Do you get voicemails from anyone other than your mother or grandmother? With the prevalence of email and text messaging, voicemails can seem somewhat antiquated. On the rare occasion that I do receive a voicemail, the caller tends to ramble on without providing anything interesting enough to warrant a response.
So why should you bother leaving a voicemail? According to a recent study, leads are 34% more likely to convert when they receive two voicemails on six missed calls. When 97% of sales calls go to voicemail, the ability to leave a sales voicemail that works can be the difference between making a connection and losing an opportunity.
Voicemails play a critical role in sales prospecting. However, like any aspect of the sales process, it takes practice and skill to create the perfect voicemail. Below are 8 tips for leaving a sales voicemail that will pique interest and earn a callback.
8 Ways to Improve Your Sales Voicemails
1. Smile like you mean it
One of the first cold call lessons I was given was to smile while delivering my pitch. Obviously, the prospect couldn’t see me, but they could pick up on my energy. No one wants to hear a monotone message. It won’t grab the person’s attention and it doesn’t impart a good impression of your company’s brand.
Show some excitement and deliver your message as if you were talking to the individual in person. It sounds cheesy, but you can actually tell when someone speaks with a smile on their face – even over the phone.
2. Lead with something relevant
You have approximately 2 seconds to grab a prospect’s attention. “Hello. This is Jim Bob with XYZ company, and I’m calling because…” isn’t exactly an attention-grabbing hook. It gives the impression that a sales pitch is coming and the listener is likely thinking: “I’m not interested and I wish you’d take me off your list.”
Begin the conversation with something relevant to the prospect. For instance, “Hey Tony, I’ve been doing some research on your company, and I think can shrink your costs up to 25%.” sparks interest by demonstrating you may be able to provide something of value.
3. Keep the message short
Once you’ve captured their attention, it’s important not to ramble. The ideal length of a voicemail is less than 20 seconds. Brief, purposeful messages are always better than selfish monologues. Keeping it succinct enables a prospect to quickly decipher the message and decide if it’s worthy of a callback.
A short message forces you to get to the relevant points quickly. You want the receiver to take action, which requires a compelling reason. It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to sell someone over voicemail. The purpose of your 20-second message is to create interest. Not to mention, brevity shows you respect the person’s time.
4. Be clear – literally
It may sound obvious, but make sure you speak clearly when leaving a voicemail. Speak slowly; make it easy for a prospect to understand you and the value of your message. Articulating your words makes you appear professional and knowledgeable. To the prospect, that translates to you potentially being a good use of their time.
Even if you are a champion at enunciating, ensure that your microphone isn’t too close to your mouth and there isn’t background noise. The last thing you want is for potential clients have to listen to the voicemail three times, just to write down the callback number.
5. Name drop
Referencing a peer or mutual connection in your voicemail improves the odds of getting a callback. Studies have shown that 92% of buyers trust referrals from people they know. It’s logical that if a prospect hears a familiar name in a voicemail, they’re more likely to respond.
Social selling is a powerful sales tool. Why not use it to your advantage in a voicemail? Identify mutual connections on LinkedIn and leverage those contacts to increase your odds of eliciting a response from a prospect. Establish the common connection early: “Janet. You used to work with a college friend of mine at XYZ company. This is Jim Bob.”
6. Promise (and deliver) a follow-up email
Send a follow-up email after leaving your voice message. An email gives a prospect options by allowing them the opportunity to respond without picking up the phone. We all have busy schedules; finding time for a phone conversation can be a challenge.
With an email follow up, you can (briefly) reiterate your message add a link where they can learn more before taking a meeting. Whether the prospect responds via email or phone, they’re responding. That’s the goal of leaving a voicemail in the first place.
7. Leave a voicemail late in the day
There’s one good reason to call when a prospect is likely wrapping up the workday? Because no one else is! A study by MIT compiled data from thousands of sales calls and discovered the best time to call a prospect is between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
Calling at the end of the day may give you the best odds to connect with a prospect. If they don’t answer, your voicemail will be the first thing they hear when they get into the office in the morning. Prospects are more likely to remember a voicemail at the beginning or end of the day, which increases your odds of a return call.
8. Don’t beg for a callback
There’s no shortage of dating analogies and sales. Here’s another one for you: whether you’re trying to landing a date or a meeting, don’t beg. “Please give me a call as soon as possible” sounds needy, and is unlikely to yield a response. Desperation is unattractive in either arena.
How you finish your voicemail is almost as important as how you begin it. Confidence and optimism are more likely to result in a callback than desperation. Finish the message assuredly and be sure to restate your information: “Let’s talk soon. You can reach me at 867-5309. Again, this is Jim Bob.”
Leaving an intriguing voicemail improves your odds of receiving a response, but what is your follow-up strategy? In a perfect world, prospects would listen to your voicemail and respond right away. In reality, they may get busy and leave it sitting in an inbox.
Don’t give up! It takes an average of 8 phone calls to reach a prospect. Sellers are well-served by perfecting the art of leaving a voicemail. Practice different techniques, test multiple variations, and use a variety of mediums for follow up to increase your chances of successfully connecting with a prospect.
Your ability to leave a voicemail that works can be the difference in earning and losing an opportunity. Don’t miss these 8 ways to improve your sales voicemails.
Learn more about the best practices of top performing sales reps in our latest research.