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Leaving Answering machine Messages

June 23rd, 2009 Christy

To Leave or Not to Leave a Message????

A friend of mine was disappointed in his conversion statistics on a debt settlement lead campaign; he shared his report and regret with me then asked my option of the debt settlement lead quality…

In my opinion I can see why he is disappointed, in his report he has “not interested” people and I guess more than a few “not qualified” people; I don’t know why they are not qualified, I thought that was weird, but I guess they are reaching some people. The leads not contacted received between 1 and 3 answering machine messages (over half of the leads). On a positive note, there are no big red flags that the leads are bogus or over sold or otherwise collectivized. They are targeted and phone verified and appear to be solid other than his lack of sales.

My knee jerk reaction was to send him an e-mail stating that “I’m surprised you are leaving that many voice mails. I think that’s going to kill your contact ratio and therefore the conversion ratio as well”.

He said: “I have not heard that leaving messages kills contact ratios………..I do think that dialing during the day to “catch them is smarter” but leaving a voice mail ONCE per day is wise so they can call back.”

With this said I decided to share my thoughts on the blog. Here is my feedback to him regarding messages. Please weigh in with your opinions and suggestions.

Historically leaving messages is really not recommended because the consumer now knows what the call is about and they can make up their own mind about what to do about the call. The consumer will begin to procrastinate calling back and think of all reasons why they will ‘take care of this later’, “there must be a catch”, “I’m not ready” or a myriad of other reasons to delay acting on the message that was left for them.  More times than not consumers put off taking care of their debt which is  a primary reason they are in trouble to begin with. Essentially leaving a message takes the sales person out of the equation; leaving a message means there is no one their to overcome objections, explain the benefits of the program,  or urge the consumer to finally make the move to become debt free. All successful sales require the sales person to control the conversation and lead the consumer to the sale; leaving messages puts 100% of the control in the consumers hands and further increases the chance of the consumer screening a call on a recognized number upon the next contact attempt. In my eyes it truly does kill the contact ratio. Not leaving messages actually incites more return calls from caller id. A good receptionist trained for this will hot transfer leads throughout the day.

To further make my point:

There is a golden rule about calling on leads; 3 things immediately happen in the consumer’s mind when they realize they are getting a call  from a ‘sales’ person 1. “What does this person want from me?” 2. “How much is this going to cost or obligate me?” and 3. “What if I do buy into this offer?”. This happens in the mind of ever consumer in every ‘sales’ call every time … this must be overcome before sale is made. To leave phone messages leaves the consumer with too much information, to much control, and a fearful attitude towards returning a call. Again, just my opinion, but I guess I feel pretty strong about it.

This particular buyer (friend of mine) may have had some luck leaving messages if they only deal with SEO generated leads because his leads are of consumers searching for debt help and actively looking for solutions. However, personally,  I would still refrain from leaving messages until I’ve tried to contact the lead several times and even then I would probably have to think about leaving a message. E-mail leads may be slightly more of an impulse  lead since the consumer is responding to an ad or a personalized e-mail and not particularly online specifically trying to rid themselves of debt; however I am mixing in some SEO leads. The closing ratio should still be good, but a tactical approach geared towards marketing method is always beneficial. If the advice is welcomed I would recommend taking my feedback into consideration and perhaps even a better cost per lead to pass on to your client to compensate for the difference between a search engine lead and a e-mail generated lead.

Well that’s my two cents (maybe 4 cents???).  I hope I didn’t push my will too much onto the greater debt universe. I know many of you have a lot of experience working debt leads yourself  ;)

-Christy

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