I need to confess that at times I wish the telemarketers that continuously call me would leave a voicemail message.

Why don’t they leave voicemails? Probably because no one calls them back? Maybe people are too busy? Perhaps we don’t need their services? Maybe because they leave terrible voicemails! Don’t get me wrong. I know the phone isn’t the primary means of communication anymore, and getting a return call may not frequently happen, regardless of how good the message is. However, phone and voicemails are still an essential piece of any prospecting approach.

There are a few reasons I leave voicemails when reaching out to potential customers.

  • My email response rates are higher when I leave voicemails. And I always send an email before or after a prospect call.
  • Sometimes voicemails are transcribed or sent as an audio file to an email — So they might be read and heard.
  • People read less email every day due to the sheer volume they receive

Phone-only outreach is dead unless it is coupled with email, physical mail, social media, etc. I believe leaving an impactful voicemail is a crucial element to getting a callback, and positioning yourself and your company for future engagement. Here are my suggestions.

1. Leave a voicemail.

If you leave a voicemail, there is a chance it will be heard and they might call you back.No voicemail makes the phone call a wasted effort with zero chance of a callback.

2. Add value.

“Touching base” and “checking in” are the two most meaningless phrases in sales. It means there is no reason for your call so therefore there is no reason for me to talk to you. Time is the most valuable asset any of us have. If you want someone’s time, it better be pretty evident in your message that they are going to get something out of it . I like to share an example of a client I’m working with, something new happening in their industry, or what I see other firms do to improve sales and marketing ROI.

3. Be brief and be gone.

I limit my voicemails to 30 seconds or less, as I assume that at least some will be transcribed and sent to email. I keep them brief and focus on getting their attention and piquing their interest enough to call back or get them to think.

4 . I try and be authentic.

I write down what I’m going to say and practice it once or twice, but I drop the script for the voicemail and try to be natural as possible. I’m not shooting for perfection as most conversations are not perfect.

5. I’m professionally enthusiastic.

It is possible to transfer enthusiasm over the phone, but challenging over email. I try and stand when making calls as I think my voice projects better, and it better simulates a first-time in-person introduction. I love what our firm does and am passionate about helping clients succeed. I want that to come across in the voicemail.

Voicemails aren’t the silver bullet to getting through to more prospects. But when done well, it shows potential clients that my firm and I take precision and care in our interactions. The same precision and care that we will take if we end up doing business together.

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