Anyone in sales can probably agree that leaving dozens of voicemails a day that are never returned is the most frustrating part of automotive phone sales. The average voicemail return rate is 4.8 % and sales reps spend about 15% of their time leaving voicemails so it’s hard to blame people for throwing their hands up and skipping it altogether, but when it is used properly, it can be an effective way to encourage contact and is a necessary part of sending a unified branding message to potential customers. Here are 5 tips that will get YOUR phone ringing.
This is going to seem impossible at first, but it is critical to effective voicemail strategy. If a customer looks at their phone and sees a 10-second message they are more likely to listen to it because it is such a negligible amount of time. Every 10-seconds you add on top of that chips away at the customers likelihood to listen. Keep in mind that the point of leaving this message is to encourage the customer to return (or at the very least accept) your call and the benefit of the voicemail is hearing your warm inviting tone relaying useful (to the customer) information.
Keeping the message shorter doesn't mean speaking faster. Be more selective with the information you include in the message. A first name, job title, dealership name, a little bit of intrigue or a question FROM you and confirmation that you will be calling again will do. Do not answer questions, or confirm vehicle availability within a voicemail. Those tactics work against you, and remove any reasoning the customer would have had to return your call. There is no need to repeat yourself, since this is such a short message the customer can quickly replay it if they feel compelled to hunt down a writing instrument and paper in order to write something down, with their hand, that they will probably lose the second they turn away from it.
Speaking of things people who listen to voicemails absolutely never do; it’s ok to skip the dealership's main phone number within a voicemail. The likelihood of the customer taking the time to write it down is very low, while the likelihood that they will never lay eyes on that piece of paper again are very high, plus leaving a phone number can take 4 to 5 seconds, that's nearly half of the entire message. Now, if there is a phone number the customer can dial that you and only you answer, that is fine to leave for them as well as an extension number, no need to repeat it, just speak clearly and enunciate.
Instead of “thanking” at the end of a voicemail, let them know you will be calling again later. At the end of the day, that can end up being the true motivator for the customer to return your call now as opposed to waiting for the ominous ‘later’ to occur. Ending all calls (live and voicemail) by telling the customer exactly what you expect to happen next time you speak will relieve some of the inevitable anxiety car shoppers tend to have of talking to salespeople.
Once you hang up the phone after leaving a voicemail, fire off a text or email with the exact same message you left. Don’t add or omit anything and use the subject line: That was me who just called”. Why even bother with the voicemail you wonder?
In the intro to this blog, I mention how voicemail is a necessary part of sending a unified branded message. Car shoppers shop multiple dealers at once online and end up getting 3 to 4 calls and 5 to 7 emails a day from different dealerships, so it is important to align voicemails coming from you with emails coming from you. That’s also why it's important to keep the message the same when mixing communication media. Text response rates are higher than voicemails response rates, but you have a better chance of setting an appointment with a customer speaking over the phone than you do by text or email. Texting is best used to complement rather than replace phone contact.