You would probably never dream that something as trivial as your voicemail message could negatively impact your personal training business and cost you clients.
But the truth of the matter is that everything you say or do—no matter how seemingly benign—can send the wrong signal to a potential client. Not the least of which is your voicemail message.
Get this small piece of marketing and customer interaction wrong and you'll be losing out on potential clients before you even know they were interested in your services in the first place.
Never forget that the message you didn't get because of a poorly crafted voicemail is a potential client you'll never get to train.
How Does It Affect Us?
Examples of how poor voicemail messages affect us on a conscious and subconscious level as consumers are all around us.
For instance, think about the last time you called customer support at a certain company, or perhaps picked up the phone to get some information from a local business, and heard an amateurish voicemail that instantly made you skeptical and unsure.
What happened? How did you react? Did you want to hang up the phone or stick around to speak with somebody?
Why is it that we can usually tell the professionalism and quality of a business within the first few seconds of listening to not only their voicemail or calling tree, but also when we first speak to someone within that company?
If you were searching for a carpenter that could fix some very delicate woodwork in your house and the first point of contact was a message that said:
"This is Bob, leave me a message."
How would you feel about Bob and his services? Would you be confused? Would you even know if you were calling a carpenter? Would you leave a message or call someone else?
What about when you call a business to find out their hours of operation and listen to a long drawn out message without ever getting the information that you were looking for? Pretty frustrating right?
Quite often certain etiquette and good business practices are glossed over when it comes to being professional and fun and giving your potential customer information to keep them humming along the buyer trail instead of hanging up the phone in frustration not knowing if they even dialed the right number.
Worse than that however, is leaving a message that is broken or incomplete and one that portrays you and your personal training business in a negative light—be it unprofessional, too long, too formal, too informal, not enough information or generally not speaking to your target audience and addressing their reason for calling you in the first place.
I'll bet you never thought that something as simple as your voicemail message could say so much about you that you could be losing potential clients before they even talk to you.
Now while a great voicemail message isn't a guarantee that you will close the sale, a poor voicemail message definitely is a quick way to lose a client in a hurry. If you're not giving your caller the information they need in a brief, succinct and professional manner, you're sending all the wrong signals, and either losing them entirely, or handicapping yourself before you ever meet them.
Don't make your clients work hard to get the information they seek and don't let the first impression they have of your business be one that is unprepared, incomplete, boring or unprofessional. You need to make sure that you use your voicemail for its intended purpose: to close and inform current or potential clients about your business succinctly, uniquely and without boring them to tears.
Your Voicemail Message Is An Important Sales Tool
Don't forget for one second that everything you do—and every single point of contact that you have with your current and potential clients—is a chance to introduce, deepen and expand your relationship with them.
This holds true for obvious elements of your business such as your website, business cards or the way you dress, but it is also true for less obvious points of contact like your voicemail message.
Whether you realize it or not, you are always selling. When a client sees you training someone at the local gym, you are selling. When a client visits your website, you are selling. And when a client calls you to learn more about your services, you are selling.
When everything is set up seamlessly and congruently within your business, a client is naturally guided towards a communication with you and feels confident and comfortable with you and your business.
Just like you wouldn't hide your services or offerings from your client on your website or business cards, the same holds true for your voicemail message when they contact you for the first time.
Obviously, it isn't as important once you've secured a new client and have built a rapport and ongoing relationship with someone as they already know you, but this element of communication is vital before or during a tenuous time when a client is still trying to decide whether or not they should train with you over another personal trainer.
Remember that when a potential client is calling you they are oftentimes nervous, unsure of themselves, unsure if you are the right person to help them and, most importantly, want to speak with a live human being for reassurance and to get answers to their questions.
By the way, if you need to get a separate phone line just for voicemail messages apart from your personal cell phone, then do that. But no matter what, you should never mix business and pleasure.
There are many free and paid options out there (Grasshopper.com is one) for call forwarding and creating extra phone numbers to make your personal training business look like a well-oiled and professional machine.
By recognizing that your voicemail message is an important part of the sales process—you obviously aren't going to be able to answer your phone all the time - you can begin to incorporate the necessary fundamentals into crafting the perfect outgoing message that naturally attracts and draws clients to you.
Your voicemail is just one more piece to the sales process puzzle and one that should be carefully cultivated and designed for maximum benefit to you, your business - and most importantly - the client.
Here's How You Craft the Perfect Personal Training Voicemail Message
Creating a perfect voicemail message should contain the following basic elements:
- Who are you or the name of your company
- What does your business do, or specialize in
- Instructions to the caller on what to do next
Take the above information and wrap it in a shell of your unique selling proposition and personality, and you can create a message that sells you, your business and answers the potential client's initial doubts and insecurities.
Normally speaking, you want your message to be no longer than 1 minute in length, preferably no more than 30 seconds.
