A Short Message (Issue 521)

in which we are reminded that, when leaving messages with prospects’ assistants or team members, short and clear are the way.

Clarity’s Office Manager caught me in the hall last week:

“Bill Smith from Assabet Advisors called. He left his number. Do you want to talk to him? ”

“Why did he call?” I wondered.

“Something about his firm helping companies with their benefits programs. I don’t know. He said he wanted to speak with you, he didn’t want to talk to me.”

“Okay,” I said, “well, that was a mistake. If he calls back again, ask him for something specific.”

And I’m sharing this story because…

Much as we would all prefer to engage decision-makers directly so we can establish  personal rapport and begin meaningful dialog, most decision makers are busy and they don’t talk to strangers.

So, at Clarity, absent an introduction from someone I know, the first job for sales people who seek appointments with me (Clarity’s decision maker)  is to tell our office manager why they are calling  so she can repeat it to me or write it – simple, clear, and short – on a message slip.

For example, Bill’s message could have been, “Reduce or reverse health insurance premium increases for consulting firms.”

These few words would have clearly communicated Bill’s  “unique selling proposition.” Words like “reverse” and “consulting firms” would have caught my eye.

Even better, three to five word descriptions like  “Reduce health insurance premiums,”  “increase daily operating cash,” or  “reduce book keeping costs”  fit easily on message slips and transmit the points so that decision-makers can decide instantly whether and how they want to pursue further conversation.

We, like Bill, can offer much more than whatever we choose as our entry unique selling proposition and we have to start somewhere.

The prospects may not be interested in the specific selling proposition we give.  So, when we call back the next time (if we’ve still been unable to get an introduction or a referral), we leave a different message, and then a different message the next time, and a different one the time after that… each of them a unique selling proposition… each of them clear, simple, and short.

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