Spicing Up Your Voicemail Greeting

“Thank you for calling. Today is Monday, March 17th. I’ll be in meetings all morning and… blah, blah, blah…” Voice mail is one of those “conveniences” most people love to hate. They hate recording an outbound greeting, and they hate leaving inbound messages. But using voice mail doesn’t have to be as painful as a root canal without the anesthetic. Here are four ways to make your voice mail fun, memorable, and a better marketing tool…

voicemail greetingEducate your customers. No, that doesn’t mean telling them you’re either on the phone or away from your desk. And it doesn’t mean letting them know what day of the week it is. Instead, try sharing a useful tip relating to your products or services. Let customers know how you can help improve their bottom line. Update the message frequently, with new and different advice.
voicemail greeting Inspire them. Start your message with a daily quote or quick anecdote that’s enlightening and inspiring. Your customers will appreciate the daily lift and might even encourage their colleagues (your potential customers) to call and hear the message, too.
voicemail greeting Involve them. Ask one or two of your best customers if they would be willing to record a brief testimonial to use on your voice mail message. The customers who provide the testimonials will enjoy the experience and probably encourage their peers to call and hear it. Your other customers and prospects will hear the testimonials and know they’re in good hands trusting you.
voicemail greeting Entertain them. Add a spark of humor to your voice mail message. Offer a “celebrity” endorsement, if you’re good with impersonations… or even if you’re not so good with them. (Robert DeNiro from Taxi Driver: “You talkin’ to me? You must be talkin’ to me, because Phil isn’t here right now.”) Poke some gentle fun at yourself. (In a harried voice: “The ringing. I hear the ringing… then the voices. Always the voices.” Second voice: “Hi, this is Gene’s psychiatrist. He can’t take your call right now…”) Share a humorous anecdote or (clean) joke of the day. Have fun with your voice mail message, and make it a treat for customers who call and cannot reach you.

Create the Need

John Patterson, known as the father of American salesmanship, is responsible for many of the modern sales practices used today. His work with the National Cash Register Company (NCR) changed the way salespeople think about marketing and selling their products. In his book entitled The Patterson Principles of Selling, modern sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer unpacks some of Patterson’s most powerful tactics.

selling machine
Patterson’s greatest sales accomplishment didn’t lie in selling cash registers, but in creating a demand for his product. He knew that sparking a desire would increase demand, and he focused his sales and marketing efforts on convincing consumers of the importance of obtaining a sales receipt. When consumers began to ask for a receipt from store clerks, the store managers felt obligated to purchase a cash register that would produce such receipts, and Patterson was poised to sell them one of his machines.

The same can be done in your business. Gitomer says in his book, “You must create a balance between the emotion to trigger the sale, and the logic to justify the purchase.” What is one thing your company could do to create a demand for your products or services?

Take a Lesson from Disney

If you visit any one of the Disney Corporation’s facilities, you have experienced a phenomenon they call “Onstage and Backstage.” It’s quite a simple concept, and one that Disney has definitely perfected. The “Onstage” area refers to anywhere that guests may roam freely, while “Backstage” is where the cast members (employees) travel from one part of the park to another, take “Disney-free” breaks, and get into costume. For Disney, the separation between onstage and backstage is essential in maintaining the magical feel of their facilities.

Your company most likely has a similar onstage (customer area) and backstage (production area) structure. And while your employees may not use your “backstage” area to don their Mickey or Minnie Mouse costumes, there are things that go on behind the scenes that most of your customers are not privileged to see.

man and women in Disney
That is, of course, unless you offer to take your customers on a tour of your facility. At most Disney facilities, visitors can take a ride backstage to see some of the inner workings of the magical world. The same can be done at your business. Allowing your customers a peek at the inner workings of your company and introducing them to your staff will improve your relationship with them. And, showing them any impressive machinery or workflow systems you have in place will increase their confidence in the work you do for them.

Take a lesson from the Disney Corporation and see what kind of response you get from offering backstage tours of your company. You may be surprised to see how many people would be interested in getting to know your company better, and the effect their knowledge can have on furthering your relationship with them.

Developing the Ultimate Sales TIP

What exactly is a TIP, and how does it work? In his book Getting the Second Appointment, author Anthony Parinello describes this sales weapon as, “a tool that helps you to eliminate individuals and organizations that are likely to waste your time.” TIP stands for Template of Ideal Prospects, and it works to qualify your sales leads by comparing your current prospects to the qualities you see in your top current customers.