In fact studies have been done that show that the average voicemail message left by callers is only 18-22 seconds, so think about the caller wading through your 2-3 minute long message, when all they want to do is leave you a short "call me back" voicemail and the potential frustration you might unduly cause as a result of your long drawn out soliloquy.
Again, don't introduce artificial barriers to a client signing on the dotted line before they even meet you! Keep your message short, sweet, to the point and add a little flair and pizzazz that defines who you are and what you do if appropriate. You aren't a boring trainer right? So don't leave a boring message, but keep it clean and professional at the same time.
Here's a sample voicemail message that I used for my personal training business:
Hi you've reached Chris Fernandez serving distinguished personal training clientele regardless of your location, goals or experience. I'm either with a client or away from my phone, so please leave me a detailed message with your phone number and a good time to get back to you, and I'll do so as soon as possible. Thanks so much for calling.
This message is about 20 seconds in length and has all the elements you need of a great professional yet inviting message.
Depending on your target audience, you can adjust your tone and fun factor accordingly (see examples below).
Notice that I stated who I was immediately. This is important because the person calling needs to know if they dialed the right number. Next, I clearly stated my unique selling proposition and specialty—I trained high-end clientele regardless of their location, goals or experience.
Then I clearly stated to the caller what to do. Never assume anything. Some people won't leave their telephone number without you prompting them to because in this digital age, most people assume you have caller ID and will see the number that they called from.
But if your phone is off, the battery died, or your reception was poor, you have no way of knowing the telephone number of the person that was calling you, so it is very important that you specifically ask for their telephone number.
I also asked them to leave me a "detailed message". Why? Simple. I needed to know specifically why they were calling and get as much information about them before I called them back. This was important to me because I was then armed with the proper ammunition to deliver a very personalized conversation with them when I called them back to be able to speak to my potential client as if I already knew who they were and what they were looking for.
This is a very important element for helping people feel comfortable with you and build rapport over the phone quickly. Within the voicemail were traces of my personality, professionalism and unique selling proposition scattered throughout using careful voice inflections, pauses and tonal changes.
Don't be a drone or boring, but also don't come across as unprofessional, talk too fast, or have a nervous high-pitched delivery either. The right tone is something balanced, professional, upbeat and unique to you and your business.
Think about the best voicemails you've ever heard. What stood out about them? More than likely, it was the person's voice and delivery as well as the actual message being delivered matching your expectations of that certain company or organization.
Combine the strongest attributes of your business offerings, your personality and a professionally crafted short message, to leave your potential client feeling confident and excited to contact you.
By the way, if you are nervous about recording a good voicemail or don't like the way your voice sounds, you can hire someone else to record your voicemail or company phone tree for you.
This is also available on Grasshopper.com in addition to their many voicemail features.
One final note: Do not add music either in the beginning or end of your message! It is distracting and there is an off chance that the music you choose will be undesirable to your potential customer and add another barrier to them contacting you!
Here's a sample framework that you can use to craft the perfect voicemail message for your personal training business that closes:
5 Elements to a Perfect Voicemail
- Greeting: Hi, Hello, Thanks for calling, Welcome, etc.
- Who are you: You've reached..., This is..., etc.
- What you do: I/We specialize in..., Serving..., Helping (demographic (i.e.: women, men, kids, etc.)) of all ages..., Taking your training to the next level..., Rocketing your fitness..., etc.
- Instructions: Please leave us a detailed message..., At the beep, please tell me a little bit about yourself and how I can help you..., At the tone tell me how I can help you get in the best shape of your life..., leave your name and phone number, etc.
- Sign-off: Thanks for calling..., I look forward to talking with you soon..., We can't wait to help you reach your goals..., We'll be contacting you within 24 hours..., It will be my pleasure to speak with you soon..., etc.
So, putting it all together, an example voicemail message using all 5 elements of my framework could look like this:
Thanks for calling Impact Fitness, the weight loss and body transformation specialists serving the greater Miami area. Our normal business hours are from 9-5 PM Eastern daily. If you are calling outside business hours or within our business hours and are hearing this message, please leave us a detailed message and let us know which body transformation location you are interested in as well as your phone number and a good time to reach you. We guarantee you that we'll get back to you within 1 business day and can't wait to have you join the Impact Fitness community!
Here's another example:
Hello, you've reached Dave Parker, black belt martial artist, certified CrossFit instructor and master personal trainer. I can't wait to help you kill it in the gym and take your body and fitness to a whole new level, but as you've guessed, I'm unavailable at the moment. Go ahead and leave me your contact information and where and how you want me to reach you, and I promise, as soon as I'm done blowing it up with my current client, I'll call you right back!
Have a little fun with your voicemail message, but always keep your eye on the prize.
Realize that potential clients don't much care for waiting and don't want to feel frustrated, delayed or like they are getting the runaround.
Answer their needs, tell them who you are, offer your unique selling proposition in your voicemail and then keep it professional and clean while still maintaining your personality and you'll see how this will add one more layer to your buyer trail, differentiate you from other personal trainers and attract the exact types of clients you are looking to train.