Contrary to popular belief, phone calls are still a crucial business engagement tool. In fact, according to the 2018 Autotrader Car Buyer Survey, the second most popular point of contact between customers and dealers is through a phone call. While customers are increasingly using digital tools during the car buying process, individuals still like to have personal interactions with auto dealers. Salesforce found that 92 percent of all customer interactions happen on the phone.

So, customers still want to speak to an actual person. However, what happens if they do not answer the phone when you call back or make the initial outreach? These situations are where the importance of voicemail comes into play. According to recent stats, 80 percent of sales calls go to voicemail, and 90 percent of first-time voicemails go unreturned. So, how can you overcome these stats to optimize your voicemail strategy to improve your lead generation efforts and increase engagement?

Whether you use a large BDC team or a small group of representatives and staff, your voicemail strategy can help you improve your lead generation efforts. So, read on for our tips below to optimize your voicemail scripting and outreach: 

Be Specific and Tailor Your Message to the Buyer 

This situation is not a time to directly read from a general voicemail script. Phone calls are personal, and your voicemail messaging should reflect this. So, take the time to be specific about what you are seeking from customers. For example, if you know a customer signed up to participate in a test drive and never showed up, reference this event. Call to ask if they would like to set up another appointment and encourage them to ask any lingering questions they might have. Provide value and discuss what they need from you. 

Remember That Tone is Critical 

Your tone is 86 percent of your communication, so always ensure you and your staff have the best energy possible when leaving a voicemail message. Think about the type of vibe you would want from someone leaving a sales or inquiry message on your phone. You would want them to be friendly, engaging, and helpful. So, ensure that you and your staff have a tone that embodies these characteristics when you call customers and potential leads. 

Have a Script, but Be Flexible

It helps to have a script to address the various reasons you would call a potential or existing customer. Doing so will ensure you hit all the points you need to while also being able to train a team member on what to say quickly. However, your script should be used as a loose outline or guideline of the main points to address. A customer should never feel that you or your staff are reading from a script. So instead of writing out what you—or your team— will say in paragraph form, use bullet points to highlight relevant subjects to prevent the temptation to read directly from a script. Bullet points make it easier to deviate when necessary or add in more personal touches. 

Keep It Short voicemails

You don’t have much time to capture the attention of a potential customer, so instead of leaving a long voicemail, keep it between 20 to 30 seconds. This range should give you enough time to say all you need to while preventing yourself from providing information they don’t need. Remember, potential customers are likely listening to this message before or after work, and are running on limited time. So, be intentional with every word and phrase you choose. 

Make It a Cross-Channel Experience 

While phone calls are excellent tools for initial engagement, they can be even more effective when coupled with another form of marketing media. For example, mention other interactions you have had with them. Remind them about how they sent a message to your dealership on Facebook, or that you also emailed them regarding a form submission. Show the cohesion between your marketing platforms, and let them know how you both have interacted or communicated with one another using other marketing channels. 

Track Your Voicemails 

Before you even begin to create a voicemail template or script, you need to create a CRM. A CRM (customer relationship management system) allows you to track your relationships and interactions with customers. So, each time you leave a voicemail or make a follow-up call, you should be entering this information into the user’s profile on your CRM. All employees should be instructed to do the same. This action will prevent individuals from frequently calling the same person, and will ensure customers do not fall through the cracks. It will also help you understand if your voicemail strategy is producing results. 

Final Thoughts 

While a lot of talk about personal engagement centers on phone calls and walk-ins, voicemail often gets left by the wayside. A clear and compelling voicemail could be the difference between a customer calling back or refusing to interact with your company again. This reason is why it is crucial to have a voicemail marketing strategy that can optimize your lead generation efforts. Creating an engaging script, monitoring your tone, tracking interactions, and involving other channels can help you turn a voicemail message into a phone conversation. 

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