Why and How to Leave the Perfect Sales Voicemail

Let’s face it – you’re never going to close your sales via voicemail. How often have you heard of anyone returning a voicemail that laid out their home refinancing options or offered them a gift in exchange for a survey? Likely, never. Some productivity experts have even advised busy professionals to switch off their voicemail altogether. Talking to someone in real-time is the best way to form a connection with them. Leaving your voice on a machine will never form a strong enough bond on its own.

Voicemails are a Ping

Still, salespeople leave voicemails all the time. Here’s why: In sales, it pays to be persistent. If you’ve honed your target list, developed a distinct value proposition for the client you’re about to call, and have a referral to speak to that person, they need to hear what you have to say. Leaving a voicemail

  1. is a great excuse to send a follow-up email,
  2. keeps you top of mind with your lead and
  3. shows your commitment to the sale.

In other words, the things you say almost matter less than the fact that you’re leaving a voicemail at all. Forget your canned sales pitch, your discussion of timeline or next steps. To achieve their goal, your sales voicemails need to focus less on talking shop and more on building trust.

Tips for a Perfect Sales Voicemail

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Introduce yourself: Give your name, your company’s name (don’t bother with the tagline) and a callback number.
  2. Establish your connection: Provide context or a common ground that your target will relate to. This could be a customer in their industry or a shared alumni group – anything that might give you a credible hook on which to hang your hat.
  3. Build confidence: Speak in a professional tone and with a focus to your message. If necessary, follow a few bullet points. Don’t read out a script word-for-word. That would make you sound unnatural and green.
  4. Provide a value proposition: Identify the pain point that your product is seeking to address. This should be broad enough to generate interest but still well researched and pared down for this particular target. For example, “we’d like to help you reduce staff turnover in your HR department.” Saying something like “We want to learn more about your HR process” will not get you many points in the trust department.
  5. Use the target’s name…more than once: This helps build a rapport and shows that you’d done your homework.
  6. Repeat your name and number a second time at the end of the message. Add in your email address, too, if you think it would be effective.

You should do all of these steps in under 40 seconds. That’s all the time you have before your lead hits the “delete” button on his keypad.

Lastly, if (and really when) you completely botch a voicemail by, for example, saying the wrong first name, company, who referred you, even your phone number (we’ve all been there)…don’t hang up! Grit your teeth and complete your still brief voicemail. After you finish it, try to see if the voicemail has a “re-record” option. Usually, hitting # will prompt the menu and “re-record” is either “2” or “3.”

Follow It Up

More important than what you say in your voicemail message, however, is what you do as soon as you hang up.

  1. Always send an email follow-up that references the voicemail right after you leave the message. Bonus points for including a helpful piece of content or marketing material for the recipient.
  2. Don’t forget to log your voicemail message in your CRM. It is, after all, a ping on the target. You wouldn’t want to put in repeated calls in the same day. So track yourself.
  3. Try again a week later. If you do need to leave another voicemail for the same person, reference the earlier voicemail (even if only to say “I thought I’d try you again…”)

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