Fix your voice message now!

Fix your voice message now!

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

UntitledFix your voice message now!

How do you greet your customers?
Does this greeting sound familiar?
“I’m either on my phone or away from my desk.”
No kidding. Pathetic.

“No, no, Jeffrey,” you say. “I tell people what day it is.”
“It’s Monday and I’ll be in meetings in the morning and I’ll be in and out of the office in the afternoon.” Pathetic.

I don’t care what you’re doing. I called to talk to you.

Voice message is America’s sales enigma. Everybody has it and 9,999 out of 10,000 have a pathetic message.

Why do I need to know that you are away from your desk? Why do I need to know that you’re in a meeting? Why do I need to know what day of the week it is? Answer: I don’t need to know. And more accurately, I don’t want to know. What I want is to get you on the phone, that’s why I called.

Many companies have two voicemail systems. One where a computer answers the phone and informs me for “my convenience” or “to serve me better” I can select from the following 9 options. So by the time I reach your silly voicemail, I’m annoyed times two.

And then there’s that added element of rudeness when I call and ask for you and the live attendant sends me directly to your voicemail without having the courtesy to tell me you’re not there.

Pardon my rant, but what I’ve just given you is a solid reason for your customer to go to your competition, where their people might be friendly and more helpful.

Now lets get back to you and your stupid pathetic voicemail message. Here are 7.5 ideas to spice up your voicemail so that someone might tell someone else to call you just to hear your message. You see, people who buy your stuff talk to other people who buy your stuff. And if someone calls to hear your message that would also be known as a “lead”.

Leads are expensive and hard to come by. Your voice mail is a key to getting new customers and creating word-of-mouth advertising.

1. A short message about value or profit point of your product. A hint or tip. For example, tell me one thing I can do to profit from the use of your product. Number them and change the message weekly.

2. A thoughtful quote. The internet will give you millions. This must be changed daily.

3. Celebrity impersonation. Find someone who does voices – or do a bad one yourself. Rodney Dangerfield “I can’t get no respect – but you can get a returned phone call!”

4. Your kid. “Hi, I’m Dave’s costly accident, Jason. He’s out earning my college tuition. You can help by leaving a message that includes an order.”

5. Something funny general. Say this in a somewhat weary voice: “I’m just one man and it’s a big world.”

6. Something funny about your product or your business: “Hi, you’ve reached Tom. I am out saving the world one box at a time. Please leave a message and I’ll try to find a cardboard carton to save your world.”

7. A testimonial from a customer. Can you imagine one of your best customers saying something like “Hi, I’m Dave Smith from ABC Plumbing. Joe is over here right now taking care of our account like he has for the past ten years. Please let him take care of yours.”

7.5 Something off the wall. The reason I’m saving this for the end is that many people are uncomfortable to go off the wall and many bosses are uncomfortable by off the wall messages and sometimes the customer will not like an off the wall message. BUT, off the wall messages will be talked about the most. “Hi. I am probably here; I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.”

My message? Always off the wall. My present cellular phone message is: “Hi, this is Jeffrey. I wish I could talk to you but I can’t. Please leave your American Express card number with expiration date and I’ll get right back to you.” Now this may seem somewhat crazy to you but three people a day leave their American Express number. It’s fun, it’s memorable, and it’s non-offensive.

Four more rules:
1. Make the message short. 35 words maximum.
2. Script it. Rehearse it. Then record it.
3. Change the message often. Weekly is best.
4. Listen to the comments carefully – they will tell you how good your message is or isn’t.

If you claim to be different from your competition, a GREAT place to start is your recorded message.

Jeffrey Gitomer is author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to

2003 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer