Sales Advice: Tips for Getting a Call-back from Your Voicemail

Devon-McDonald by

In a sales position, particularly a Lead Qualification role at an expansion stage business, voicemails are one of the key touch points when it comes to building new relationships and ultimately generating new opportunities.

That being said, a Lead Qualifier’s voicemail needs to be incredibly polished, precise and thought-provoking in order to increase the chances of catching the prospect’s attention enough that he/she will actually pick up the phone and call you back.

Microsoft’s Small Business Center’s Jeff Wuorio, offers 5 tips for leaving voicemails and making an impact (aka a call back):

  1. Get to the purpose of our call quickly – give the context
  2. Give your contact information at the very beginning of the message
  3. Don’t give the date and time of your call – the recipients machine will record that
  4. Don’t leave too many messages in a short period of time
  5. Avoid leaving messages about multiple topics – keep it simple

Here are some additional tips that I can offer as a Sales and Marketing Support Analyst at OpenView Labs, the management consulting arm of our Venture Capital firm:

  1. Do your research. Look on LinkedIn and see if there is anything that you have in common with this person… Did you go the same school? Did you previously work at the same company? Does your Great Aunt Sally live in their hometown? Use that commonality as an icebreaker, and have a sense of humor about it.
  2. Show enthusiasm. The person listening to the message should think that this is the only voicemail that you have left today.
  3. Name drop. Mention the person within the company that referred you, and mention competitors that your business has worked with…
  4. Don’t give away too much information. Give them some incentive to call you back!
  5. Keep an eye on the clock. The ideal voicemail is anywhere from :15-:40 seconds long.
  6. Get the prospect’s assistant live after the VM. Find out valuable information from this person, and make sure that they know that you have left messages and are trying to get in touch.

When thinking about effective sales and marketing support, I am always looking for creative ways of leaving voicemails… Here is a suggestion that blogger, Peter O’Donoghue of Sales DNA offers. He calls it his “magic voicemail,” and he claims that 50% of people call back after the message has been left.

“Hi John, it’s Joe Shmoe from ACME INC, I was in a meeting this morning and your name came up. I have a couple of quick questions that only you can answer. Can you please give me a call back at (xxx-xxx-xxxx)?”
So why does it work? Peter claims that it appeals to the curiosity of the person… Why were they talking about me in a meeting? What were they saying? And there is a psychological emphasis on, “Only you can answer my questions”… This raises the level of importance of the person, and feeds to the prospect’s ego.
If you are a cold caller – give it a shot! Let me know if this strategy works for you!