Your Next Client Could be a Return Call Away

Why voicemail should not be ignored.

CallMePeople contacting me to work with them on their project sometimes make the initial connection by giving me a call. When I’m in a studio session with a client or away from my desk, my voicemail takes a message.

When a client (or prospect) calls you, how soon after do you return their call?

  • Immediately
  • Within a few hours
  • The end of the day
  • Sometime the following day
  • When you get around to it
  • Never

There are many talented people available for hire, so why provide an opportunity for a talent seeker to look elsewhere?

My response time and the effort I make to get back with potential clients is key in getting their business. If I wait too long, I can predict that my chances have been reduced. I don’t like that.

In my blog post, Eight Ideas to Help You Wade Through Inbox Muck, I explained steps to be less of a slave to your inbox. I mentioned that your clients should have multiple ways of contacting you, the most immediate being the phone.

I’ve come up with a method of working with phone calls that’s successful. It has been a learning process and I’m sure there is room for tweaking.

I’m surprised at the number of times when the person I called back was not expecting my call so soon. I know I’ve done the right thing when the person I’m calling back is surprised (and pleased) by the timeliness of my call.

Phone tag is not a legitimate sport.

  • Leave a message indicating who you are, why you are calling, your call back number and e-mail address.
  • Make sure to leave an exact time when you can be reached—a time when you know you will be available to take the call.

What Your Caller Receives

Set expectations with your voicemail. “I’m not available now, but will return your call by the end of today. If you prefer, please send me an e-mail at myemail@address.com.”

Pay Attention to Caller Details

When listening to a caller’s voicemail, take note of their name, business name, any details about their project and their call back instructions. Do not automatically grab their phone number from the caller ID history. Often they are calling from a trunk or office that supports multiple phones but displays only the main number for call ID purposes.

The Return Call – Attempt 1

I make it a point to call whoever has left a message soon. This doesn’t mean that I push other client responsibilities aside. It means that I’m aware of the call, I’ve made a note to return the call and decided the best time to do it. Don’t leave the person waiting.

The return call can be short. When you’re pressed for time, explain that you’d like to talk when they’ll have your full attention. Maybe later in the day, or during a time that you’ve set aside to do call backs. I schedule time for return and followup calls everyday. When I don’t have calls to make, the time is absorbed into another task.

If you return the call and you end up leaving voicemail, make sure to include a message with your callback number. Include a good time for them to contact you. Show them that you’re interested.

Let them know that you’ll call again, if you don’t hear from them, at a time that makes sense to call back. “If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll go ahead and give you another call at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning.”

The Return Call – Attempt 2

You’ve made your first try to contact the person who wants to work with you only to have left a message on their voicemail. They haven’t called you back either.

Make sure to call back at the time you mentioned in your message. If you didn’t leave a call back time, try to call them at approximately the same time they called you. Chances are they’re available.

When you get their voicemail again, leave a message indicating your interest in working with them and if you haven’t heard from them, you’ll call back the next day, in the morning. A good suggested time is 9:00 AM their time.

The Return Call – Attempt 3

This will be the third time you’ve tried to complete the connection with the person who’s interested in hiring you.

It’s been two days since their initial call and you’re starting to feel a bit frustrated. Don’t. During this call back, if you are left with another opportunity to leave voice mail, do what you’ve done in the previous attempts.

After the third try, wait until the following week, 5 business days, to try again. A number of things could be going on with the prospect and now you need to provide some breathing room.

Realistically, you know that the business moves so fast these days, that job is long gone.  Probably so.  But, maybe not.  At least let the client know you are interested and follow up.

After all, there may be reasons why the gig got delayed.  Also, focus on the positive. The caller did consider you for new work and you want to make sure they continue to do so.

The End Game

So, the following week, place two calls. One in the afternoon on one day. One in the morning on the second day.

Mondays are frantic for most people, so unless the caller requested that you return their call on Monday, I recommend waiting until Tuesday.

Then follow the second call on Thursday. Skip Wednesday and Friday. Some people typically work an abbreviated day on Friday.

A week later, if you haven’t heard from them (I know what you’re saying, “They don’t want to talk!!”) give it one last try on Wednesday. Middle of the week, in the morning. Leave one final message indicating that you’d like to discuss their voiceover needs and that you would like to help them out any way you can. “If the project is still open, please let me know how I can help. Don’t hesitate to call and let me know either way.”

