Let’s be honest, this is what you’d really like to say on your personal voice mail recording, right? You hate getting voicemails. We hate getting voicemails. Your prospects hate getting voicemails. Everyone hates voicemails.
It takes valuable time out of your day to dial through the phone system just to hear someone ramble on a message that you could have read in seconds via text or e-mail. I am sure there are ignored messages on most people’s phones. In fact, there are three of them sitting here unheard on my phone right now.
I have come up with four reasons I think salespeople still leave voicemails for their prospects.
There is the lazy salesperson – Yeah, I know leaving a voicemail is the easy thing to do. That doesn’t make it the right thing to do. When was the last time you left a voicemail and a prospect actually called you back?
There is the uncreative salesperson – Voicemails are the easy way out when you can’t get through to a prospect. You need to get creative and try some other ways to get in front of them.
There is the demotivated salesperson – If you are going to be lazy enough to leave a voicemail, then chances are you don’t really even want this sale in the first place. A voicemail shows lack of initiative. As a salesperson, you’re supposed to make things happen rather than waiting for someone to respond to your voicemail.
And then there is the sales guy who thinks the prospect will call back – Perhaps there are a few customers you know very well that may call you back, but remember, most of the time a voicemail just doesn’t work. People just don’t respond to voicemails, no matter how cleverly you try to word them.
While we’re on the topic, don’t think your creative, teaser voicemail message — “John, I have some important news for you. ” — is going to get anyone to call you back. All that does is signal to the prospect you are a sleazy sales guy trying to con them into a phone call.
So, What Should A Salesperson Do?
Call back later – I know, it is more work. But if you really want the sale you need to show some initiative and call back later. Keep calling back until you actually reach the prospect.
Call the contact’s other phone – If they have two numbers and you are leaving a voicemail on the first one you call, then you are just being straight up lazy. Call their second number, it’s at least worth a shot.
Send an e-mail – If your prospect is like most professionals today, they hate voicemail as well. They would rather open an e-mail from you that gets the message across quickly than listening to you ramble on for a minute via voicemail. Don’t say “I tried to reach you” in your e-mail. This just puts your prospects in the boat to ignore you even more. Just be straight forward and get your point across.
Maybe text them – We surveyed our Spiro readers, and 71% of them said they do text their prospects. Don’t blow up their phone or send an essay, but perhaps a brief short text that gets your point across could work. Maybe they can’t answer your call now, but a text at least gets your message in front of them.
Is it Ever Okay to Leave a Voicemail?
Well, yes, it is. Once you have established contact with a prospect, there are a few instances where a voice mail may be an okay way to go.
Confirming meetings – It is always a good idea to confirm upcoming meetings. Failing to do so can have dire consequences. If you can’t reach your prospect when trying to confirm, it’s probably fine to leave a voicemail.
In the middle of active engagement – Sometimes you’re already deep into a sale that the voicemail’s an acceptable option. For instance, you may be in the middle of negotiating fine points on a contract.
The customer prefers voicemails – Occasionally, you’ll find someone who likes voicemails more than emails. Some people got used to voicemails and never fully adapted to emails. You’ll probably be able to tell because they’re not on LinkedIn.