First-time sales outreach response is plummeting. According to Jill Konrath, 97% of all business calls now go to voicemail.
It's never been more important for salespeople to be good at leaving voicemails. Not only that, but voicemail can -- and should -- be measured, coached, and improved.
Through personal experience and research, I’ve been able to identify the most effective voicemail script -- along with the keys to implementing it -- so you leave voicemails that generate an incredible response every time.
Hello, this is [Your Name] from [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!
Protect your script from becoming wooden with repetition. Instead, use bullet points to stay on track while keeping your tone and delivery casual.
The key to making a bullet-pointed script work is to practice. You can't read it line-for-line, so it's important to work out the kinks before you place your call.
Here are my effective voicemail script bullets:
Reason for calling
Benefit of calling you back
Your contact information
Promise of a follow-up email
To see these script bullets in action, I've outlined a scenario below:
"Hello, Amy. This is Don with Marketers Plus.
I'm calling because you downloaded our guide to building successful holiday marketing campaigns, and I have a case study you might find valubale. It's all about how Company B raised holiday email open rates by 25% and saw a 10% increase in revenue using Marketers Plus.
If you'd like to learn more, my number is 123-456-7890. I'll also follow up with an email containing the case study. I look forward to hearing what you think. Have a great day."
This voicemail is simple, packed with value, and straightforward. It also sets the tone for what doing business with you is like. But delivery is everything. So, take a look at these tips for implementing your voicemail script like a pro.
4 Tips for Implementing Your Voicemail Script Perfectly
Tip 1. Practice
If you want to improve your voicemail performance, get deliberate in your practice. This means creating a highly structured practice routine that offers ample opportunity for repetition and immediate feedback.
This sales voicemail practice consists of three phases: before, during, and after.
Before you dial
Before you make any calls, start with setting a goal for your voicemails that day. Will you be working on your tone? Your passion? The length of the message? Whatever it is, decide how to accomplish that goal by developing specific, technique-oriented plans.
While leaving the message
During voicemails, focus on execution in the moment. This process, called metacognition, enables you to mentally observe your own process from the outside. Develop this skill and you will be able to react to changing conditions quickly, in addition to improving your voicemail skills.
After you hang up
After each voicemail, evaluate your performance. Most voicemail systems provide the option of listening to the voicemail you just left. Listen to the recording -- it will not lie. The recording gives you the most specific feedback for improvement. Doing this as much as possible will improve your voicemail performance more than anything else.
Approach voicemails with a scientific outlook, and score each one. Create a score sheet with a rating system that addresses the following:
Would you save that voicemail?
Would you return that call?
Would you return that call right away?
Are you missing the basics (alternative phone number, optimal ways to get in touch, a fall back person to call)?
Did you craft it or wing it?
Save the highest rated voicemails. And be honest about which ones you would delete. Those are the ones that need your attention. Separate those elements that need help, and focus on one at a time until perfect voicemails become second nature.
Continue to test voicemails as you score your results. For example, RingDNA finds the best times to call are 6:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The worst times are Monday mornings (6:00 a.m. to noon) and Friday afternoons. Try different call times and see what works for you.
Remember, you need real-world situations to prepare for the sales game. Role play with colleagues and friends to get honest feedback on your voicemails.
Tip 2. Be personable and straightforward
As you practice and score your sales voicemails, you’ll start to determine some best practices. Write these down, and use them as an outline for future calls. Here are a few of my best practices.
Leave your telephone number twice
This ensures understanding and helps the prospect write it down accurately. However, don’t repeat yourself -- say the same thing in a different way. For example: “Call me back at 8-7-7-9-7-7-8-0-8-0. Again, that is 8-7-7-9-77-80-80."
Use the prospect’s name often
People pay attention when their name is mentioned. After all, they have been conditioned to pay attention to their name their whole life. If you want to get someone’s attention, use their name.
Include a credible example
Who have you helped? If you don’t speak with authority, borrow it.
Keep it to 17 seconds or less
Too many reps are the inside sales equivalent of chatty grandmas -- pitching solutions, discussing features, and offering value propositions over a voicemail. Long voicemails are not going to get you responses. Quite the contrary.
Voicemails should be 17 seconds or less. They should merely pique a prospect’s interest. Save your real pitch for an actual sales call.
Always provide context
Whether it's your last encounter or a recent ebook download, have a relevant reason for calling in order to get the prospect's attention.
Offer clear value
State upfront how you can help the prospect. Are you saving them time or money, or helping them get promoted? Let them know the benefit.
Ask for what you want
Clearly state your purpose and the next steps. Whether it's a demo, an appointment, or the best contact to talk to, simply ask for it.
Tip 3. Do your research
The difference between a cold voicemail and a warm voicemail is research. Research creates a distinction compelling a prospect to return your call over the countless others in their voice mailbox.
Visit the prospect’s website and investigate their solutions. Use tools and technology that collect more information about the prospect, such as their social profiles, their past experience, their connections, and so on.
Find a piece of connective tissue, such as an alma mater, a favorite sports team, or a common pet (I’m a dog lover, personally). This opens the conversation, and shows that you’ve done your research.
Your research should include finding other people in the prospect’s organization. Selecting the right people, such as the prospect’s manager or department head, facilitates the ability to build rapport and adds a sense of urgency when you mention them in the voicemail.
When you build rapport, you’ve got more influence and you'll get more callbacks.
Tip 4. Be positive
If you want your prospects to get back to you, you better sound exciting. If you have a monotone voice or sound generally unenthusiastic on a voicemail, you are almost certainly not going to get a response.
Remember, the idea is for prospects to want to talk to you. Your tone can make or break the voicemail. So, remember, you’re not bothering them; you’re enlightening them. If you have a purpose for calling, you’re never going to trouble them.
A positive attitude extends to your voice and how you’re speaking. At the same time, if the prospect can’t hear or understand you, all of your work is wasted. Follow the four Cs:
Be Clear. Drink water, clear your throat, invest in a good headset, phone, etc.. Be aware of your accent or the way you say words or numbers.
Be Concise. Keep it short and simple.
Use a good Cadence. Don’t be afraid of strategic pauses, and vary the speed of your delivery.
Be Compelling. Speak with authority.
Perhaps the biggest mistake in a sales voicemail is pitching too aggressively. If you sound like a smarmy used car salesperson, your prospects are going to delete your voicemails faster than you can say “lowest price guaranteed!”
Avoid sales speak and buzzwords. It’s okay if your prospect knows you're a sales rep. Qualified prospects don’t mind hearing from sales reps. They just want to speak to reps that are helpful, knowledgeable, and possess integrity.
Most importantly, have fun with it. If you don't enjoy leaving a voicemail, you might not be in the right job.
Voicemails can add value, whether or not a prospect calls you back right away. Even if a voicemail triggers an email response or call back six months down the line, it's valuable. The better your voicemails, the more likely you'll get a response.
Originally published Feb 22, 2018 4:43:00 PM, updated February 21 2019