Should I Leave a Voicemail When I Prospect?

The answer to the question as to whether you should leave a voicemail when you make a prospecting call to your dream client is a resounding yes. There is one exception that we can quickly cover before we continue: If you are going to try to call your prospect back later on the same day, there is no reason to leave a voicemail on your first attempt, but you should leave one on your final attempt.

Other than that single exception, you should always leave a voicemail.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

You deprive your client of giving you credit for the call you make when you don’t leave a voicemail message. You want your contact to know your name and voice, which is impossible if they never hear either one. Let’s assume you call your prospective client ten times over five weeks, each time hanging up without leaving a message. Your potential client still has no idea that you have called them. You are getting no credit for your persistence, something that will be important to your future results.

I once called a prospect for 76 weeks in a row, leaving a voicemail each week. On that final call, the prospect answered and told me that he would give me orders if I would drive to his office immediately. He knew my name, having heard each week for a year and a half. He also knew what I wanted.

There are better prospecting sequences than the one I had available at that time, but I earned the right to those orders by persisting over time. Calling your prospective client once and going away for an extended period is not an effective strategy. Instead, leave a message and ensure that your contact knows your name, your voice and that you are seriously interested in helping them produce better results.

Known Pursuit

Some salespeople believe that leaving a message on their contact’s voicemail will result in the contact recognizing their phone number and avoiding their call. But even if that were true, it isn’t reason enough not to leave a voicemail message. In fact, it works against you acquiring a meeting.

Your contact cannot know that you are sincere about pursuing a relationship with them and their company if you do not leave a voicemail message. You increase the odds of acquiring a meeting when your dream client knows you are pursuing them, which means you need a patient, professional pursuit plan to acquire that meeting. You establish the idea that you are pursuing your contact for a meeting by persisting over time, something that very few of your competitors will be willing to do, which results in a meeting.

Your contact receives calls from a lot of salespeople. Most of them make one or two attempts before trying to find a warm lead or an easier target. They give up and go away, and in doing so, confirm the contact’s belief that they were not serious about developing a business relationship and not someone likely to be around long enough to make them a good partner.

Preview and Review Value Prop

Most of all, you want to make sure your contact knows why you are calling, and more importantly, what you are going to do with their time. Your voicemail allows you to preview and review the value you are going to trade for your dream client’s time. Your message can prove that you are worth a meeting, but you have to have something to share that is worth their time.

Your voicemail message can’t be something like, “I want to stop by and tell you about how my company is helping companies like yours solve this problem and learn a little about you and your company.” The value proposition for your contact is one that will remind them of how much time they wasted with salespeople who created no value for them during a meeting.

Instead, you have to sound like someone who knows something worth knowing, which might sound like, “I want to share with you the four trends we believe will have the biggest impact on our client’s results over the next twelve to eighteen months. Even if there is no next step, I’ll leave you with the executive briefing, and you can share it with your team.”

If you want your voicemail to be treated differently than the ones your competitors leave for your contact, improve the value proposition.

Known and Known For

You want your contact to know your name and your voice. You also want them to know you for the potential value you create, your ideas, your insight, your experience, and your ability to help them solve difficult problems and produce better results. Voicemail offers you an opportunity to achieve both of these outcomes in B2B sales. This is how to get a meeting in sales.

Of all the touches in your prospecting sequence, hearing your voice ranks very near the top for its effectiveness in helping you acquire a meeting. Your voice conveys something more than an email.

Filed under: Sales

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