I don’t know percentages but more often than not when I call a client, a prospect, a potential supplier or anyone for that matter, I get their voicemail. Obviously I get to listen to the message they have on their voicemail and I actually do listen. You see, whether you like to admit it or not, first impressions still count.

Sad to say the majority of messages I hear are poor. They people sound like it is an effort to talk, they are tired, depressed almost. They are quiet like they are scared someone might hear them or they talk very fast to fit a short story in their message. If I am a potential customer do you think I am inspired by what I hear? Do I even understand who I am dealing with? Does it make me want to leave a message? No, no, no.

What does your message say about you and your business? Have you listened to your own? I think you should. You may then get what I mean. At least if you are a small business with few people, it is not a big issue to fix. What about as you grow though and you have many others representing you and your business brand? It becomes a much harder issue to resolve and keep control of. Have you ever got one of your team member’s voicemail message? Have they inspired you or excited you or do you think about getting them help! What you hear will be what your customers hear when they call your team and you need to ensure it promotes the wider business message and values you are after.

Many people may think this is a small issue with not a lot of importance but that short encounter lays deeper meaning with many and given it doesn’t take much effort, time or cost to get it right, it should be done well to get you and your business on the front foot at every possible chance.

This does not just apply to voicemail messages but all communication. When you are leaving messages. Chances are that what I describe above will apply to those you are calling so it is a great opportunity for you to lift the overall energy in a relationship or transaction. Same applies to recorded videos, running meetings, general phone discussions etc.

In general discussions it goes further. Not only is it the tone, speed, energy and clarity that is important but also what you are saying. This is a whole other topic but a quick tip. Far too often I hear people answer a general ‘how are you?’with ‘busy’, ‘flat out’, ‘under the pump’ or something similar. Does that invite people to send more business your way or do they think you are too busy? Think about it.

The first encounter you have with people often will be something like a voicemail. What do the people representing your business say about you? Scary thought isn’t it!