Reps always ask me whether or not they should even leave voicemails anymore since they almost never get a callback. My response is yes – as long as they are good ones.
If you’re leaving ‘touching base’ and ‘checking in’ voicemails then I would not to waste the prospect’s time. If your voicemails are targeted with a reason for your call that includes some sort of relevant information or value, then I would absolutely leave them.
Voicemails should be part of any overall contact strategy that includes a mix of calls, e-mails, social selling and other ways of getting your message in front of the right target prospect. If your contact strategy includes quality and relevant messaging each time it increases the chances of someone responding. They may not call you back from your voicemail but if they see (e-mail), hear (call/voicemail), see, hear different values of your solution they may eventually reach back out. The question isn’t whether or not to leave voicemails, it’s how do you leave good voicemails?
Here are some things to think about when leaving voicemails:
1. Don’t start with your name first
Every voicemail starts off exactly the same way:
“Hi, this is John Barrows with XYZ company…”
The problem with this approach is that the majority of our voicemails get deleted right after this because the client either knows your company and therefore has a certain assumption about what you do or they don’t know your company and therefore probably don’t care.
Instead, start all voicemails off with:
“Hi Bill, the reason for my call today is…”
Then add in some sort of short value prop that focuses on getting their attention. The goal is to get them to pay attention to the value you bring instead of some preconceived notion of what you do. Then back it up at the end with “Please call me back at 555-555-5555. This is John Barrows with XYZ company. 555-555-5555.” This reverse order is hard to get used to but it works.
2. Keep them under 30 seconds
Anything over 30 seconds and you’re trying to sell and you fundamentally can’t sell your solutions in a voicemail. Leave yourself a voicemail and time it to see how long it takes. By taking the approach outlined in point #1 you end up getting to the point a lot faster instead of wasting 5-10 seconds with your intro of who you are and where you are calling from.
3. Don’t sell
Again, you fundamentally can’t sell your solution in a voicemail so stop trying. Focus on getting someone’s attention with a compelling value statement about what you’ve been able to do for other clients like them. Prospecting is about getting someone’s attention and earning their interest. It’s about selling time or the next step, it’s not about selling your solutions. Try to think about getting a response like “How do you do that?” as if it was a live conversation.
4. Don’t reference failed attempts
I hate when I hear reps leaving voicemails that start like this:
“Hi Sarah, this is John again from XYZ company. I’ve left you a few messages and am trying to reconnect to see if you’d be interested in…”
If I didn’t care the first few times, why should I care now? By saying this you are automatically giving me the green light to delete your voicemail before I listen to the rest of it. When following up, always have a different reason for your call.
5. Be different
Almost every voicemail sounds exactly the same no matter what people are selling:
“Hi Bill, this is John with XYZ company. We’re the leading provider of blah blah and I would like to set up a time to discuss your needs related to blah blah and see how we can help you achieve your goals…blah blah blah blah.”
No wonder people never call us back. When cold calling, leaving voicemails, sending e-mails, we should always try to stand out in some way. A few ways to be different on voicemails include:
- Not starting with your name first
- Making people laugh (with business appropriate humor)
- Screwing up a voice mail and joking about it
- Being enthusiastic and positive
- Referencing some research you’ve done on their business that prompted the call.
Whatever it is, just try to do something different and stand out.
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