Considering how often cold calls go to voicemail, your ability to leave compelling sales voicemails can have an enormous impact on your success during the prospecting stage.
Fortunately, this is a sales skill that can be learned and perfected. In this article, we’ll discuss why sales voicemails are important, eight tactics you can use to craft better messages, and three simple voicemail scripts worth stealing. Let’s get started!
Will prospects even listen to my message, or will it just be deleted as soon as it’s received? If my message is heard, what are my chances of getting a response? Shouldn’t I just focus on email and forget sales voicemails altogether?
These are legitimate questions and the answers will vary depending on your industry and individual prospects. In all honesty, your response rate with sales voicemails probably won’t be high—the average response rate for a prospecting voicemail is between 4-6%, industry wide. You’ll probably see more engagement using email. And leaving the perfect message takes planning and practice.
With so much stacked against you, why bother? Because the responses to sales voicemails are generally of a much higher quality. What you lose in response rate will be made up for in conversion rate—if you know how to leave quality messages, that is.
Ready to start leaving voicemails that demand responses and turn prospects into customers? These eight tips will put you on the right track.
Calling just to “check in” isn’t a relevant reason unless your prospect has specifically asked you to. It’s just a lazy excuse to get someone on the phone and it hardly ever works. Instead, find common ground between you and your leads.
For example, perhaps you noticed that a prospect downloaded an eBook from your company’s website. You could mention this in your voicemail. Something along the lines of, “Hi John, this is Mike from Company XYZ. I noticed you downloaded our guide to working with influencers…”
Context will make your message sound much more authentic and will result in a higher response rate.
Remember, your prospects (and you too, if you’re honest) care mainly about themselves. In other words, your sales voicemails will be much more successful if the benefit to the prospect is clearly stated.
Why should they respond to you? How will your product or service help them? Will it make their job easier or allow them to get more done in less time? These are examples of real benefits and your sales voicemails need to contain something similarly beneficial.
The tone of your voice when leaving sales voicemails is almost as important as the actual words you say. If you obviously sound like a salesman, your message will be deleted before it even ends. You want to speak in a tone of voice thats friendly, confident, and casual—not overly excited, nervous, or desperate-sounding.
“Smile when you are talking and put energy behind your words,” says Charlene DeCesare, a veteran sales advisor and founder of Firewalk Sales School. “Even though they can’t see you, your emotion will come through. If you let it, the power of your voice will be far more effective than any written communication.”
Remember that the speed of your words can negatively impact your message as well. “If you have to rush to get a message into the amount of time allotted for a voicemail message, you’re saying too much,” DeCesare advises. “Say less and slow down. You want them to feel that talking to you will make their lives less stressful. If you’re frantic and mumbling on the phone, it gives them a foreshadowing of what it will be like to work with you.”
The Serial Position Effect states that the human brain is most adept at recalling the first and last items in a series. For sales reps, this psychological phenomenon means that your voicemails are much more likely to be remembered if they’re listened to at the beginning or the end of the day.
However, keep in mind that your prospects might be faced with a lot more distractions at the beginning of the day. “The morning is the worst time to orchestrate a voicemail,” says Zachary Weiner, CEO of Emerging Insider Communications. “Most decision makers have a lot on their plate when the day starts. Finding them when they have a bit more mind-share is often more conducive to a positive reply.”
It’s important to mention your follow-up plans in your sales voicemails. Sometimes just the knowledge that you’ll call again is enough to entice a prospect to respond. Let them know that if you don’t hear back from them, you’ll follow up in a few days or next week.
Professional development educator Dr. Ray Lauk sent us this great piece of advice, which he credits to veteran sales trainer Stan Piskorski:
“When closing your voicemail, say that if you do not hear from them in three days, you promise to call back. Three days later, start your voicemail (or live call if you reach the person) with, ‘As promised, I am calling again to share…’ Close with, ‘If you haven’t had a chance to return my call, I promise to call back in two days.’ Two days later, call back and open with, ‘As promised, I am calling back…’ The message you are sending is that you keep your promises!”
The whole point of sales voicemails is to begin a conversation with prospects. If a prospect is unclear on how to reach you or can’t decipher what you’re saying, you can kiss that lead goodbye.
Make it as easy as possible for your prospects by including your phone number near the beginning of the message, then repeating your contact information near the end for good measure.
“The phone number early in the conversation is key,” advises John Crossman, CEO of real estate firm Crossman & Company. “If it is a long message with a phone number at the end, I may not even listen to it.”
