Let’s be honest. It isn’t easy to get a prospect to listen to voicemails these days. And if they do listen, they rarely return the call.

So why bother? Are prospecting voicemails even worth the effort?  

Absolutely. And here’s why: 57% of C-level and VP buyers prefer to be contacted by phone–that’s the good news. The bad news is that you usually have one shot and a very small window of time to grab their attention.

Luckily, there are some simple tips to improve your voicemail messages and boost the odds that your prospect will return your call or pick up the next time you contact them.

The first rule of phone prospecting is simple: don’t hang up without leaving a voicemail. If you show up as a missed call and you haven’t left a message, you’ve automatically flagged yourself as a spam caller.

Secondly, keep it short. You can use every strategy you’re about to read, but if your message takes too long to get to the point, you’ll lose the interest of your prospect and never gain it back. Make sure your entire message is 30 seconds or less.

Lastly, as you read through these strategies, think about what appeals to you. What makes you listen to a voicemail instead of hitting delete? Incorporate your own preferences and personality into these tips and watch your return call rates soar.

how to leave a voicemail
(Image source)

How to Leave a Voicemail [5 Things to do]

Don’t bury the lead

If you’re leading off with the traditional “Hello. My name is…and I’m calling from…” introduction, you’re almost certainly getting deleted before you finish your first sentence. Instead, lead with the solution you’re offering to the prospect or information relevant to a known problem they have.

Try asking a question that grabs attention, and make it personal for each caller. It’s obvious when a salesperson is reading from a script, and you’re just one person in a long list of prospect numbers. The more unique the question, the more likely it is to get a response.

Make your introduction short, personal, and of value to the person you’re trying to reach. Everyone gets a million “my name is…” voicemails. Very few get messages that add value right off the bat.

Sound like yourself

Everyone is guilty of it at some point–the dreaded “phone voice.” It’s that high-pitched, overly-enthusiastic tone that slips out before you even recognize it.

Stop it.

Take a deep breath before you dial, consciously lower the tone of your voice to its normal level, and speak as if your prospect is sitting across the table from you. A lower tone and relaxed cadence convey ease to your caller.

Another simple tactic to keep your listener engaged during the entire message is to gradually slow down as you speak. It may seem counterintuitive, but slowing your words down almost imperceptibly keeps listeners hanging on your every word. It also adds an air of confidence and trustworthiness.

When you rush through voicemails in a frantic “sales voice,” your prospect will assume they are just another call you’re trying to get through. Differentiate yourself with a deliberate cadence and casual tone to keep your prospect interested in what you have to say.

Use tag-team messages

If you want to make twice the impression, try leaving two messages. Sound strange? Here’s why it works: in your first message, you hook your listener with the value-add introduction and interesting pitch, and then end the voicemail without leaving some crucial piece of information, like your contact information or company name.

Then you call back immediately with a much shorter message, leaving the previously-omitted information and a very brief recap of your first message.

It may seem counterintuitive, but the double-message serves a couple of brilliant purposes. First, it puts your phone number front and center twice in the missed call record. Secondly, it makes you more memorable and more believable. Prospects hate scripted voicemails. If you left out a piece of information and needed to call back to leave it, you’re not reading from a script, and your prospect is more likely to trust that you have something interesting to say.

Plant a subtle call to action

Prospects don’t like to be told what to do. If you close with the usual “call me back” or “I’ll be waiting for your call” line, you probably won’t get a return call.

Instead, try a more subtle approach with your call to action. Try something like “I hope to talk to you soon” or “I appreciate your time.” By acknowledging that their time is valuable, your prospect will be more likely to share some of it with you.

The bottom line? Avoid desperation and don’t make demands. Politely suggest the action you’d like your prospect to take while allowing it to be their idea ultimately.

Time it right

Timing is everything with prospecting voicemails. If you’re trying to get through to a key prospect, don’t leave a voicemail during the busiest time in their workday.

Think about when you have the most focus. Are you thinking about returning voicemails during the lunch hour? Probably not. And do you immediately scurry to return voicemails in the morning? No. You might make a note to return the call later in the day, but more likely than not, voicemails take a backseat to the influx of emails, messages, and work that streams in throughout the day.

Be strategic. Call later in the day when your voicemail has the greatest chance of being the last thing your prospect hears and remembers before they go home for the evening.

Tie it all together

As you craft the perfect voicemail strategy, don’t be afraid to inject your personality into your message. Prospecting voicemails are often robotic, missing the relatable touch of a “real person” who wants to connect with another person.

After you deliver the perfect voicemail, wrap your message up in a neat package with a follow-up email restating what you said and repeating your call to action. Always add value and respect your prospect’s time and they’ll want to hear from you.

Editors Note:

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Josh Slone
About Author: Josh Slone
Josh Slone is the Head Content Writer for LeadFuze. Josh writes about lead generation strategies, sales skills, and sales terminology.