Thursday, December 17, 2015
Why No One Returns Your Call
I can’t tell you how many times I listen to my office voice messages and have to replay them several times just so I can properly take note of the phone number a caller is leaving. Often I can’t catch their full name or any other details. No, I don’t need my hearing checked nor do I need a new voicemail system. People need to slow down and speak clearly when leaving a message. Remember this when you contact others to promote or market your book.
Some people do the right thing. They leave a short message but speak in a clear voice and state their information at the right pace. They present things in a logical order:
“I’m so and so and I’m calling because of blah blah. Please call me at (state the number and then repeat at) – and the best times to reach me are between blank and blank (tell me what city or time zone you’re in).”
Anything short of that is a waste of time and can be frustrating for the recipient of a message who is left to translate as if learning Mandarin.
Cellphones make it worse, because callers dial me from places with bad reception and noisy backgrounds. I would say one out of every 9 or 10 messages that I receive just gets deleted because it’s inaudible or too frustrating to make out its details.
Think about it. When you call the media or a store or people you want to market your book to, they only want key information – name, number, and reason for the call – and they don’t want you going on and on without getting to the point. If you leave a long message with the phone number garbled at the end, don’t expect a call back!
When calling someone, our first goal is to reach them and have a conversation. But if you get their voicemail, dial zero, and see if an operator can page them. If you get thrown back into voicemail, press zero again and ask what time so and so is usually around. Call back then. If you still get voicemail, leave a message.
The message has to give them an incentive to call back. What do you offer that they will want? Whatever you present to them, leave a clear message or you’ll be left wondering why no one calls you back!
Other tips to leaving messages:
1. Don’t cough loudly or clear your voice while speaking.
2. Make sure the background is quiet – turn the TV off, lock your barking dog up, send the kids away, and don’t call from a windy street.
3. If you have an accent, speak slowly.
4. Give enough information so they understand what the call is about but don’t go into great detail.
5. Sound energetic, optimistic, and confident. If you sound tired, angry, depressed or anxious the recipient will want to turn the other way.
6. Don’t make off-color jokes or any crazy Trump-like pronouncements unless it’s somehow relevant.
7. Where possible, personalize the message. If you’re calling about a book on adoption and you know the person you’re calling was adopted and can relate, feel free to make a connection.
8. Don’t act as if there’s no urgency. Give them a sense that things are happening and that they should call back soon.
9. Be polite and courteous, but don’t sound nervous or intimidated.
2016 Book Marketing & Book Publicity Toolkit