Here’s how you can create your own TIP sheet:

  • Take your company’s current customer list and study it very closely. You may need to break the list down into sub-groups, industries or niches in order to get the best understanding of what lies at the core of each company.
  • Ask yourself: What do my company’s best, biggest, and most profitable current customers have in common? Then write down your answers this question for each top current customers, being very detailed and deliberate about what you record.
  • Develop a worksheet that lists these common factors, along with a way to record whether your prospective customer meets that criteria (see sample TIP sheet below). The longer the list of common factors, the more accurately and completely you will be able to prequalify your prospects.

sales tip

Once you have created your TIP sheet, you can begin filling it out for your prospects. In the beginning, it is best to only spend your energy pursuing the prospects that meet all of your criteria. Remember, the criteria you have established was gathered from your top current customers, and offers a reflection of the type of companies you want to do business with. Don’t compromise on what you deem to be most important.

If you have been wasting your time tracking down lukewarm leads and prospects, this TIP sheet is sure to give you a fresh perspective on landing hot sales.

Eye-Stopping Headlines

If you want to get prospective customers excited about doing business with your company, creating eye-stopping, mind-grabbing headlines is a great way to do it! While the content of an advertisement is helpful for relaying information about your company’s products or services, it’s the headline that creates the initial relationship with the reader, and entices them to read about what your company has to offer. Here are six types of headlines that will boost inquiries about your company:

1.) The problem/solution headline. Readers are looking for products and services that will make their lives easier. By writing a headline that poses a problem many readers may have, and offers the solution your company can provide, you have created a situation that will most likely encourage the reader to take a look at the remainder of your advertisement.


2.) The historical event headline. If there is something newsworthy about your product or service, such as it is the world-premiere, or a limited-time offer, it can prove to be an effective draw.


3.) The testimonial. Providing a testimony from a person that has used your product or service encourages prospective customers to think, “If it worked for him, it can work for me, too!”


4.) Product claims. Include statistics and percentages in your headline to increase a product’s credibility. It is important to credit the source of the information you use because it gives your prospective customers a piece of mind about using your product. Even if the source is not well-known by the public, it should be included.


5.) Outrageous statements. The purpose of writing a headline is to provoke curiosity in your readers – making an outrageous statement relating to your product or service will almost force your readers to see what you have to say.


6.) Questions. Posing a question to your readers allows them to take an active role in your advertisement. The key is asking a question that most people will feel compelled to answer because it is relevant to their lives. People will naturally want to know what their answer to the question has to do with your products or services, and will continue reading your ad to discover what your company can do for them.


Headlines are a key component to successful advertising. Creating intriguing headlines will revolutionize your advertising and will have a great affect on your company’s success.

Go Where the Money Is

Are you wasting your time, money, and enthusiasm on people who sincerely aren’t interested in what you have to offer? Instead of looking for suspects who may have the capacity to buy your product or service some day down the road, start seeking prospects who are qualified to do so today. In other words, go where the money is. Here are some tips on how to find prime, qualified targets today:

  • list of clientsBuild a strong client list of names, addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers by placing customers on a preferred client mailing and announcement list. After requesting to add them to your client list, be sure to follow through and make formal announcements once you compile your client list.
woman surfing the net
  • Use the Internet to search for other industries that have a similar target audience (those who are complementary versus competitive with your business). When you determine which other businesses would also sell to your client, contact them and offer to share or trade prospect names with them.
  • customersDon’t limit your prospecting simply to previous or current customers. A large number of high-quality prospects and leads can be turned into profitable clients through regular and strategic communication with them.
  • Avoid general advertisements, letters, or promotions. Always make sure that your offers refer to a specific product or service. This way, readers with strong interests can easily qualify themselves and take advantage of your offer.
  • shake handsAlways focus your efforts on the markets, prospects, and activities that offer you the highest probability of a payoff. The less energy you waste on suspects, the more you have left for big, rewarding prospects.


Newsletters Are a Fun Way to Keep In Touch With Customers and Prospects

Newsletters have become one of the most popular ways for companies to keep in touch with their customers. A well-written, interesting newsletter can establish expertise and credibility, inform and educate, as well as increase sales and influence positive word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some tried and true newsletter do’s and don’ts:

newslettersPeople Like:

  • Interesting subjects
  • Short articles
  • Good visuals
  • Easy-to-skim designs
  • Bulleted lists
  • Content telling how to make money, save time
  • Clear organization
  • Calendars
  • Offers, benefits

People Don’t Like:

  • Intimidating pages
  • Disorganized information
  • Long, continuing articles
  • Overly frequent mailings
  • Irrelevant content
  • Impersonal tone
  • Receiving multiple copies
  • Chaotic page design
  • Too many pages

If you’re looking for unique ideas or expert advice on how to create a newsletter, or simply spice up your current newsletter, stop by our print shop. Not only can we provide you with inspiring ideas and printed examples; we can also help you create a powerful newsletter that will boost sales and stay within your company’s budget.

