First-time sales outreach response is plummeting. According to sales strategist and author Jill Konrath, 97% of all business calls now go to voicemail.
That’s why it’s never been more important for salespeople to be good at leaving messages. Not only that, but voicemail can—and should—be measured, coached, and improved.
Through personal experience and research, I’ve been able to identify the most effective script—along with the keys to implementing it—so you generate an incredible response every time.
Hello, this is [Your Name] from [Company Name].
I’m calling because [reason for calling]. I’d love to talk to you about [benefit you can offer if they call back].
My number is [phone number]. I’ll also follow up with an email tomorrow. I look forward to hearing what you think.
Have a great day. Goodbye!
The key to making a script work is to practice. You can’t read it line-for-line, so it’s important to work out the kinks before you place your call, including:
- Your name
- Your reason for calling
- The benefit of calling you back
- Your contact information
- Your promise of a follow-up email
“Hello, Amy. This is Don with Marketers Plus.
I’m calling because you downloaded our guide to building successful holiday marketing campaigns, and I have a case study you might find valuable. It’s all about how Company B raised holiday email open rates by 25% and saw a 10% increase in revenue using Marketers Plus.
If you’d like to learn more, my number is 123-456-7890. I’ll also follow up with an email containing the case study. I look forward to hearing what you think. Have a great day.”
This voicemail is simple, packed with value, and straightforward. It also sets the tone for what doing business with you is like.
But delivery is everything. So, take a look at these tips for implementing your voicemail like a pro.
If you want to improve your performance, get deliberate in your practice.
Before you make any calls, start with setting a goal. Will you be working on your tone? Your passion? The length of the message?
After each one, evaluate your performance. Most systems provide the option of listening to the message you just left. Doing this as much as possible will improve your performance more than anything else.
Approach it with a scientific outlook, and score each one:
- Would you save that voicemail?
- Would you return that call?
- Would you return that call right away?
- Are you missing the basics (alternative phone number, optimal ways to get in touch, a fall-back person to call)?
- Did you craft it or wing it?
Remember, you need real-world situations to prepare for the sales game. Role play with colleagues and friends to get honest feedback.
2. Be Personable and Straightforward
As you practice and score your sales voicemails, you’ll start to determine some best practices. Here are a few of mine:
Leave Your Number Twice
This ensures understanding and helps the prospect write it down accurately. However, don’t repeat yourself—say the same thing in a different way.
Use the Prospect’s Name Often
People pay attention when their name is mentioned. After all, they’ve been conditioned to pay attention to their name their whole life.
Include a Credible Example
Who have you helped? If you don’t speak with authority, borrow it.
Keep it to 17 Seconds or Less
Too many reps are the inside sales equivalent of chatty grandmas—pitching solutions, discussing features, and offering value propositions over a voicemail.
They should merely pique a prospect’s interest. Save your real pitch for an actual sales call.
Always Provide Context
Whether it’s your last encounter or a recent e-book download, have a relevant reason for calling in order to get the prospect’s attention.
Offer Clear Value
State upfront how you can help the prospect. Are you saving them time or money, or helping them get promoted?
Ask for What You Want
Clearly state your purpose and next steps. Whether it’s a demo, an appointment, or the best contact to talk to, simply ask for it.
3. Do Your Research
The difference between a cold voicemail and a warm one is research.
Visit the prospect’s website and social media and find a piece of connective tissue, such as an alma mater, a favorite sports team, or a common pet (I’m a dog lover, personally). This opens the conversation, and shows that you’ve done your research.
You should also research other people in the prospect’s organization. Selecting the right people, such as the prospect’s manager or department head, facilitates the ability to build rapport and adds a sense of urgency when you mention them in the voicemail.
4. Be Positive
If you want your prospects to get back to you, you better sound exciting. If you have a monotone voice, you’re almost certainly not going to get a response.
At the same time, if the prospect can’t hear or understand you, all of your work is wasted. Drink water, clear your throat, and invest in a good headset or phone. Be aware of your accent or the way you say words or numbers. And, avoid sales speak and buzzwords.
Most importantly, have fun with it. If you don’t enjoy leaving a voicemail, you might not be in the right job.
Voicemails can add value, whether or not a prospect calls you back right away. Even if it triggers an email response or call-back six months down the line, it’s valuable. The better your voicemails, the more likely you’ll get a response.
This article was originally published on Hubspot. It has been republished here with permission.
Photo of person on phone courtesy of Compassionate Eye Foundation/Getty Images.