How to Use Voicemail to Get Your Prospects’ Attention

Published on February 15, 2018

Do you get frustrated when your prospects or customers do not return your calls? I know I do. I may be a Sales and Leadership expert, but when I don’t get a return call, I still review what I said to figure out what I need to change in order to get better results.

Remember: Your customers and prospects are just like you. They don’t have enough time to get everything done that they have to do. They are in meetings, running on deadlines, solving problems, and so forth. In the midst of that comes the interruption of your voicemail. To compound matters, when they make time to listen to your voicemail, they probably listen to all of their voicemails. Can you relate?

Here’s what a typical voicemail left on a prospect’s phone sounds like:

Hi, my name is Bob Jones, and I want to talk to you about power tools that will help your company. Please call me at 201-555-7777. 

Considering your prospect’s deadlines and typical work environment and the fact that they have no issue with the power tools they are using, will they even listen to the voicemail long enough to hear your request for a return call? Of course not—because the message was all about you. The typical voicemail is self-focused rather than customer focused.

We get our customers’ attention not by what we do, but by the outcomes we provide. Let’s try this scenario:

Hi Jane, this is Bob Jones and I want to speak with you about a strategy your competitors are using to triple their sales. Please give me a call at 201-555-7777 to further discuss this issue. Have a great day!

This voicemail starts with the customer’s name and then goes straight into the outcome that she is looking for. Then you make the request for a return call. There is nothing in this message about your products and what you do.

To get people’s attention you must lead with the outcomes (the What). The products and services you offer are the How (how you deliver those results). Lead with the What and leave the How out of it. Wondering about the How is what will make them call you back. If you supply the How too early, it lands on deaf ears and they feel like they already have the solution, meaning there is no need to call you back.

For existing customers, the process is the same. Leave the outcome on the message to inspire a return call.

Does this work? You bet it does. A sales exec in medical radiology equipment complained to me that radiologists were not returning her calls. It turned out her message was the same old message that just doesn’t work:

Hi, my name is Jenna and I work for XYX company. Please call me at 201-555-7777 so I can discuss our new equipment with you. 

No return calls. Then she changed her message:

Hi Jonathan, this is Jenna. If you are tired of the doctors calling you constantly and sometimes waking you up in the middle of the night over lost films, please call me back. I have a solution to share with you. My number is 201-555-7777.

Now her call-back rate is 60 percent. Here’s why:

  1. Her message is customer focused on an outcome they are looking for.
  2. She uses the word share—people like having things shared with them.
  3. She does not explain the solution in her message. To get the solution, they have to call her back.

Motivation matters. When you provide the solution in your voicemail message, you remove a prospect’s motivation to call you back. Pique their interest with the outcomes, but save the solutions until you are talking one on one. It’s a surefire method to get the call-backs you are looking for. Call me if your team needs help.

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