Don’t Be Deleted!

Don’t Be Deleted!

Emily Huling, CIC, CMC

Read. Delete. Read. Delete. Read. Ummm…Interesting. Save.

Listen. Delete. Listen. Delete. Listen. Ummm…Interesting. Save.

You know the drill. We do it every day. We read e-mails and listen to our voice mail messages making split-second decisions as to what is relevant, valuable, and worth our time.

Think about this question for a minute. What is it that moves us to act on a voice mail message or an e-mail sent by someone we do not currently have an ongoing business relationship with?

The broad answer for most of us is “What’s in it for me?” Is the seller offering a product, service, or knowledge that will advance my personal or business goals? Has the seller done any homework to learn about me or my business? Has the seller zeroed in on my specific issues and challenges and conveyed that in a knowledgeable and concise manner? Has the seller reached out to me because we have common connections? What is the seller asking from me at this time?

The most common mistake salespeople make is leaving a message that says, “This is who I am and this is what I can do for you.” Here’s an example of an ineffective voice mail message. “Hello, Gina. This is Joe Smith from ABC Insurance Agency. I can save you money on your business insurance. Please call me back if you’re interested in learning more. Here’s my number.”

When I receive a message like that, I think “You haven’t a clue who I am, what my business is and what I’m concerned about.” Delete.

What would be an effective “what’s in it for me” message?

“Hello, Gina. Maria Connor suggested I give you a call. This is Joe Smith. Last week, she and I worked together to save 20% on her company’s health insurance premiums while broadening coverage. I’ve learned from your website that you have fifty employees and you’re a member of (association). I’m an associate member. Let’s set up a time to talk. Again, this is Joe Smith from ABC Agency. My number is 888-888-8888.

Here are four reasons this message works. The referral source, a name familiar to the buyer, was mentioned first. Specific value was mentioned – saving money and broadening coverage. Checking her company’s website – I did some homework to learn about you. We hang out with the same business associates – I do business with your colleagues.

Here’s an alternative close to that voice mail message since connecting by phone can be a challenge. After leaving your call-back number say, “I’ll send you a follow-up e-mail with my contact information in case that’s easier for you to connect with me to set up a time to talk.”

So, what do you do if you don’t get an immediate reply? Use another communication channel to connect. Here are two ideas.

Mail a business article that would be of interest to Gina using the USPS delivery system. It could be something from her industry trade publications or information about how providing more health insurance options for employees – even when it’s at their expense – is a proven way to improve employee satisfaction with their health insurance program.

Connect at the next association meeting. Give Gina a call or send an e-mail telling her you’re looking forward to meeting her at the upcoming event.

Buyers have loads of choice where to spend their insurance budget. Through demonstrating you know who they are, have knowledge of their business environment, and do business with others they know, you’ll set yourself apart, earn their trust and insure their business.

About the author

Emily Huling, CIC, CMC helps the insurance industry create top-performing sales and customer service organizations. She is the author of Selling from the Inside, Great Service Sells, and Kick Your “But.” For information on her programs and products call 888-309-8802 or visit

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