You found a great lead, and decided to give them a call. But ... they didn't answer. Should you just hang up and try back tomorrow?
Absolutely not. A voicemail is a valuable opportunity to introduce yourself and your business to the prospect. Even if they don't return your call, a thoughtful voicemail could provoke curiosity or positive feelings that'll lay the groundwork for your next outreach attempt.
But just like a monologue or elevator pitch, crafting the perfect sales voicemail can be tricky. The message that works best will be different depending on the buyer's specific situation and the company's unique approach, but here is the skeleton of a solid voicemail:
Let's dig into the components:
1) Always use the prospect's first name.
The days of using titles on the phone are past, and it will make you seem dated and overly formal.
2) Say your name.
If you launch into your spiel before you tell the recipient who's calling, you might forget to say it at all.
3) Say the full name of your company.
Even if there's a common abbreviation, give the full title. You want the buyer to be crystal clear on who's calling and from where.
4) Do your research.
Don't pick up the phone without knowing something about your buyer's company. It could be something big, or something small, but letting the prospect know you did your research will immediately bump up your credibility in their eyes.
5) Get to the issue fast.
If you've properly qualified your lead, you'll have already established that this buyer could benefit from your product or service for a particular reason. So cut to the chase -- rather than talking about your company, talk about their challenge. Their ears will perk up at the mention of something that's been weighing on their mind.
6) Establish credibility.
Again, if this lead fits into your ideal customer persona, you probably have other similar customers you could name drop to boost the buyer's perception of you and your company. If you've worked with a rival company, all the better -- competition is a powerful motivator.
7) Drop a stat.
Everyone likes an eyebrow-raising data point. Just make sure it's one that speaks to the customer's specific problem -- and only one. Don't ramble off all the statistics you have available to you and risk drowning the most impressive point.
8) Mention a referral if you have one.
Referrals are incredibly powerful, and if you have one, cash in that card as soon as you can.
9) Give your phone number.
Self-explanatory, but sometimes forgotten among all the things you're trying to communicate.
10) Don't give them a timeline.
This is just your first contact, so be gentle. Demanding time in someone's schedule who doesn't know you from Adam can make you seem pushy. You haven't done anything for them yet, so don't act like they owe you something.
11) Send an email.
Let the prospect choose to reply in the way they'd prefer.
12) Thank them.
Politeness has never gone out of style, as far as I know. You'll never make someone mad by exercising common coutesy.
13) Foreshadow your next contact.
They don't have to get back to you right now, but set the expectation that they'll certainly be hearing from you, and possibly talking to you (if you play your cards right).
Do you have a first contact voicemail template that you swear by? What does it sound like?
Originally published Oct 9, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017