Salespeople are famous for having diametrically opposing views on what works and what doesn’t. Whether or not to leave a voicemail is a perfect example of one of these hotly debated topics.
I won’t spend too much time debating the benefits of leaving a voicemail, but if you are going to leave voicemails, let’s make them effective voicemails.
Here is my tried and true guide to leaving effective voicemails.
Benefits of Leaving Voicemails
I promised not to spend too much time debating this sales religious war, but I think it is important for you to understand why I’m a fan of voicemails.
- We’re trying to build a relationship with new prospects and unknown inbound calls with no introduction (i.e., voicemail) just seem rude in my opinion and each new anonymous missed call in phone degrades the opportunity to build that new relationship.
- Training your sales voice and pitch is essential. Voicemails are a great training ground for honing this part of your sales craft. This format forces you to be concise and challenges you to be effective where the prospect is in total control.
- Voicemail is one of the easiest places to ensure that your message gets delivered. Emails are often filtered, blocked, or just ignored. A voicemail is definitely going to be read. You read that right, with voice-to-text most people are reading voicemails, which in my opinion makes it even more important to leave voicemails.
That’s my top three reasons to leave more voicemails. Now let’s discuss how to leave voicemails that get callbacks.
How to Leave a Voicemail
The first step in upping your voicemail game is actually learning how to leave a good voicemail.
Chances are that you don’t leave a lot of voicemails these days. Your friends and family all know your number and it’s pretty common etiquette these days to just hang up without leaving a voicemail. This, of course, only works if they have your name and number is on their phone and you’re pretty sure that a missed call will get a response – call or text.
All that is to say, you’ve probably a little rusty on leaving voicemails. So, here are some mechanics you need to keep in mind.
1. Wait for the beep
Give yourself a little dead air so that you can be certain that your opening line is clear and crisp. You’ve heard the voicemails where the over anxious salesperson’s message cuts in garbled and midway through their name.
You also want to make sure this opening is clean so that you get a good voice-to-text translation of your introduction on their phone.
2. Keep it to 15 seconds
Don’t try to close the deal on the voicemail. You’re not pitching or closing in this message. Your goal is to pique interest for a follow-up.
This is where a concise benefit statement is going to be critical.
The worst thing you can do is leave a long message, which leaves the prospect annoyed and confident they have heard your best sales pitch.
3. Speak clearly and enunciate
I can emphasize this enough, especially in the era of voice-to-text. No one listens to voicemail anymore. Make sure to give Apple or Google a clear, well-enunciated audio file to translate. This is your best shot at getting your message to the prospect.
This is easy to practice using the voice-to-text feature on your own phone. Start using voice-to-text exclusively for your text messages to friends and family. Perfect your voice delivery to reliably create accurate and coherent voice-to-text transcripts.
4. End with a specific question
Don’t end your voicemails with the common plea for a callback. Instead, do what you might do with a friend – leave a question. You call for a reason, which is probably to qualify the lead. So, why not just ask one of those qualifying questions?
If you ask the prospect a question, it begs a response. Even no response at that point becomes active feedback.
Effective Voicemail Script
Here is the voicemail script that I generally use.
[Prospect Name], this is [Your Name] from [Company].I’m reaching out to you [because | in response to] [insert reason for the call]. I’d love to talk to you about [insert benefit to calling you back].
My number is [insert phone number]. You can also text me at this number. I’ll follow up with a quick email with a few more details and all of my contact information.
Take a look and then we can discuss if there’s a fit.
Have a great day!
It’s short and simple. But, in this framework, there is a lot of nuances that make it work consistently. Let’s break it down.
Start with their first name
I don’t say “Hello, Hey, or Hi” these are all unnecessary and a little unnatural.
Instead, I open with their first name. This assures them that I have some information about them or have done a little research.
This tends to take away the cold call vibe and generally disarms the cold call defense – delete!
Immediately identify yourself
Say your full name and company – slowly and distinctly.
Too often I see salespeople trying to sneak up on prospects. I don’t at any point want them to feel like I’m tricking them or playing some shell game.
In my experience, it’s obvious that you’re a salesperson and it’s also a given that you have something to sell. The difference is that your prospect should feel that you truly believe that you have something valuable to offer.
Share a benefit to calling you back
This should be the highlight of your message. It doesn’t have to be crazy or wild, but it must give them some compelling reason to return your call.
If you’re in the mortgage business it might be something like:
- “Rates just dropped today because of XYZ, but this negative thing is lurking around the corner.”
- “My team leader just told me that I can waive XYZ or give this incentive if we start your loan application today.”
If you’re in the real estate business it might be something like:
- “I just saw a listing in XYZ neighborhood. You definitely want to take a look.”
- “I just sold the home around the corner at 123 Street for full asking price. I feel confident listing your home for $$$.”
Say your phone number
They’re going to have your phone number on the caller id, but I still think it’s good form to leave it in your message. If your calls are routed through a central number or you have a wonky extension then you definitely want to do this and maybe even repeat it twice.
Tell them it’s okay to text
Hopefully, your number will take an inbound text. If it can, make sure you tell them that’s an option. I get lots of takers on this pitch.
Tell them to expect an email with more details
Most of my voicemail responses are actually via email. So, it’s critical to send an email to follow up on every call. This is typically a very simple process with any CRM, but you MUST do it. Many times people don’t take your call because they’re either tied up at the moment, they prefer to communicate via email, or just are intimidated by a sales call.
Don’t lose the opportunity to close a deal because your prospect doesn’t want to go toe-to-toe with a professional salesperson on the phone. Send that follow up email and give them a little more of the pitch.
Give them a call to action or ask a question
Your closing statement should be very specific and directive.
Either give them the next step, like “read my email because it’s got these important things in it” or ask them a specific question, like “I just finished refinancing a client and got them $20,000 cash out. What could you do with $20,000?”
Tips on Improving Your Voicemail Skills
You’ve got all of the secrets. Now, it’s time to put them to work. Here are a few final tips on how to improve your voicemails skills.
Leaving voicemails is practice in and of itself. However, I recommend that you spend a fair amount of time rehearsing your voicemail script and getting it to flow naturally on every drop.
A couple of my favorite practice exercises are to use voice to text to send text messages to practice my clear enunciation and to use my voice recorder on my mobile phone to record, play back, and critic my voicemail and sales scripts.
Also, make sure to practice several variations of your voicemail scripts to do a little testing.
Be personable and to the point
Practice until you have perfected a personable and casual delivery. But, in all cases make sure that delivery is brief, clear, and to the point. Don’t leave rambling voicemails (usually the result of not practicing).
Know your prospect
Take a few minutes to review you prospect before calling. Grab one unique or memorable note from their CRM record to help make your voicemail sound like you know them or at least took the time to find out something about them.
Always stay positive and confident
No matter how tough the sales get – never leave anything but positive and confident messages. If you can’t rally that in your voice, then take a break.
Next Steps to Leaving Voicemails that Get Callbacks
What are you going to do next? Which of these tips are you going to try today?
Here are my suggestions:
- Write a voicemail script
- Practice and record it on your mobile phone voice record app
- Critique and tweak those recordings
- Buy a bunch of cheap aged leads, and
- Practice, practice, practice
Let me know how it goes.
If you get a call back today – leave a comment, “I got a callback!” If you don’t – leave a comment, “None today, but I will get one tomorrow!”