If you have struggled with the effectiveness of your voicemails, follow these 7 tips for improved performance:

  1. Use the three strike method
  • Most sales professionals would agree that leaving a voicemail only alerts the prospect to your “salesperson” status.  The first time you try to reach the prospect, do not leave a voicemail.  Simply try again.  The second time, do the same thing.  On the third “strike” leave a voicemail.  However, beware, if your voicemail simply tells who you are and what you are selling, don’t expect a call back.  This is not compelling enough for a prospect to return your call.
  1.  Change modes
  • There is more than one mode of communication.  If the telephone is not working, switch to another mode.  Here is a list of other modes of communication:
    • Fax
    • Email
    • Letter
    • Express letter
    • Couriered letter
    • Drop-in sales call
  • If other modes of communication do not work, you will need to put the prospect on “hold” or find more creative ways to access them.
  1. Use their guilt
  • It may seem like prospect treat salespeople in an “inhuman” fashion, however, prospects are people too.  Play to their professionalism or guilt.  It might sound like this

Bill, this is Sam from XYZ Inc., I would appreciate it if you would extend me the professional courtesy to call me back at 333-444-5555.


Bill, I have left you a couple messages.  I know that someone of your professional stature would not ignore my messages on purpose, so I am hoping you receive this one.  You can reach me at 333-444-5555.

  1. Use ambiguity     
  • Prospects know to screen out salespeople, therefore, use ambiguity to your advantage.  Your voicemail might sound like this:

Bill, give me a call at 333-444-5555


Hey Bill, John Smith here.  Call me at 333-444-5555.

  1. Call before or after hours      
  • This is an old axiom, but it works.  Call before the gatekeepers get in and you may reach your prospect.  However, these days, before hours is pre 8:00am and after-hours is post 5:30pm.
  1. Stop the gatekeeper from putting you into through to voicemail
  • Most gatekeepers are experts at putting suspected salespeople into voicemail.  Cut the gatekeeper off at the pass.  When the gatekeeper says, “She is not in, would you like their voicemail?”, you say

No thanks, I can hold for a minute

  • This statement will accomplish several things:
  1. You will smoke out whether the prospect is really in the office
  2. You will get through to the prospect a decent percentage of the time
  3. You will assert to the gatekeeper that your time is valuable.  “I can hold for a minute” is not “I can hold forever.”  This will convey that you are someone important that the prospect should talk to.
  1. Sound like an insider
  • This applies to the gatekeeper.  It is more important to sound like an insider to the gatekeeper.  If you say to the gatekeeper, “Hi, this is Bill Smith from XYZ Company, is Sam Jones in the office?” you will be screened 99% of the time.  Consider one of these instead:

Bill around?

Where’s Bill?

Hey, is Bill Smith around? (not “there”)

  • Try to not use your last name if the gatekeeper asks.  Sam Jones is an outsider.  Sam is an insider