In an age where phone ringers are set to silent and text messaging is a primary form of communication, finding a successful voicemail strategy can be daunting and discouraging. It can be tempting to just rely on emails for leads, or set up an automated system to leave messages for you, but the ability to leave an effective voicemail is still a valuable skill to learn. Here are some pointers I’ve learned from my time on the phones.
The Basics – Sounding calm and confident on the phone is the first step in leaving a good voicemail. Relax while you’re speaking, and talk a little slower than you’re used to in ordinary conversation. And as cheesy as it sounds, smiling while you talk actually affects your tone on the phone, and makes you sound more pleasant.
Talk Like a Human – It’s fair to assume that your prospects are human, and that you are one too. Surprisingly, you can use this fact to your advantage. There are so many automated messages, menus, and reminders that talking to a real, flesh-and-blood person has become somewhat of a novelty. Leave a voicemail the way you’d want someone to leave one for you. Keep your tone conversational.
Toss the Script – I remember story hour in elementary school. All the kids would sit and listen as the teacher read aloud to us from a book. It was lovely and relaxing, and a lot of kids would fall asleep. Don’t be a teacher reading from a book. People talk differently from how they write, and it’s painfully obvious to your listener if you’re reading from something pre-written. Know your content well enough to avoid stammering through with “um”s and “like”s, but don’t put your prospects to sleep.
Ditch the Sales Lingo – I hear a lot of new hires leaving messages the way they think “salespeople” do. The fact of the matter is if you sound like a sales pitch or an infomercial, your prospects aren’t going to be inclined to return your message. Fast-talking sleazy salespeople in the movies are hilarious, but having one on the other end of your phone isn’t nearly as fun. Explain your product to your prospects as though you’re talking to them about it over lunch. Statistics and case studies have their place, but your voicemail isn’t it.
Keep it Short – Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and no one wants to be held hostage by a two-and-a-half minute long voicemail. There are three things people are listening for in a message: Who are you? What do you want? How do they get back to you? If you go too much longer than that, you’re going to lose your audience. Remember that you’re following up with an email, so you don’t need to say every last thing about your product in your voicemail.
Prospects are bombarded with salespeople every day asking “for just a few minutes of their time.” Make yourself stand out by not acting like the rest of them. Recognize that your prospects are busy, and don’t want to listen to you blather on about how great your product is. Keep your message short and sweet, don’t sound like someone from a late-night infomercial, and you’ll be well on your way towards messaging that actually generates responses.
Need more help with your voicemail strategy? Check out the link below for our comprehensive strategy guide on leaving better voicemails and increasing your response rate.