We are part of other people's noise.
The world today leaves us constantly bombarded with incoming information and inquiries. It has reached a point where most just ignore everything because there are so many choices that it is impossible to dedicate the amount of time necessary to become informed. Even a trip to Starbucks yields over 19.000 beverage choices, but most people always order the same thing on each visit.
I recently saw a presentation by Jill Konrath (author of "Selling to Big Companies" and "Snap Selling"). She facilitated an exercise with the audience where 12 people came to the microphone and pretended to leave her a voicemail. When she became bored she screamed "DELETE". Only one person from the sample of sales and marketing professionals had their message "SAVED" in her example.
The live laboratory for voicemail messaging was a great experience. We all think we have important things to tell our clients and prospects, but we forget that we are just part of the noise. They are distracted and if we do not gain their attention we get nowhere.
It is difficult to stand out from the crowd (and not just when leaving phone messages or sending emails). To be successful we must walk a mile in the shoes of the people we are trying to reach. Often I find people that are rude as hell to others, never return calls, jump to conclusions, and are totally emerged in their own "stuff".... and then cannot understand why others do not respond to them. Ummmmm..... Hello! Why do we see our own lives as busy and assume others are just waiting to hear from us?
To get noticed you must do a series of things that make you interesting to others. Scott Ginsberg ("The Nametag Guy") calls it being "Call-back-able". The successful cultivate a well rounded reputation and brand that positions them as part of a solution. You cannot expect any one marketing effort to be the magic bullet. Instead you must create a program of "Integrated Visibility" so that your cold-calls are not actually cold.
This can be even harder for "Solo-Entrepreneurs". Many professionals have hung out their own shingles in the last few years offering services on their own that they used to provide as part of a larger firm. Their experience in their previous careers came with large sales and marketing departments with established brand recognition. They are often surprised to start on their own to find that seemingly nice people do not return phone calls and emails.
When call-backs do not occur, people give up. When you quit on sales and marketing... you come up short on new business development. If you get no new customers, you fail to make money. End of game. Thus the stakes are high to create a visible presence and grow your business.
If you left a voicemail and it got deleted you are not alone. Do not let it discourage you. People are busy and they are not interested in what they are not interested in. Look from their point of view. Are you a "must have service", and "nice to have service" or a "what is that service"?
Discover how make yourself more interesting then you will get your calls returned.
Have A Great Day.
See the follow-up post "I Got Your Voicemail... And Called You Back" on the July 3, 2011 blog post on The Some Assembly Required Blog.