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Voicemail: 5 Proven Techniques For Getting Your Calls Returned

If you're struggling when it comes to getting your calls returned, you're not alone. Industry stats show that less than 10 percent of voicemails to new prospects are returned. Finding the right voicemail message, and knowing a few proven techniques, can be the key to developing relationships and getting new accounts.

If you’re struggling to get your voicemails returned, then you’re not alone. Industry stats show that less than 10 percent of voicemails to new prospects are returned. Because of this, finding the right voicemail message, and knowing a few proven techniques, can be the key to not only making contact with those hard to reach sales leads but also in developing relationships and getting new accounts.

Here are five proven techniques that give you the best chance of getting your calls returned:

Proven Technique Number One: Don’t even leave a voice message. Sounds strange, huh? Well, the truth is the best technique to follow when trying to reach a prospect for the first time is to persevere and call five or seven or even ten times first before leaving a message. Your goal is to catch them picking up the phone and having a conversation rather than leaving multiple unreturned voicemails.

Try calling at different times in the day, and even several times on Friday. Fridays are the most relaxed days and most people are getting ready for the weekend instead of gearing up for the week. The worst day to leave a voicemail? Monday.

One caveat: For those of you who are worried that when you do finally catch someone who picks up the phone and is upset that you didn’t leave a message (yet they saw you called several times), be prepared with a good script. Something like: “I didn’t want to bother you with several voicemail messages, so I decided to just try to catch you instead. Anyway, I’m glad I did… ”

Persevering in this way is the best way to actually get someone on the phone and because most sales reps won’t do it, you’re going to be way ahead if you do.

Proven Technique Number Two: You must script out an effective voicemail message in advance. Nothing will get your message deleted faster than the sound of an unprepared and unprofessional message filled with um’s and uh’s.

As soon as a busy prospect hears that kind of message, especially from someone they do not know (and from a salesperson on top of that), they automatically reach for the delete button. Don’t you?

In addition, you want to make sure your scripted voicemail has these three elements: 1) Put the focus on your prospect – NOT on your product or service. 2) Don’t ever say, “I’d like to take some time to learn more about you… ” 3) Leave your number SLOWLY and twice.

As you’ll see in the following examples, most sales reps leave a message that is all about them – this never works. Second, sometimes they think that by wanting to “learn more about how you handle…,” they think that they are putting the prospect first. WRONG. All the prospect is thinking is they don’t want to take valuable time to educate you so you can sell them.

And three, the worst technique of all is leaving your phone number so quickly that you force your prospect to replay your message over and over again just to get your phone number. Yeah, right, like anybody is going to do that…

Here is an example of what to do and what not to do:

Proven Technique Number Three: Turn a bad VM message into an effective one:

The WRONG way to leave a VM (and unfortunately, how most people do it):

“Hi this is (Your Name) with (Your Company), and we offer shipping supplies and packaging for all your shipping needs. The reason I’m calling is to learn a little more about your business and to find out more about your shipping needs and see if we can save you some money. If you would call me back at (888) 555-1234 that would be great. Look forward to hearing from you soon.”

This message checks all the “do not do” boxes I’ve listed in technique number two. It’s all about the caller; it wants to take time from the prospect so they can “pitch” more, and the number was only left once.

Here is the RIGHT VM to leave:

“Hi (Prospect’s name) this is (Your Name) with (Your Company). We offer discounted shipping supplies and packaging, and if you’re like most companies we work with, then you’re probably paying too much. Our clients save between 10 to 15 percent each month and get better service guaranteed. To find out how much you can save, just give me a call at (SLOWLY Leave Your Phone Number.)

Once again, my name is (Your Name), and my toll free number is: (Leave Number Slowly Again). If I don’t hear back from you in the next couple of days, I’ll reach out to you again. If you’d prefer to be taken off our list, or if you’d prefer to get some information by email, just give me a ring and leave me a message. Talk to you soon.”

This voicemail is effective because first of all it is focused on the prospect and what’s in it for them (10 – 15 percent savings). The phone number was left two times slowly. But the magic technique was:

You gave your prospect a way out. You let them know that they can simply call you back, leave you a message (so they won’t have to speak with you nor be pitched when they call), and they can remove themselves from being called by you again if they aren’t interested. This is good for you, too, as you won’t waste your time with uninterested prospects.

One note: If you find the above message too long, then edit it. Script your voicemail the way you like it and then use it consistently. In fact, spend some time now reworking your existing voicemail message so that it conforms to the rules above.

Proven Technique Number Four: Combine your voicemails with an email campaign for maximum effectiveness. The number one law in all marketing is repetition.

It’s the same with getting your prospects to notice you. The most effective way is by using a two-month long campaign that goes like this:

First: Try to reach someone for a couple of weeks without leaving a voicemail. Week One: Leave one voicemail and follow it up with an email that same day. Then leave a second voicemail that same week. Week Two: Send email #2, then leave a voicemail at the beginning of the week and on that Friday. Week Three: Send an email at the beginning of the week and at the end. Leave a voicemail in between. Week Four: Send another email on Tuesday, and leave a voicemail on Thursday. Month Two: Send either one email or leave one voicemail per week for four weeks. Also: Call in between and don’t leave a message.

Anytime between week two and three, one of your emails needs to be the “Should I Stay or Should I Go” email. If you’ve not heard of this email, then your return contact rate is about to go up by 60 percent. It goes like this:

Your subject line is: (Prospect’s First Name) Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Body of email:

Dear _________,

I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:

1) You don’t have a need at this time or you’ve already chosen another company for this.

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet.

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up, and in that case please let me know and I’ll call 911 for you…

Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to worry.

Honestly, all kidding aside, I understand you’re really busy, and the last thing I want to do is be a pain in the neck once a week. Whether your schedule has just been too demanding or you’ve gone another direction, I would appreciate it if you would take a second to let me know so I can follow up accordingly.

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Kind Regards,

If you’re smiling from reading this, so will your prospect. Again, this is a high percentage email that gets a response about 60 percent of the time. Compare that to your current results.

Proven Technique Number Five: If your voicemail and email campaigns don’t work, then consider going that extra mile — as a top producer once said, “The extra mile is never crowded.” Even though a prospect may not be in the market now, as we all know, things change. And when they do, you want to be top of mind so they’re thinking about you when they are finally ready.

The most effective way to do this is by sending physical greeting cards. It’s highly effective. In fact, did you know that the number one salesperson in the world — according to The Guinness Book of World Records — is a guy named Joe Girard? He was a car salesman and he sold an average of six new cars every day. How did he do it? He sent a card to every customer and every prospect every month (and one for Christmas), 13 cards in all.

Joe was so successful, that people had to make appointments with him to buy a car.

So there you have it: The Five Proven Voicemail Techniques to get your calls returned. Follow them and you’ll be much more successful than you are now. Don’t follow them and, well, you already know how that goes.

Mike Brooks is the go-to inside sales trainer and phone script writer in the industry. He is hired by business owners to implement proven sales processes that help them immediately scale and grow Multi-Million Dollar Inside Sales Teams. If you’re looking to catapult your sales or create a sales team that actually makes their monthly revenues, then learn how by visiting:

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