Sales Voicemails . . . Important or Not?

“…I’m away from my desk at the moment, but will return your call once I get back.  Please leave your name, number, and a short message after the beep.  Thanks.”

How many times have you heard that after calling a prospect?  Hundreds, right?  Me, too.  Did you leave a message?  Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t.  Should you have, though?  Are sales voicemails still important in a day when it seems like no one listens to them?  I think they are, but only dependent upon the following: 

  • Depending on what you say in your message
  • Depending on how you say your message
  • Depending on where you leave the message

Leaving your voicemail message is still important depending on what you say. 

If someone is going to take time out of their busy day to listen to your voicemail, it needs to be relevant to the person that you’re leaving it for.  What about what you’re saying is going to want to make them call you back?  A voicemail message that is targeted to the person that you’re trying to get in touch with is a must.  If I hear another SDR leave a message that says, “…and if you’re not the appropriate person for me to be speaking with, I’d appreciate it you’d return my call and let me know who I should be speaking with,” I’m going to flip out.  Hear me now and believe me later:  If you’re leaving a message for someone that you’re not sure of is your ideal prospect, don’t leave the message.  Ensure that your message is personal to the one you’re leaving it for, connect with them on some level as quickly as possible (read = research them on LinkedIn or Twitter or Instagram and find some common ground), and keep it short.  Give the prospect a reason to want to call you back but be careful – no feature dumping.  Do that, and I’d say your sales voicemail is still important. 

Depending on how you say your message, though, is another determiner of whether or not leaving your voicemail is important. 

Here’s the best tip I’ve ever heard on gauging how good your voicemails are (and I think it was Steve Richard from ExecVision who I heard this from YEARS and YEARS ago):  leave a voicemail message for yourself on your own machine.  Would you call you back?  I’m going to guess that 98% of you would never call yourselves back.  I bet you’re either speaking too fast, you’re boring as hell, or you’re trying to speak off the cuff.  I think what happens when most of us hear that voicemail beep is that we’re too focused on getting to the next call.  We don’t pay attention to what we’re doing because we were really hoping to talk with someone.  Unfortunately, that shows through in the voicemails we’re leaving.  Do yourself a favor and leave that message on your own machine.  Are you talking to fast?  Slow down.  A good rule of thumb is that if you think you’re talking too slow, you’re talking at just the right speed.  Are you bored when you leave your voicemail?  A prospect can hear that through the phone.  Zig Ziglar said, “For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.”  That goes for getting voicemails returned, too.  Oh yeah, and if you’re working off the cuff and not practicing your voicemails, chances are you’re not at your best.  I’m not saying that you need to work off of a script, but you need to practice what you’re saying.  Do all of that, and I’d say it’s likely that leaving a sales voicemail is important. 

Lastly, depending on where you leave your sales voicemail determines its importance or not. 

What I’m talking about here are those times when you get directed to a vendor line or any other kind of generalized voicemail.  They do not get listened to and are a waste of your time.  Not only that, if you’re getting sent to a general voicemail, you’re doing sales prospecting wrong.  Side note:  if you get to one of those inboxes, hit “0#”to get redirected to an operator and start all over again.  Do not, for love of all that is good in this world, leave your message on a voicemail like that.  Nobody finds those messages, let alone finds them to be of any importance.  Make sure you don’t do that, and I’d say that leaving your sales voicemail is important. 

All in all, depending on who you leave it for, how you say it, and where you leave it are all factors in determining whether or not your message is important.  I don’t think we can just make a blanket statement that no sales voicemail is important…not yet anyways.


Image Copyright: oinkstudio / 123RF Stock Photo

Chris Snell

Chris Snell

Chris Snell is Director of Sales and Marketing for QuotaFactory. As the second SDR hired way back in 2002, when the company was formerly known as AG Salesworks, Chris is currently responsible for the sales and marketing efforts of QuotaFactory. Chris lives in southeastern Massachusetts and is the proud father of his two children.

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