In the past month, I’ve received around 60 voicemails from 20 salespeople. This was by design: I signed up for free trials, filled out forms, registered for webinars, and requested to speak to sales specialists so I could learn how reps at different companies and industries left sales voicemails.

Despite the variety of products, verticals, and target markets, most salespeople left the exact same voicemail:

Hi Aja, this is John from Company X. Uh, I’d love to talk to you about how [product] can help you with your [business area] goals. Can you give me a call at 907-867-5309? That’s, uh, 907-867-5309. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a good day.”

These messages were boring, generic, and completely devoid of value. In addition, the salespeople usually sounded like they were reciting a script -- which would have made me feel even less motivated to call them back if I was actually looking to buy something.

As this experiment shows, the typical rep doesn’t leave engaging voicemails. But there’s a simple exercise they can use once a day …

Access Now: 16 Free Sales Voicemail Script Templates

The Daily Routine That’ll Vastly Improve Your Voicemails

Sales coach and speaker Paul Castain says reps can dramatically boost their voicemail chops in fewer than five minutes per day.

“At the start of your day, call your voicemail and leave yourself a message,” he writes.

You can practice leaving a voicemail for a real prospect or a hypothetical one, whichever you prefer. Castain recommends sticking to 30 seconds or less: Effective voicemails get to the point quickly. In addition, the shorter your message, the sooner you can return to your other tasks.

Around noon, listen to your voicemail. Reflect on what you did well and where you could improve.

At the end of the day, call your voicemail and leave yourself another message. Listen to your morning message followed by the one you just recorded. Is there an improvement? Did you apply the insights from your mid-day reflection?

Do this five times a week, and your voicemail skills will get noticeably better.

What to Look Out For

Listening critically to your messages isn’t productive if you don’t know what to look for.

Here’s a checklist you can use to evaluate your messages:

  • Tone: Do I sound like I’m leaving a voicemail for a friend? Is my tone conversational and natural, or overly enthusiastic and “salesy”?
  • Content: Have I enhanced the listener’s life in some way -- by providing a tip, asking them a thought-provoking question, or letting them know I’ve emailed them something of value?
  • Length: Is my message as brief as possible while communicating everything it needs to? Does it come in under 30 seconds?
  • Salesiness: Would I personally hang up at any point before the message is over because it feels like I’m being sold to?
  • Specificity: Could this message apply to almost any buyer or is it tailored to a specific prospect?
  • Call-to-action: Is my CTA clear and specific? Will the listener know exactly which action to take next (whether that’s returning my call, checking their email, talking to team member, etc.)?
  • Superfluity: Does every line in my voicemail have a purpose, or do I add throwaway phrases like, “Have a great day,” or “I look forward to speaking with you”?
  • Details: Did I leave my phone number twice? Is it easy for my prospect to hear, or do I rush through it?

Once you’ve gotten into the habit of leaving yourself hypothetical voicemails and analyzing them for weaknesses, your ability to leave real ones will get markedly better.

Do you have tips for improving your messages? Let us know in the comments!

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Originally published Nov 9, 2016 7:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017


Sales Voicemails