Focus Check — Focus on the “Buy”

Some marketing experts recommend that in creating a direct mail program, you should devote half your time to creating the reply form. Most clients are surprised, if not shocked, when they hear this very revealing rule. The rule is revealing because it suggests that most marketers spend too much effort on the sale and too little on the “buy.”

try it before you buyThink how often you have been virtually sold on something, but chose not to make the purchase because it was too hard to buy. The salesperson offered all sorts of options, for example, or made you worry about the value of an extended warranty. Perhaps they offered more complicated financing packages than you could intelligently choose among. The product was too hard to buy. Now, think of your opposite experiences. Something appealed to you a little, not necessarily a lot and the ease with which you could order, pay for, and receive the product ultimately led you to make the purchase.

Good marketing must focus on the buy. How clear is your offer? Can the prospects sample the service, thereby reducing their risk? How clear is the price? How easy is it to buy?

Save your customers some hassle and make your product easy to buy.

Guerrilla Marketing’s Golden Rule #6

A customer is a very special person. Of the billions of people on planet Earth, only a tiny fraction have chosen to do business with you. They have selected your business on purpose. It is your constant obligation – though it should be a pleasure – to do what you can to improve the lives of these people: with valuable advice, reduced prices, and reviews of new products and services. The only way to do this is by staying in touch.

Customer reverence is felt by the heart and planned by the mind. Show your customer how much you appreciate them by sending:

  1. A thank-you note within 48 hours of each purchase, although 24 hours is more impressive and memorable. Anyone can send a thank-you note. Guerrillas do it ASAP.
  2. An offer of an item related to their purchase, tendered about 30 days after the purchase. The offer can be for a product or service.
  3. A questionnaire. Send each new customer a questionnaire to learn more about them and their interests.
  4. A birthday card. Use the questionnaire mentioned above to learn each customer’s birthday — month and day, not year. Then, send them a card when their birthday rolls around. Later, you can expand this tactic by sending graduation cards to the customer’s kids, anniversary cards to the customer and spouse, and postcards from your next vacation. Don’t overwhelm your customers, but continue to acknowledge their existence.
  5. A newsletter, sent monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. If it’s created with customer reverence in mind, it will give more than it asks, provide valuable free information, and still make offers to sell something.
  6. A catalogue of your offerings, sent only to customers or sent first to customers, then to prospects, postcardsif your customer list isn’t long enough. Customers will especially appreciate a catalogue that clearly communicates it is for customers only.
  7. A fact-of-interest postcard, sent in the purest sense of customer reverence. Give data that can help your customer, without trying to sell anything. Keep it brief, and customers will actually look forward to your mailings — a dream world for most, but the standard situation for guerrillas.

Here are some of the more popular and creative ways to use postcards:

  • Thank you cards… have a picture of your business or organization printed on the front.
  • New product announcements… place a picture of the product on the front.
  • New employee announcements… feature the new employee’s picture on the front, with their contact information on the back.
  • Card pack inserts.
  • Customer follow-up mailings designed to create loyalty.
  • Low-cost direct mail marketing.

If you don’t stay in contact with your customers, somebody else may win them away from you. By constantly fanning the flames of love and loyalty, you will prove beyond any words that you revere your customers, while at the same time safeguarding against apathy.

Secrets of Power Presentations

Maintaining Their Attention
Getting your audience’s attention is only the first step to a successful presentation. Once you’ve captured their attention, your next challenge is maintaining it. Typically, adults have short attention spans that shift constantly. Here are some tips to help you out.investment education

  • Provide handouts that outline your presentation. Ask your printer to use a heavier, 60 lb. paper if you have copy on both sides of the page. It will prevent a distracting show-through of your copy on the backside of the sheet.
  • Use colorful overhead transparencies with bold colors and large type. Use no more than seven words per line and seven lines per overhead. Letters should be one-fourth of an inch high and limited to one or two typestyles and no more than three colors.
  • To increase interest and keep people a little more alert, pass out one or two handouts during odd times of the presentation. Color photocopies of a product or graph are always effective, as are mini-catalogs, brochures, or postcards that contain your website address and contact information.