For most contractors, the first step in nurturing a lead is giving them a call. Often, you’re able to get ahold of the person right away and set up a time to meet for an estimate. This is the ideal situation.
But as you know all too well, it doesn’t always happen that easily. With some leads, you’ve got to call several times and leave message after message — and even then, not everyone will call you back.
So, what’s the deal? Why isn’t your hard work and persistence paying off?
In the end, some clients simply aren’t ready to move forward. For others, it could actually be the nature of your voicemail message that is deterring them from returning your calls. Indeed, leaving the perfect voicemail message is something of an art. If you don’t stick to certain practices, you might be pushing customers away instead of building the contractor-client relationship that is so essential to your business model.
Below are five tips for leaving more successful voicemail messages.
Call at an appropriate time.
You might receive a new lead at virtually any hour of the day or night, but that doesn’t mean it’s alright to call someone at 10 p.m. Pick a time during normal business hours to make calls to any outstanding leads. Otherwise, you might come off as inconsiderate (or flat-out creepy), and clients will be less inclined to return your calls.
If a lead comes in during business hours, your best bet is to call them approximately five minutes after their information has been submitted. This improves your chances of making contact with them while they’re still thinking about getting an estimate. However, when it comes to voicemail messages, studies show that messages left during the middle of the week are most likely to elicit a callback. Conversely, people are least likely to return calls that were made on a Friday afternoon or a Monday morning. As a rule of thumb, you should try calling multiple times during the week if you don’t immediately make contact.
Keep it short and sweet.
We understand the importance of building a relationship with customers. But nobody wants to receive a never-ending message from some contractor they’ve never met. There’s a time and place for forming a personal connection with clients, and a voicemail message is not it. Keep your messages somewhere between 20-30 seconds, and only include the most pertinent information: who you are, why you’re calling, and how they can reach you. It’s not a bad idea to write something out beforehand to ensure that it sounds professional and doesn’t go over the specified amount of time.
Make it personal.
There’s a good reason you’re calling the homeowner directly instead of sending out an automated, pre-recorded message. People like to do business with other people — especially when the project at hand is going to cost them a large sum of money. They want to work with someone they can trust. As such, it’s important that you sound personal and approachable when leaving messages.
Don’t read from a script. Don’t speak too formally. State your first name, but not your last name. Your message should sound natural, as if you’re speaking with a friend rather than a client. Of course, you still need to be professional in your phone manner. But customers will probably respond more favorably to someone who sounds like a regular human being than to a detached businessperson whose only concern is making the sale.
Mention a source.
A lot of customers are skeptical of random phone calls from people they don’t know. Some might even mistake you for a telemarketer and ignore your message altogether. You can ease this skepticism by indicating how you got their information, whether they submitted an estimate request on your website or they were referred by a past client. Mention a specific source — a site, a name — to jog their memory and remind them where or to whom they expressed an interest in your services.
Add a call to action.
As with all client communications, you should finish your voicemail message with a clear call to action. Let the customer know how they can take the next step. This might sound something like “Give me a call back” or “Email me to confirm your appointment”. Maybe you want them to check out your website or sign off on an outstanding proposal. In any event, it’s necessary that you be clear about exactly what it is you’re requesting. This can help you to avoid confusion and achieve the desired result from your voicemail messages.
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