Do you look at the messages you leave as marketing opportunities? Sometimes it's just about being a little creative with the message. Be mysterious, be fun, be enticing and, most of all, give the potential customer a reason to call you back. Here are two examples that worked particularly well on me. I came home to this message on my answering machine:
"Hello Mr. Griffiths, it's Harry Smith here from Amazonia restaurant. I notice that you dine here quite often with clients. I imagine you would like to save some money. I can make it so that whenever you dine or entertain you get a 50 percent discount on your bill. I assume this would be appealing, so can you give me a call back when you have a moment? It will only take a few minutes to organize. Thanks very much for your business and your time. My number is..."
I rang back immediately. I found out Harry was selling a loyalty card that would cost $200 a year and save me 50 percent on my food and beverage bills whenever I dined at this restaurant, or at many others in the same network around the world. Did I buy it? Of course.
Countless hotel loyalty program telemarketers have tracked me down and tried to sell me similar products. I never had an overwhelming desire to call them back, because I never really believed in what they were trying to sell me.
This chap was very smart, very effective. He told me he made 90 percent of his sales from leaving messages and that, in fact, he preferred to leave messages because he knew that if someone rang back they were already interested, they were ringing at a time convenient for them, and even though they didn't necessarily know what the product was, they were halfway there because they already wanted the savings.
Harry's was a very clever, simple, and unorthodox approach to telemarketing. In my mind, the way of the future. Here is another example of an effective message left on my machine:
"Hello Mr. Griffiths, Jennifer Aitken here. I have just spoken to one of your neighbors and I managed to save them $1000 a year on their phone bill, in about three minutes. I thought you might be interested in hearing about the same opportunity. If you are, please give me a call. I'm sure it will be the easiest and fastest $1000 you will make, and don't we all need that? My number is... "
Again, this message is creative and clever. Jennifer developed credibility by mentioning one of my neighbors (which could be anyone in the city, of course), she got my attention by talking about a large savings that would only take a couple of minutes to sort out, and then she connected with me by saying how we all want and need to save money. Did I ring her back? Absolutely.
So don't get hung up about answering machines or message banks. Get creative, think about your message, and make the answering machine (or message bank) your new best friend. Come up with a message that people have to respond to because it is so enticing and powerful.