Every call is a potential gig. Will they call back after the initial call? Probably not. And even when they say they will, it’s up to you to followup when they don’t.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Task Manage the Goldilocks Way
Five Tips for Better Client/Talent Workflow
About Me!

Task Manage the Goldilocks Way

3030Goldilocks was a criminal. She busted into the Bear’s home and ransacked it. She ate their food, sat her keister in all their chairs, and sleep-tested all their beds to find one that was just right for her power nap. Goldie needed the rest so that she would have enough strength to take on the three little pigs. A wolf you say? Pfft! It was Goldie.

If Goldie had problems with staying on task, she would have spent most of her time stuffing her face and never moved on to the chairs, toothbrushes (more on those in a moment) and beds. There wouldn’t have been much of a story. We would have never found out what was “just right!” Or, was she the task master we think her to be? Perhaps she had an app on her iPhone that alerted her to move to the next evil dead while at the Bear’s house. I believe this to be the case.

Goldilocks was probably using 30/30 by Binary Hammer; a beautifully designed, easy to use time management app for iDevices. If I’m right, she created a list of what she needed to MyEvilDayaccomplish during her visit. Her list probably looked something like this…

  • Verify the Bears have left home
  • Break into Bear’s home
  • Sample all porridge
  • Brush teeth (she tried all three brushes and found the one that was, you got it, “just right.” This is not in the story but I’m sure it happened. Who doesn’t brush their teeth after eating pasty, gloppy porridge?)
  • Sit in chairs
  • Take power nap
  • Steal as much as I can carry (Another task not mentioned in the story as we know it.)
  • Leave for Three Little Pigs

She gave each list item a unique color and icon for fast visual recognition and a timer. When the duration hit its end point, an alert sounded for her to go to the next task. 30/30 also provided the total amount of time needed to complete all items on her list. Unfortunately, she underestimated the amount of time needed to nap before the Bears arrived back home and failed to wake in time. Tough break.

Since I like to feel organized and occasionally get stuck on one task for way too long, I was inspired by Goldie to get my tasks together and organized so I could breeze through my day with newfound efficiency. 30/30 easily helps me out with time management needs. I wanted something simple to use that even a fairy tale character could figure out. I tried out more than I can count, from simple timers to multi-field schedule alerts. Some offered too little while others were too much. Then I found one that was just right. If Goldilocks had this little app, and I’m almost positive she did, she could have set it to be awakened to leave at just the right time instead of getting busted for greedy nap time.

According to the 30/30 website, the original idea behind the app was based on the  method of working on a single task, without distractions, for 30-minutes. At the end of 30-minutes, you move to another next task -maybe take a break.

The 30/30 developers understood that it wasn’t realistic to work only 30-minutes on a single task and then take a break for a balanced work day. The app is designed with easy adjustments in mind and each task can be considerably longer than 30-minutes.

30/30 is currently free from the Appstore. It looks great on iPhone and iPad. With its beautiful display and easy customizations, setting up duration alerts is a breeze and time well spent.

My Voiceover Day is the name of my 30/30 list and it’s divided like this:

  • Check e-mail
  • Business Tasks
  • Marketing
  • Lunch
  • Warmup and Practice
  • Projects
  • Auditions
  • Decompress

Each item on my list is given a duration. I have defaults for each one and can easily change the order and values. It’s flexible and that’s a good thing.

In the top, left corner of the screen, 30/30 displays the total amount of time for all items in the list. Once the timer for the list item begins, it displays the time when all list items are due to complete.

When I have a heavy day of projects, I can increase the duration for the project item. Do I need more time at lunch for an extra helping of goodness? Yes, so I’ll increase my allotted time for a 2-hour feast. Should I want to move my marketing and business time to after lunch, it’s a simple drag and drop to rearrange my list.

Goldie used 30/30 for evildoing and was prompted to move from her porridge binge on to destroying Baby Bear’s chair, and then to the bedroom to rumple everyone’s sheets and steal some shut eye. Good for her! I use it for moving my business day along to make sure the important stuff gets my attention. How will you use 30/30?

 

Other posts you might find interesting:

Five Tips for Better Client/Talent Workflow
About Me!
Are You Available?