As a counselor, your marketing leads are phone calls – and your lead generation is marketing materials to make your phone ring. If you spend hours marketing your practice, and your phone finally rings, what next?

The best thing you can do is pick up the call the first time. When a client is calling you, they can be nervous and this may be a one call deal. Plus, the lead generation took a lot of time (whether that was word-of-mouth, paid advertising, website, etc.). The potential client is worth a lot to you.

Do your best to make a point to pick up your phone the first time.

But what if you can’t get to the phone? What if you are in a session with another client? The goal of this article is to help you make a voicemail that keeps clients instead of repelling clients, but again, this is only second best to picking up the phone. (If you are having trouble picking up calls the first time, and need a scheduling and reception service, call Thriveworks)

So how do you do it?

First, make sure that you remove the name prompts, and the generic, “You have reached Six One Seven – Three Nine Five – Five Eight Zero Six”. If a client hears this first, it is a impersonal first impression, and they do not know if they have reached the right place. Just hearing a number, they may hang up the phone, never leave a message, and call a counselor. With just a simple prompt, they may fear that they are seeking counseling at the wrong number.

Second, make your message short and sweet. Try to aim for a message that is around 15-25 seconds. Anymore than that, and you may lose a phone call.

In your voicemail, you do not have to explain all of the specialties that you do (they probably already read about it and called to inquire).

About you: Make sure that you clarify who you are, and that “you are sorry that you missed their call, and will call back right away, within 24 hours”.

About them: Make sure you ask for them to leave a name and number. If you do not ask for it, some people may not give it. So, why ask for a number in the days of Caller ID? Well, if you miss 2-3 calls at a time, and only one of them leaves a voicemail, it may get tricky to figure out who called for what. A number is just a back-up.

Third, make sure your message begins at the beep. If there is a beep, a few seconds of lag time (you trying to find the right number to hit to commence recording), and then the message from you, your potential client may hang up the phone because they thought it was a blank voicemail.

Spend time working on your voicemail. Something that seems insignificant when you are setting up your phone, is actually really important. If you haven’t listened to your voicemail in a while, call yourself and listen to it.

Would you schedule an appointment with your voicemail?

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