Be a Voicemail Genuis: Applying the concepts of deliberate practice.

Posted on Jul 19, 2012

by Donato Diorio

What is the secret to sales dominance? Yep, that’s right. Lots of practice.

 Mobile Phone Voicemail Icon

This bit of wisdom applies to every area of our lives – as most of us know by this point in our careers. Any real success has been the result of doing it over and over again. However, all too often we get stuck in a rut and start doing the same thing again and again, yet expecting different results – and that’s insane.

In the buzzworthy book, Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin, the steps of a specific type of practice designed to improve performance have been laid out. Colvin calls it deliberate practice. We call it being deliberate…mindful down to the most ridiculous level possible. Yes, a reduction to the ridiculous. Sometimes you must go to an extreme to initiate change. If you want to improve your voicemail performance, then you had better get deliberate in your practice. This means creating a highly structured practice routine that offers ample opportunity for high repetition and immediate feedback.

Know what you want to achieve

Becoming a voicemail genius means knowing the differences between a great voicemail, an average voicemail, and a terrible voicemail. Approach voicemails with a scientific outlook: listen to every voicemail you get and score it using our Voicemail Scoring System. The Voicemail Scoring System is available to anyone who signs up for our monthly newsletter. Save the highest rated and isolate key elements you want to emulate.

Practice Directly

Practice your voicemail message over and over. Let someone listen to your voicemail, or record it. Are you a manager? Record your team so you do not get caught in disputes over what was actually said. If your voicemail sounds like one you would delete, then it needs work. Separate those elements that require improvement, and then focus on one at a time until perfect voicemails become second-nature.

Practice in the game

This consists of three phases: before, during, and after.

  • Before you make any calls, start with setting a goal for your voicemails that day. Will you be working on your tone? Your passion? The length of the message? Whatever it is, decide how to accomplish that goal by developing specific, technique-oriented plans.
  • During voicemails top performers focus on their execution, at the same time as completing the work. This process, called metacognition, works by mentally observing your own process from the outside. Develop this skill and you will be able to react to changing conditions quickly -in addition to improving your voicemail skills.
  • After each voicemail evaluate your performance. Most voicemail systems provide the option of listening to the voicemail you just left. Listen to the recording – it will not lie! The recording gives you the most specific feedback on what you can improve. Doing this as much as possible will improve your voicemail performance more than anything else you can do.

Following the steps above to improve my own voicemail performance led to my developing Broadlook’s newest webinar, “Voicemail as a Science.” The response to our first offering was enthusiastic and we will be offering it again May 9th. Register now. In the meantime here are some of my top voicemail tips to get you started:

  • Leave your telephone number twice and say it in two different ways in order to ensure understanding. People who grew up in different places attenuate to different accent. For example, someone who grew up in New York would hear the number perfectly while someone who grew up in the South would not. Leaving the number twice in different ways helps everyone hear it. It would go something like this, “Call me back at 8-7-7-9-7-7-8-0-8-0. Again that is 8-7-7-9-77-80-80.
  • Use bullet points instead of scripts. Scripts cause you to sound wooden while bullet points ensure that you get across everything important without sounding like a robot.
  • Use the person’s name often. People pay attention when their name has been said. After all, they have been paying attention to their own name their whole life. If you want to get someone’s attention, use their name.
  • Have a sticky ending message. One of my employees always says, “Make it a great day” at the end of her voicemails and emails. If you create your own message, it becomes part of your personal brand and increases your memorability.

  • Sign up for our monthly newsletter to access our Voicemail Scoring System