you are going to struggle and fumble and quite frankly, it is not the way I would want to make a living.
5. Now, to every rule there is almost an exception, since I do sell over the phone and with email to out of town clients. But these are special situations, and most of the clients I work with, we have met face to face.