Leaving voicemails can be a stressful endeavor for salespeople. You only have an extremely short window of time to capture your prospects’ attention, and the fact that you have to do it live is just added pressure.
But as with any skill, practice (and feedback) makes perfect.
Conversation insights technology company ExecVision hosts a monthly Call Camp with founder Steve Richard and rotating guests to listen to real sales calls and provide constructive tips. This month, Richard invited inside sales evangelist Trish Bertuzzi, author of The Sales Development Playbook and founder of The Bridge Group to review five different attendee-submitted voicemails and provide real-time feedback. The 11 tips below are Bertuzzi and Richard’s advice to leave the perfect voicemail for sales.
11 Sales Voicemail Tips From Trish Bertuzzi
1) Voicemails aren’t just about callbacks.
In any sales process, reps will use a combination of different touches -- social media, voicemail, email, for example -- to reach their prospects. Instead of viewing every touchpoint as an attempt to get a response, Bertuzzi recommends thinking about your outreach holistically as the story you’re telling about your product. Voicemails designed to trigger a callback -- as opposed to telling a part of your story or teaching your prospect something -- are just one part of that.
2) Be different and relevant.
“People are inundated with white noise and you need to stand out from the crowd,” Bertuzzi says.
Deliver something of value to your prospects and include a soundbite to arouse your prospect’s curiosity to avoid blending into everyone else’s attempts.
3) Be specific about your ask.
Don’t ask your prospect to read an email or check out a white paper. If they do that, what’s next? Are they supposed to call you back and talk about it? Take some other sort of action?
Be incredibly clear. Say, “Please email me back” or “Please call me back.” Bertuzzi even recommends adding a timeframe sometimes.
4) Don’t mention your previous outreach attempts.
Obviously, these were failures, or else you wouldn’t have to keep calling back. Instead of dwelling on the past, state the objective of your call, what value you’ll deliver, and make your ask.
5) Don’t ever leave fake voicemails.
If you want to pretend to be one of your prospect’s prospects, misrepresent about some part of your product, or are just generally thinking about being dishonest in some way, don’t. Starting a relationship by being duplicitous will taint everything that comes after.
6) Leave your cell phone number with your prospect.
During the call camp, several attendees who submitted voicemails left their company’s 800-number with their prospect. In Bertuzzi’s eyes, these numbers seem generic and even if your voicemail message was very tailored, reciting an 800-number ruins the personalization of the message.
Instead, leave your cell phone number and indicate that it’s your personal line. Not only will the number feel more personal and less corporate, the fact that it’s a cell phone demonstrates that you’re making yourself available to your prospect any time.
7) Don’t recite your business card at the beginning of the call.
One of Bertuzzi’s pet peeves is when salespeople waste valuable time at the front of a voicemail reciting their name, company name, and number. Reps who do this throw away an opportunity to immediately capture their prospects’ attention.
“If you’re human and relevant, you can just start talking,” Bertuzzi said.
8) Avoid buzzwords.
A few of the voicemails played at the call camp were first touches, which meant the salespeople had to explain who they were and what their company did -- and several did so with buzzwords.
Especially if their companies are bleeding-edge, salespeople should be careful to avoid jargon. They have a great opportunity to educate their prospects about a new concept, but shouldn’t assume things and risk confusion.
9) Don’t end your call with “Have a great day.”
“This is a phrase people use because they’re uncomfortable ending with an ask,” Bertuzzi says.
However, Bertuzzi believes the phrase indicates that the salesperson has already accepted they won’t be getting a call back and makes it sound like the relationship is wrapped.
10) Don’t say “call me at any time.”
Here’s another phrase that you might think is a throwaway but actually adds confusion. Always be as specific as possible so your prospect knows exactly what to do. Adding a timeframe also adds a sense of urgency to the process.
11) Leave your number twice.
To be safe, always say your phone number twice at the end of a call to make sure your prospect’s heard it. Maybe they didn’t have a pen or you garbled your words the first time you said your number. Saying it twice makes it easier for your prospects to get the information they need without having to play back the entire voicemail.
What do you think of these tips? Any voicemail strategies you swear by? Let us know in the comments below.
Originally published Jul 18, 2016 7:30:00 AM, updated February 21 2019