Voicemail - Friend or Foe!! | The Sales Manager

Voicemail - Friend or Foe!!

Whether to leave a voicemail or not is something of a contentious issue. Technology - and the prevalence of email - has changed how we communicate in business. But in the same way that I’ve argued for the continued relevance of cold calling, as long as it’s done well leaving voicemails can be a really effective way of approaching prospects.
So, the question is less ‘should sales reps leave voicemails?’ and more ‘how can reps leave amazing voicemails?’ Given that leaving messages can be time-consuming, to see a return they need to:

A:  Maximise is chances of a return call
B:  Minimise the time spent leaving them  
The biggest argument against spending time leaving voicemails is that the response rate is very low. But compare ten voicemails left and one return call with ten calls made without leaving a message and no returns. That’s a 100% difference - a pretty impressive percentage jump!
The goal of every telesales representative is to find prospects that are ready to buy. Chances are if they’re returning your call, it’s because they’re further along in their buying cycle and these are the leads you are really going to want to be talking to. With voicemails, it’s less about the quantity of returns and everything to do with the quality.
Here’s my top ten tips to leave the perfect sales voicemail:
1.        Speak with energy and enthusiasm
We all know how easy it is to switch off when you’re listening to a drab, monotone voice message. Keep them engaged by speaking with energy. Physically smile as you talk if it helps!
2.       Mention your contact details twice
But don’t open with them. ‘Hi Sean, this is Julie from The Sales manager...’ is fine but hardly screams originality. Give them just one point of contact - your phone number - and repeat it to give them time to find a pen. The harder you make it for your contact to call you back, the less likely they are to bother.
3.        Keep it short
Like this tip. 30 seconds max.
4.        Don’t remind them that they didn’t call you back last time
Create a new reason to call every time. If you’re ringing to ‘check in’ or ‘follow up on your previous unreturned call’, they’re no more likely to call back this time round. That being said, if they haven’t returned your call, absolutely do try them again. Second or third time’s a charm!
5.        Personalise
Always ensure you know who you’re speaking to, why you’re ringing and how you can solve a problem for them.
6.        Add context and relevance
How did you hear about them? Was it through John at ABC Marketing? Have you just connected on LinkedIn? Put your call into a real world context and it will take the cold edge off and ensure you leave your prospect a little warmer.
7.        Don’t try and make the sale in a voice message
You cannot and should not try to give every detail of every product or service you offer in a voice message. It will drag on, increase the likelihood of the prospect deleting your message and allow them to make a decision without the need to call you back at all. Give them just enough to get them interested. If they’re ready to buy, they’ll call you back, if they’re not they’re more likely to remember you when they are.
8.        Elude to urgency
Without being too bossy, let them know they need to call you back now.
9.        It’s all in the timing
Similarly to cold calling prospects, a message left on Monday morning or Friday afternoon is less likely to be returned than a midweek call. Try leaving your message early, between 7am and 8.30am, or at the end of the day, between 4.30pm and 6pm, for the best results.
10.      Automation
Finally, and this is a slight tangent, there’s some interesting technology out there for automating your voicemail message. Be careful this doesn’t lead to generic or repetitive messaging to the same person, but for small businesses that are short on telesales time, it’s a good way to ensure your contact details are left in a professional manner without spending all day on the phone.
So, in answer to the question ‘voicemail - friend or foe?’ the answer is actually both. Follow the tips here to leave a professional, enticing message and voicemail can be a great way to approach prospects. But leave a rambling, undirected message and you’re better off not bothering!