To Leave a Voicemail or Not to Leave Voicemail? … Why is that even a question?

DanMcQuadeBy Dan McDade, President and CEO of PointClear, LLC

OK. The headline gives away my position. Think about it! Have you ever scheduled a meal for you, your significant other and close friends? Did it take more than one or two phone calls, emails and texts to settle on a date, time and venue? Of course!

Multi-touch, multi-media and multi-cycle processes multiply results. For example, an average touch cycle includes five dials, three voicemails and three emails. These are carefully created, concisely delivered, precisely timed and constantly tested. Done right, you can expect that 20 – 40% of the leads you generate to be the result of a call back or email reply.

Two more reasons to leave voicemails (and send follow-up emails) are: 25% of our returned calls and email replies result in a lead; senior executives are 2.5 times more responsive to quality voicemails and emails than are their junior counterparts. While this seems counter-intuitive, it makes sense if you put yourself into the mind of a senior executive. They often feel that an outsider might help solve problems his or her own staff has never tackled (and may not want to).

powerminute4A quality voicemail will never hurt you. You have dialed the telephone and gotten voicemail – why not take an extra 25 seconds and leave your prospect a quality message? Here are some tips on leaving quality messages:

  1. Keep it simple. How will the prospect benefit from calling you back?

  2. Don’t be tricky. Messages like: “It is important that you call me back immediately” will fail. Best case you get a call back that turns into an angry prospect because of your approach.

  3. Speak slowly and clearly. Leave your telephone number twice. Both times state your number slowly enough that the prospect can write it down.

  4. Use a series (three) of carefully scripted voicemails followed by emails that build on each other. Each in the series should be related, but different.

  5. Be persistent. People are busy, but if you have a quality message you will get your share of call backs.

  6. Use their first name in the voicemail – twice!

  7. Create interest fast. Your message is not about you, it is about them. What challenge or pain are they likely to be dealing with that you have helped a similar company solve?

  8. Don’t over-invest. 35 – 45% of targets will not respond to your first cycle of contacts. However, don’t give up! You will reach most of them in the second and third cycle of contact – and they will then be even better prospects.

The proof: We once had CFOs at the top fifty utilities as our target; a global consulting company was our client. On the 42nd touch the CFO of the fourth largest utilities called us back and said “don’t stop calling me, you are my conscience”. He asked us to call back on a specific date, we did and he closed five months later as a $1 Billion deal for our client.

It makes sense to leave voicemails. Start working on better, more effective voicemails and test, test, test.


About the Author: Dan McDade is President and CEO of PointClear, LLC, a prospect development firm that helps B2B companies drive revenue by nurturing leads, engaging contacts and developing prospects until they’re ready to purchase. The Sales Lead Management Association named Dan one of the 50 most influential people in sales lead management for the last four consecutive years. Dan’s first book, The Truth About Leads, is a practical, easy-to-read book that helps B2B companies focus their lead-generation efforts, align their sales and marketing organizations and drive revenue. Read Dan’s blog: ViewPoint l The Truth About Lead Generation. Contact Dan by email: