10 Tips for Leaving an Effective Voicemail


They say it is tougher than ever to get a customer (or anyone for that matter!) to return a voicemail. Therefore, most sales reps rely too heavily on email and miss out on another way to differentiate themselves. Research shows the combination of email/voicemail is far more productive that just using just email. Leaving differentiating voicemails has become a critical core competency for sales organizations that do not leverage separate lead generation sales team.

Whether leaving a voicemail to get a job interview or trying to gain a prospect meeting, everyone can benefit from strong telephone skills. Here are ten tips for getting the most out of your voicemail messages:

  1. Your primary goal is to get a return phone call and ultimately, a meeting. So, don’t leave too much information to give the recipient the opportunity to “delete” you. Create a “recognition of need” in their mind compelling them to learn more.

  2. Make sure you use the person’s name twice in the message. After all, it is about them.

  3. State your name and company and phone number slowly at the beginning and then again at the end. Practice leaving voicemails and listen to how you sound. I cannot tell you how many times I delete a message because I cannot understand the caller.

  4. Voicemail messages are an excellent way to introduce yourself to a person because they get to hear your voice and a little bit of your personality. Be personable and professional. Let them hear the “smile” in your voice.

  5. Make sure within the first ten seconds you convey the “WIIFM” (What’s in it for me) from your prospects perspective.

  • ​“We specialize in helping companies like yours to dramatically improve their efficiency ratio…”

  1. Use a reference or a common connection by name if possible. In this world of social selling, people relate to people they know. If possible, tie the WIIFM to Mary or Greg who referred you.

  2. Assume they will call you back. “I will share more details when we connect live.” Let them feel your expectation. If you don’t exude confidence, how can you expect them to have confidence in you?

  3. The ideal length for a voicemail message is 12-18 seconds. Practice your pitch and cut it back to 15 seconds if at all possible. Don’t just talk faster!

  4. The best hours to leave voicemail messages are from 7:00AM to 8:00 AM and from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Friday afternoon messages will most likely get pushed to Monday and Monday mornings are very busy making voicemails less likely to be returned.

  5. Build out three levels of voicemail messages for each customer. Write out the basic script and record which one you have left. Do not leave the same voicemail message more than once for the same person. Always provide them with a new urgent reason to call you back.

While this blog covers leaving a voicemail, always be prepared for the recipient to answer the phone!

Sales organizations that do not develop their voicemail capabilities are at a distinct disadvantage to companies that do. At Butler Street, we help companies and their people grow by helping them clearly articulate their value proposition as a critical part of sales effectiveness training. Click on CONTACT and let’s arrange some time to talk.