6 ways to get your voice mails heard and returned

If you are involved in any type of sales, there’s a good chance you’re making phone calls and not getting through to prospects on the first attempt. It’s part of the game, but can be incredibly frustrating. And, let’s face it: there’s reliable research out there supporting the idea that people are not listening to voice mails anymore, anyway! So maybe it’s futile! Just a big waste of time. While this may be true sometimes, there are certainly other times when leaving a voicemail still can be a profitable endeavor.

Your customer has a voicemail, but will they hear it?

Here are 6 ways to get your voice mails returned:

  • Be sure to leave a voicemail
    I used to be a big proponent of simply “dialing for dollars” and I couldn’t be bothered with leaving a voicemail. My advice to my team was, “screw the voicemail, they’re not listening anyway.” I have since changed my opinion on that and the reason is….smartphones.

    To explain: I have an iPhone, and If someone calls me from a number I don’t recognize, there’s virtually no chance that I’ll return the call. Curious as I may be, I’m just not willing to call an unknown phone number. A can of worms! Instead, I wait for the, “Missed Call & Voicemail” notification. The voicemail just might provide the “edge.” Do you do the same?

    The stats show that your potential prospects do. If your number is unrecognized, or if they’ve been shopping for something, they’re unlikely to return a call that doesn’t have a voicemail attached.

  • Speak clearly enough so the voicemail can be read.
    Wait… what? Read? Not heard?

    Yes! Read! Voicemail transcription is now a standard feature on most smartphones these daysk. This means your prospects are often reading your voicemails, not hearing them. Make sure you speak clearly enough for your prospect’s smartphone to translate your words into text so your message can be clearly communicated and received.

  • Leave a phone number that can be texted.
    Assume the prospect you’re calling is at work and doesn’t get out until 5:00… when you’re closed. The best plan for establishing communication is to leave a “textable” phone number in the voicemail so s/he can simply touch the phone number to text you back.


“Jim, this is Brad, you’re probably at work but there’s an incentive happening this week that you’re going to want to know about. Call me back at 603-555-1212 or text me at 603-555-1213. You can text me back any time and we can communicate that way if it’s more convenient for you.”

You will be far more likely to get a response to your voicemail in this manner, as your prospect probably wants to talk to you but can’t at the moment and won’t later. This small consideration of the manner in which people actually communicate can make all the difference.

  • Make it about your prospect (not about you)
    Very often, voicemails sound something like this:

    “Hey Jim, it’s Brent calling from Local RV, just calling to see if you’re still in the market for an RV or if you already got one. Please call me back at 603-555-1212.”

    The problem with this voicemail is that Brent is making it about Brent, not Jim. Consider these questions:

    Based on this voicemail message

    • What’s in it for Jim to call Brent back?

    • Does Jim actually care that Brent wants to know if he’s still in the market?

    The easy answer to both of those questions is “probably not.”

    If Brent wants a phone call back from Jim, his voicemail message should be customer-focused, and must be void of self-interest.

    “Jim, Brent from Seacoast RV. Last month you mentioned you were waiting for better incentives which is the reason you’re hearing from me right now. The manufacturer just emailed all of us with a special offer of $9,332 off the model you were looking at, and there are only two left right now. Now is probably the time for you to reconsider this so let’s jump on a call and go over details when convenient, or text me back at
    603-555-1213 and we can do it that way, too.”

    Think about this:

    • Who cares about this? Jim, if he’s still in the market.

    • Who cares now? Jim – because the tone of this voicemail indicates that things have recently become more favorable for him.

    • Why does Jim care now? Because he wants a good deal on an RV, and there are only a few left, so he gets the message that now is the time to act.

    • If Jim is not currently in the market, or has purchased elsewhere, have you wasted time by leaving this message instead of the previous one? No, because you were going to leave him a message anyway.

    A side note:

    “I” and “Just” are two words to avoid in a voicemail. They lack power and incentive.

  • Talk about a specific incentive
    If your prospect listens to your voicemail, make certain it’s a message worth listening to! A great way to do this is to alert the prospect about a specific incentive currently being offered.

    “Jim, Brent here from Jimmy D’s Harley. There’s a time sensitive rebate that’s happening right now and your name came up as someone who’d probably like to know about it. They’re actually offering $1,250 off last month’s price and some special financing as well. Let’s talk about the details and see if it strikes a chord with you. I’m at 603-555-1212 or you can text me at 603-555-1213 and we can talk about it that way too. Available all day today and back Thursday, but you can text any day and I’ll get right back to you.”

  • Don’t rely on a voicemail to do the work for you
    If you leave a voicemail for a prospect, even if it is the very best voicemail ever left, don’t count on a call back! Chances are, your busy prospect saw your phone call, maybe listened to (or read) your voicemail, and simply has not yet made the time to call you back. He might hope you’ll call again. Though he wants to talk with you, he knows something will always get in the way of returning your call. What to do about that? Call again at a different time of the day.

    You might be thinking, “That’s too pushy,” Well, it’s not. You are the one with the best product or service of its kind and you know the prospect is too busy to call you back (because everyone is). It’s still your duty and obligation to get the intended message to your prospect, as it will benefit him in the long run.

    Are you concerned about being brash? Imagine you were calling a prospect to share the news that s/he had just won $1,000. Would you be shy about calling a few times? Isn’t your product/service valuable, too? Be assertive!

    Would you like to learn more about taking your phone success to the next level? Get the feeling your team might be leaving some weak voicemails? Call us at 877-706-0997 or contact us here.

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