Voicemail – to leave a message or not?

One of the questions I am most frequently asked at a sales master class or during a coaching session is whether or not to leave a message when put through to a prospect’s voicemail.

My answer is unequivocally YES!

Aside from the most obvious benefits, leaving a voicemail message is also a branding exercise. The more times a prospect hears your name and branding message, the more likely they are to return or take your subsequent call. It is also worth mentioning here that it can take up to ten attempted contacts with your perfect prospect before having a conversation. Most salespeople quit after their third attempt. (More on Perfect Prospect Profiling in future newsletter).

You may have heard me say that Success is 80 percent preparation and 20 percent showing up and the key to effective VoiceMail Branding is to be prepared. Yet even the most professional salespeople I listen to when coaching them on live sessions are almost always unprepared. As a result they either hang up when put through to a voicemail or leave a really ineffectual message that is most unlikely to result in a call back or other call to action and equally as likely to ensure their next message is ignored as soon as the recipient hears their name.

The ideal voicemail message should be no longer than 20 to 25 seconds. It should start with your name, your company’s name or business name, your telephone number and the time and date of your call – that last item makes you sound very professional and efficient and especially as so few people do it.

That information should be followed with an interest-creating, curiosity-building message. It should be a message that will encourage your prospect to respond as soon as they hear it. Do not give too much information that might allow your prospect to make a decision without following up on your call to action. The content of your message and the way you deliver it can also either enhance or detract from your brand image and your how your prospect perceives your importance and credibility.

That should be followed by a call to action. Tell them what you want them to do. Do you want them to call you? Do you want them to take your next call? Do you want them to visit a website landing page or email you? Do you want them to speak with the customer who referred you to them and then call you?

Here is an example of one of my own voicemail messages…

Good morning Mr Jones. My name is Bruce King from The Sales Accelerator Academy on 01923 859977. I am calling at 8.45 am on Tuesday the 11th of April. I am working with a number of companies in a similar field to your own and whose salespeople are failing to meet or exceed their sales targets. I have identified several common reasons for this and I would like to take just five minutes of your time on the telephone to discuss whether or not you are having a similar challenge and then possibly arrange a follow up call or meeting. Please call me back. Again, my name is Bruce King from The Sales Accelerator Academy and my telephone number is 01923 859977. I look forward to your call.

Make a note of who you left messages for and what you said for two reasons…

1. There is nothing worse than not knowing what message you left when a prospect calls you back

2. You may well have to leave more than one Voicemail Branding messages before you get a call back. You need several and you do not want to leave the same one twice – build on the story and the branding.

Write down the voicemail messages you intend to leave, re-write them as many times as you need to until they are as effective as you think they could possibly be and then record yourself delivering them. Play them back and re-record them until the wording and how you deliver them is as near perfect as they can possibly be.

To become World Class at telephone sales and appointment setting, get my book titled Cold Calling Made Easy. And to learn how to get at least 80% of your new business from referrals, get my book titled Winning Sales Referrals.


Bruce King

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