Voicemail: 5 Proven Techniques That Get Your Calls Returned!

If you’re having trouble getting your voicemails returned, then you’re not alone. Industry statistics show that less than 10% of voicemails to new prospects are returned. Because of this, finding the right voicemail message and learning a few proven techniques can be the key to not only connecting with hard-to-reach sales leads, but also building relationships and winning new accounts.

Here are five proven techniques that give you the best chance of getting your voicemail messages returned:

Proven technique number one: Don’t even leave a voicemail! Sounds weird, huh? Well, the truth is that the best technique to follow when trying to reach a potential customer for the first time is to persevere and call five or seven or even ten times first before leaving a message. Your goal is to catch them picking up the phone and having a conversation instead of leaving multiple voicemails unanswered.

Try calling at different times of the day, and even multiple times on Fridays. Fridays are the most relaxed days and most people prepare for the weekend instead of preparing for the week. What is the worst day to leave a voicemail? Monday.

A word of caution: for those of you who are worried that when you finally catch someone answering the phone and you’re upset that they didn’t leave a message (yet you saw them call you multiple times), be prepared with a good script! Something like: “I didn’t want to bother you with various voicemails, so I decided to try to catch you. Anyway, I’m glad I did…”

Persevering like this is the best way to get someone on the phone, and since most sales reps won’t, you’ll be way ahead if you do.

Proven Technique Number Two: You need to write an effective voicemail message ahead of time. Nothing will get your message deleted faster than the sound of an unprofessional unprepared message filled with um’s and uh’s.

As soon as a busy prospect hears that kind of message, especially from someone they don’t know (and a salesperson, too!), they automatically reach for the delete button. And you?

Also, you want to make sure your scripted voicemail has these three elements: 1) Focus on your prospect, NOT your product or service. 2) Never say, “I’d like to take some time to learn more about you…” 3) Leave your number SLOWLY and twice.

As you’ll see in the examples below, most sales reps leave a message about themselves; this never works. Second, they sometimes think that by wanting to “learn more about how you drive…”, they think they are putting the prospect first. MISTAKEN. All the prospect is thinking is that you don’t want to take valuable time educating them so you can sell them.

And three, the worst technique of all is leaving your phone number so fast that it forces your prospect to play your message over and over again just to get your phone number. Yeah right, like anyone would do that…

Here is an example of what to do and what not to do:

Proven technique number three: Turn a bad VM message into an effective one:

The WRONG way to leave a VM (and unfortunately, how most people do it):

“Hello, this is (your name) with (your company), and we offer shipping and packaging supplies for all of your shipping needs. The reason I’m calling is to learn a little more about your business and to get more information about your shipping needs and see if we can save you some money. If you give me a call at (888) 555-1234 that would be great. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

This message checks all the “don’t” boxes I’ve listed in technique number two. This is the caller; he wants to take time away from the prospect so he can “throw” more, and the number only went once.

Here is the CORRECT VM to go with:

“Hello (prospect name), this is (your name) with (your company). We offer discount shipping and packaging supplies, and if you’re like most companies we work with, you’re probably paying too much! Our customers save 10-15% each month and get better service guaranteed To find out how much you can save, just call me at (SLOWLY Leave Your Phone Number).

Once again, my name is (Your name) and my toll-free number is: (Put the number down slowly again). If I don’t hear from you in the next few days, I’ll contact you again. If you prefer to be removed from our list, or if you prefer to receive information by email, just give me a call and leave me a message. Talk to you soon!”

This virtual machine is effective because it focuses first on the potential customer and what it brings them (10-15% savings). The phone number was left twice slowly. But the magical technique was:

You gave your prospect an outlet! Let them know that they can simply call you back, leave you a message (so they don’t have to talk to you or be contacted when they call), and they can stop being called by you again if they aren’t. not interested! This is also good for you, as you won’t be wasting your time with disinterested prospects.

One note: if you find the above message too long, please edit it! Script your VM the way you want, and then use it consistently. In fact, spend some time now reworking your existing voicemail message to fit the above rules.

Proven technique number four: Combine your voice messages with an email campaign for maximum effectiveness. The number one law in all marketing is repetition.

It is the same to make your prospects notice you. The most effective way is to use a two-month campaign that goes like this:

First – try to communicate with someone for a couple of weeks without leaving a virtual machine. Week One – Drop off a VM and follow up with an email that same day. Then I left a second VM that same week. Week two – Send email #2 and then drop off a VM at the start of the week and that Friday. Week Three – Send an email at the beginning of the week and at the end. Leave a virtual machine in the middle. Week four: Send another email on Tuesday and drop off a virtual machine on Thursday. Month two: Email or drop off one virtual machine per week for four weeks. Plus: Call in the middle and don’t leave a message.

Anytime between week two and three, one of your emails should be the “Should I stay or should I go” email. If you haven’t heard of this email, then your return rate is about to increase by 60%! He says like this:

Your subject line is: (Prospect Name) Should I stay or should I go?

Email body:

Dear _________,

I haven’t heard from you and that tells me one of three things:

1) You do not have a need at the moment or you have already chosen another company for this.

2) You are still interested, but you have not yet had time to answer me.

3) You have fallen and cannot get up, and in that case please let me know and I will call 911 for you…

Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to get worried.

Honestly, kidding aside, I understand that you’re so busy, and the last thing I want to do is have a sore neck once a week. Whether your schedule has been too demanding or gone in another direction, I would appreciate it if you would take a second to let me know so I can follow up accordingly.

Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing from you.


If you’re smiling reading this, so will your prospect! Again, this is a high percentage email that gets a response about 60% of the time. Compare that to your current results.

Proven Technique Number Five: If your virtual machine and email campaigns aren’t working, then consider going the extra mile, as a top producer once said, “The extra mile is never crowded.” Even if a prospect isn’t on the market right now, as we all know, things change. And when they do, you want to be top of mind so they think of you when they’re finally ready.

The most effective way to do this is by sending physical greeting cards. It is highly effective. In fact, did you know that the number one salesperson in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is a guy named Joe Girard? He was a car salesman and sold an average of six new cars EVERY DAY! How did he do it? He sent a card to every customer and prospect every month (and one for Christmas), 13 cards in all.

Joe was so successful that people had to make appointments with him to buy a car!

There you have it: the five proven voicemail techniques to get your calls returned. Follow them and you will be much more successful than you are now. Don’t follow them and, well, you know how that goes.

Copyright (c) 2016 Mr. Inside Sales

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *