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9 Quick Tips for Leaving Voicemails That Get Returned

by Bill Cates
Leaving Voicemails that Get Returned

Voicemail purgatory!  This is a real place, you know.  This is where weak,  unanswered voicemail messages go to die a lingering death. So, what’s the secret to leaving voicemails that get returned?


I have a harsh truth for you. If you ever leave a voicemail for a prospect that goes unanswered, its probably because your voicemail wasn’t relevant and/or compelling enough to trigger a response.


With that said, there are other factors that go into an effective voicemail that shouldn’t be neglected.

9 Guidelines for Leaving Voicemails that Get Returned by Prospects


  1. Leave Relevant Messages

    Never leave a generic voicemail. Always discover something about your prospect – either personally or about their company. Let them know you read something they wrote or that you liked a post on their LinkedIn page or Blog. Your prospects can spot a generic voicemail instantly and delete them even faster.

  2. Tell Them Why You’re Calling

    Have you ever received a voicemail where someone just leaves their name and phone number with no reason?  I bet you have. Do you respond? I bet you don’t. The few times I have, I’ve always regretted it. They often don’t even know who I am. They are leaving a bunch of these and praying that someone will be foolish enough to respond.

  3. Address Obvious & Critical Problems

    A relevant message will get your voicemail listened to, but it must also be compelling enough to garner a response. One way to be compelling is to address a problem or concern that is obvious and critical. People will move to action if they already know they have a problem and truly want to do something about it – even need to do something because of a deadline.  It’s very hard to garner a response to a voicemail when you’re trying to address hidden and/or aspirational problems.

  4. Use Your Prospect’s Name, But…

    Don’t overdo it. Using their name near the beginning and near the end signals that you are not merely reading from a generic script. Use it too many times and you won’t come across as genuine.

  5. Avoid Seemingly Unbelievable Claims

    Letting your prospect know about some result you’ve helped another client produce is a great idea; just keep it real. Use the client’s name. Let them know you can share exactly what you did for them when you talk.

  6. Practice Your Message

    I will often write down my message to make sure I am succinct and still cover the items I want to touch. I’ve gotten pretty good at delivering a “script” in a very natural manner. How about you? You might be well served to write down your message and practice it out loud a few times before calling the prospect.

  7. Not Happy? Hit #

    Just about every voicemail system these days allows you to listen to and rerecord your message if you’re not happy with it. I can honestly say that this feature has saved my butt on many occasions. 

  8. Have an Easy Call-to-Action

    What do want your prospect to do? Having them actually return your call is a much bigger ask than looking out and responding to your email or going to a link on your website – knowing you’ll be following up in short order. If you’re sending them to a link, use a URL (webpage address) that is short and easy to remember. You can have that link redirected to the true, much longer, address.

  9. Have Some Fun

    While you don’t want to appear clownish, displaying a sense of humor is a sign of confidence and authenticity.


How long should your voicemail be?

Shorter is probably better, though a longer voicemail that’s relevant, interesting, and genuine will always out perform a short, generic, and robotic message. In an article for HubSpot, Donato Diorio recommended 17 seconds or less, but gives no evidence as to why he chose 17 seconds. If you don’t talk too fast and leave your phone number twice (at a reasonable pace), this seems like a pretty good guideline to me.


When should you leave your voicemails?

Jeff Hoffman suggests you want to lean toward leaving voicemails near the end of the day. He writes, “Voicemail connect rates usually go up as the day advances, so you should schedule your phone activity toward the end of the day.”


Wondering why this is? We can thank the serial position effect. This psychological phenomenon says when you show people a list, they’ll remember the first and last items the best. That means when you’re trying to grab a prospect’s attention, you want to be one of the first or last things they hear.


Voicemails Get Deleted Before They Finish.

 Relevant Voicemails Get Responses!



What Do You Think about Voicemails?  (I really want to know!)

What tips would you like to add to these guidelines for leaving voicemails that get returned?  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your comment below.  We can all learn from each other. Thanks!




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