The Case for Leaving Voice Mails

A lot of salespeople tell me that they don’t leave voicemail messages when they call their dream clients. I understand completely if you don’t want to leave a message because you are going to try to call back later that same day, or maybe that same week.

But I don’t understand not leaving a voicemail message at all. It’s a mistake, and here’s why.

Is This Your First Call?

A lot of salespeople have called your dream client in the past only to disappear. Many have called and continue to call every quarter like clockwork, usually just to check in and see if anything has changed. Your dream client might even know some of these salespeople by name.

If you never leave a message, you are ensuring that you are unknown.

You aren’t a secret agent. You need to be known, and you need to be known as a value creator. You aren’t accomplishing either of those things by not leaving a message.

Instead, when you finally do reach your dream client contact on the phone, it is the very first time they have heard your voice. They have no idea of the effort you have made to contact them, how much you want to work with them, or that you can be valuable to them. You have no record of making an effort to reach your dream client.

Be Known, and Double Down

If you are serious about pursuing your dream client, you’ll leave a detailed message describing who you are, how you believe you can make a difference, and your contact information. Then you double down and follow up your voicemail message with an email reiterating the message you left and telling them when you are going to try to reach them again.

Your commitment to call back establishes a couple things. First, it says that you are not going to go away, that you intend to keep calling. Second, it acknowledges that you believe it is your responsibility to call them again.

I know a few salespeople that are so good on voicemail that they can get a call back by the sheer force of their personality alone. Your dream client contact is under no obligation to call you back simply because you left a message, and that’s not why you are leaving the message in the first place. You are leaving it because you want to be known, and you want to start establishing yourself as someone seriously interested in making a difference.

Leave a powerful voice mail message. Make yourself known. Make it known that you are in hot pursuit of your dream client’s business, that you can and will make a difference, and that you aren’t going to easily go away.


Do you leave voicemail messages? Why or why not?

What could leaving a message do to start establishing you and making your known?

What message could you leave that would indicate that you are a person whose call is worth taking?

Join my weekly Newsletter or apply for membership in my exclusive Inner Circle Mastermind Group.

Subscribe to my weekly podcast In the Arena.



  • Mike Weinberg

    I completely agree Anthony. Back in the day (whatever that means), I wouldn’t leave a message. Over the past few years, I’ve done a 180 and become a fan of voicemail. Done well, I believe you can even build a relationship with a person/prospect who has yet to call you back.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Keenan

      Yup, completely agree! I wrote about this awhile back. The vm is the start of the relationship, it’s only a cold call once. After that, if you leave a message you are known and therefore every contact after that is extending the relationship.

      Well said Anthony!

      • S. Anthony Iannarino

        Don’t write things before I have a chance to, Jim!

        It’s true, too, every contact is another chance to build the relationship, even if it’s voicemail.


    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      “Back in the day” means that at one point you were actually young and beautiful. Now you are just beautiful.


  • Trish Bertuzzi

    We frequently use this analogy:

    Not leaving a voice mail message is like getting all dressed up to go to a party, driving across town, walking up to the door and never ringing the doorbell. How can they let you in if they don’t know you are there?

    Combine that with the fact that every time you touch a prospect it gives you the opportunity to leave a different part of your story. That is what it is all about right… telling a story that interests your buyer?

    Thanks for this post – you are a man after my own heart on this issue!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Trish! I love your analogy!

  • Greg Weatherdon

    Well said (written). Having made than my fair share of cold calls, leaving a vm establishes that you’re for real.

  • AmyMccTobin

    I’ve been so busy ‘getting stuff done’ that I’ve neglected your brilliant blog in recent weeks; coming back to your refreshing, straightforward common sense is just lovely on a Friday afternoon.

    It’s just like BRANDING – repetition, done correctly, works. It’s what you SAY in that voice mail that matters. Great sales folks have a way of being personable and not pushy, even on voice mails.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Amy: Please come home! We miss you!

  • Nick Bianchi

    So many things that salespeople do they do only because they were told to do something one way at one point in time and they just internalized it assuming it was correct with out thinking it through. Many salespeople have been influenced to believe that letting the prospect know that a salesperson is calling back is a bad thing. Thanks for this post.

  • S. Anthony Iannarino


  • Pingback: Social Media and Agency New Business-Is Twitter The New Voice Mail? - Agency New Business

  • Pingback: The Best Time to Make Your Sales Calls | OpenView Labs