A major portion of B2B sales phone prospecting calls will end up going to voicemail. For that reason, getting your best results depends on solid voicemail techniques.
When it comes to voicemail messages, here are eight tips that’ll transform your strategy -- and ultimately, your prospects’ responses.
1) Go in with the right expectations
I often hear salespeople complain prospects never return their calls after they’ve left a voicemail. That means the salesperson expects the prospect to call them back if she’s interested.
So when no one calls back, their expectations are not met -- and they think either their product isn't in-demand, or they are not a good salesperson. Neither of these conclusions are correct. In reality, the rep’s expectations were off.
Prospects (especially decision makers) are extremely busy and get a large volume of calls, emails, and voicemails from people trying to sell them something. If they listen to and return calls from people they don’t know, their productivity suffers.
Don’t get frustrated when the prospect does not call you back, and don’t factor that into how interested you think they are.
2) Use a mix of voicemail messages and calls with no messages
Plan when you’ll leave a message and when you’ll hang up without leaving one. For example, if you’re calling a prospect multiple times in one week, you might leave a message on every fifth attempt. If you’re spreading out your calls, try leaving a voicemail every one to two weeks.
Varying your touches makes you seem less pushy. This technique also makes it easier to leave a unique voicemail each time.
3) Educate the prospect
The goal of most voicemails is getting the prospect to call back.
“Hello [prospect], this is [name] from [company] and we provide [services]. I would like to schedule a meeting with you to see if you need what we provide. Please give me a call back at your earliest convenience at [phone number].”
Try changing that goal to educating the prospect on why they should talk with you.
“Hello [prospect], this is [name] from [company].
I’m calling because we find many [prospect's job title] have challenges with:
Common pain point #1
Common pain point #2
Common pain point #3
I will try you again next week. If you would like to reach me in the meantime, my number is [number].
Again, this is [name] calling from [company]. Thank you, and I look forward to talking with you soon.”
4) Don’t use salesy messaging
Your prospect receives a lot of calls, emails, and voicemails from salespeople. Make your message stand out by decreasing its “salesiness”:
Don’t use jargon or buzzwords.
Avoid clichés, such as, “Are you interested in saving X?”
Don’t directly state your goal of wanting to schedule a meeting where you intend to try to sell to them, such as “I'd like to schedule a brief meeting with you to discuss your needs in [business area].”
Mention a unique fact about your prospect’s company or objectives.
5) Don’t talk about your products and company in your message.
Minimize how much you talk about your product, services, and company in your voicemail. Remember, this isn’t the time to convince them to buy: You’re attempting to provoke interest in a conversation.
Instead of talking about what you sell, talk about the improvements you make, the problems you fix, examples of how you helped, the ways you differ, the ROI you deliver, and so on.
6) Leave different messages every time
You have many powerful details and anecdotes to share with the prospect -- far too many to share in one message. Highlight a new fact or theme every time.
Here is a sample sequence of talking points:
Message #1: Share pain points that your customers often have
Message #2: Share improvements you’re frequently responsible for
Message #3: Share an example of how you helped a person or business
Message #4: Share details around the ROI that you usually deliver
Message #5: Share ways that you differ from your competitors
7) Follow every voicemail with an email
Always send your prospect an email after you’ve left a voicemail. This allows prospects to visually see your name and company and click a link to go to your website for more information. In addition, it's easier for prospects to reply to emails than voicemails -- and they can save emails for future reference.
8) Don’t hand over the responsibility of calling back
To stay in control of the sales process, don’t ask the prospect to call you back. I say something like:
“I will try you again next week. If you want to reach me before then, my number is [phone number].”
This maintains forward momentum and provides a higher level of service, since you’re not asking the prospect to do anything.
Those are a few of my tips for improving your B2B prospecting voicemails. I hope this helps you connect with prospects, get your foot in the door of new accounts, and improve your sales results.
Originally published Apr 21, 2017 8:30:00 AM, updated June 15 2021