Sending an email to each prospect before you call gives them an additional way to get in touch with you when they’re ready. As you’re leaving your voicemail, mention that you’ve sent them a quick email as well that has further details on who you are and the purpose of your call. As Florin Tatulea of Loopio explains:
“The way I see voicemail is that the main purpose of it is to direct the prospect to your email. You only really have five or 10 seconds within that voicemail to capture their attention, so I have a specific script that I use which makes sure that they know who I am and where I’m calling from so that they can go back to their inbox and then search it up…I’ll say, “Hi Scott, this is Florin calling from Loopio. I sent you an email yesterday regarding improving your RFP response process. But I have not heard back from you. Can you give it a quick glance and reply back? Again it’s Florin calling from Loopio.'”
Finally, the length of your sales voicemails is important. Research suggests that messages under 30 seconds long perform best. This should give you enough time to convey important information without wasting any of your prospect’s valuable time.
“Keep your voicemail messages short, sweet, and snappy,” advises Will Craig, Managing Director of LeaseFetcher. “Don’t try and go into the nitty gritty details of the discussion you’d like to have with them—save that for your actual chat. Alternatively, don’t leave them in the dark about what you want to talk about either. A simple 20-second voicemail letting them know the nature of your query will suffice.”
Here’s an advanced technique for all you overachievers. It’s “advanced” because it’s rarely used, not because it’s difficult. The trick? Leave two sales voicemails instead of one. Let us explain:
First, call your prospect and leave a concise 15-second message. This voicemail should include the bulk of the information you want to share: your reason for calling, benefits to the prospect, etc.
Your second call should happen immediately after your first voicemail. In this message, quickly say, in 10 seconds or less, an important detail you neglected to mention during your first call.
This tactic works because it makes you more memorable and makes your messages seem genuine and less rehearsed. Give it a try and see if it will work for you too!
They say that the best way to achieve success is to first mimic the success of those who have gone before you. With that in mind, here are three amazing scripts you can borrow, manipulate, and use to boost your response rate from sales voicemails.
This script is quite simple and to the point. But it still does a great job of highlighting prospect benefits and the follow-up plan.
“Hello, this is [Your Name] from [Your Company Name]. I’m calling because [insert reason for calling]. I’d love to talk to you about [insert benefit you can offer if they call back]. My number is [insert phone number]. I’ll also follow up with an email tomorrow. I look forward to hearing what you think. Have a great day. Goodbye!”
Dan Grim, CEO/Founder of Good Stuff Tonics and Melior Botanicals, keeps his script even simpler:
“Hey [Prospect’s Name], this is [Your Name] from [Your Company Name]. I have a question for you. Please call me back at [insert phone number].”
As Dan tells us, “This is the only strategy I’ve ever seen consistently work—but when they call back you’d better have a question ready!”
Conducting extra research on your prospects before you call them is always a good idea. This script from Mike Brooks is a great example of how you can use this additional information in your sales voicemails.
“Hi [Prospect’s Name], this is [Your Name] with [Your Company Name]. You and I haven’t spoken yet, but I’ve been doing some research on your company and I think you’re a great fit for [Your Company’s Solution]. We can provide you with [Top Two Product Benefits] and I know you’ll be happy if we spend just a couple of minutes discussing how this can help you.
When you get this message, please call me back at [Your Phone Number]. That number again is [Your Phone Number] and ask for [Your Name]. I look forward to speaking with you, and I guarantee you’ll be glad you returned this call.”
Sometimes a little humor is the perfect tactic to break through a prospect’s defenses and get them to call you back. This script adapted from Michael Freer will make your leads chuckle and be much more inclined to respond.
“Dear [Prospect’s Name], this is [Your Name]. On [Date of Last Contact], I contacted you about [Reason for Previous Call] and as I haven’t heard from you, I can only assume you’re either, one, not interested and I’m simply clogging up your voicemail with annoying spam messages; or, two, you desperately want to contact me, but you’re trapped under a fallen filing cabinet and can’t reach your phone. Please let me know which one it is. I’ll gladly send help if it’s the latter. Just call me back at [Your Phone Number]. Thanks for your time!”
Your ability to leave compelling sales voicemails may be the difference between hitting or missing your sales goals. They’re that important!
The tips outlined above will ensure you leave quality messages your prospects want to respond to. Go ahead and start implementing them. Rehearse multiple scripts and experiment with different approaches.
If you only remember one thing from this article, remember that your sales voicemails need to be centered on your prospect. What’s in it for them? Answer that question and you’ll undoubtedly see your response rate rise. Happy messaging!
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