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How To Leave Voicemail | Make Easy Sales Over The Phone

Have Fun With Voicemail

Leaving professional voicemail can make you more money.

And when you take the time to tell a story—a series of stories—you can actually have a little fun with it.

Here's a real voicemail I received from a real company. (I changed the name of the caller, but the name of the company is listed.)

The cool and ironic thing is that Martin Worldwide is a direct-response marketing firm.

I'm a big fan of direct marketing, and I use it and recommend it and create it for many of my clients.

But this shows that you must engage in multi-media, multi-step follow-up sequences to grow your business, whatever your business or industry is.

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The sad thing is that this company doesn't apply this attention-grabbing, sequential storytelling process when leaving a voicemail.

"Hey, Wes. How are you?" (AHHH! Please don't say that to start a call.)

"My name's Joe Blow. I'm calling with Martin Worldwide. We're a Direct Response Marketing Firm over here in Los Angeles and, um, I just wanted to touch base with you in regards to your company and, ah, how you guys are going about generating new business or marketing to new business.

"Furthermore, we'd like to see, really, if there might be an avenue there or, ah, something we can build up a re-relationship. I'd like to see how you guys are currently marketing your company as well as, maybe, ah, being able to supply this to a number of your sales reps that you bring on, um, as maybe we can work up some form of a coop or vendor relationship, ah, I'd like to see if that opportunity might be there.

"If you can, give me a call and we can chat a little further. My number here is 555-222-1111. Thank you very much, Wes. I really look forward to speaking with you. I hope you're having a good day."


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What changes would you make to improve this message and increase your chances of getting a callback?

For starters, notice the weak words he is using, such as:

  • touch base.
  • we'd like to see, really,
  • if there might be
  • something we can build up a re-relationship.
  • maybe, ah, being able to
  • maybe we can work up
  • if that opportunity might be there
  • If you can
  • I hope you're having a good day.
  • Go back and re-read what he said, paying attention to these words, and let me know what kind of impression they make on you.

The guy that left me this message has not read my post Be Vulnerable To Be Great.

In it, I tell the story of recording my golf swing and recording my prospecting calls when I was new in both endeavors. When you can see and/or hear yourself, you get better, fast!

If you are making cold calls or even just following up with a good prospect, you need to know what you are going to say when you call, and you need to be prepared to make a positive impression when you do.

If someone is worthy of a prospecting call and message, realize they are probably worthy for many other salespeople, so you need to expect on getting their voicemail.

When you do, have a solid, concise story to tell them with a hook. As a matter of fact, have 5-7 stories to tell them over the course of this and future calls.

What I have clients do is create their FAQs but also their SAQs—Should Ask Questions.

The SAQs are what make you unique.

Have those prepared and tell the prospect one of your SAQs on each message.


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How To Leave a Professional Voicemail

If I were creating Martin Worldwide's for leaving professional voicemails, it would sound something like this*:

Wes, your name came up the other day as I was researching joint venture partners in the Southern California area.


If you were in the office today, I would have told you how we helped a client, Acme Plumbing, improve their marketing ROI 137% in the last 90 days with a custom campaign we created for them.


With over a decade of experience in direct mail marketing, we know how to help service businesses make the phone ring and the cash register sing.


While those numbers may be hard to replicate for you and/or your clients, we may actually be able to beat them.


We'll never know until we talk.


I'll call you again tomorrow at 8:30 am.


If that time is not good for you, please have your assistant contact me to schedule a better time.


If you'd like to speak before then, you can reach me at 555.1212. Have a great day."

*Reference: I got a lot of this from the sales training legend, Anthony Parinello, best-selling author of the "Selling to VITO" series and guest on The Sales Podcast, episode 54. 


Now you have an appointment set that will force you to make calls the next day, and you better have two things prepared when you call at 8:30 am the next day:

  • A script for what you'll say if you reach the prospect when you call back.
  • A script for what you'll say in voicemail #2 if you get their voicemail.

Sidebar: Do you have HubSpot, Keap, Ontraport, or ActiveCampaign? Here's a screenshot of what this automated, multi-media, multi-step outbound follow-up sequence looks like.



Ontraport Example


infusionsoft crm sales pipeline

Keap CRM Example


If the secretary/receptionist answers and asks, "Is he expecting your call?" you can honestly answer, "Yes. I told him yesterday I'd call at 8:30 today."

(NOTE: I am not saying "I have an appointment" because I do not have an appointment, so if they were to ask, "Do you have an appointment?" I'd say, "He's expecting my call. Would you put me through, please?" So you are being totally honest, which is the only way to sell.)

Some of my clients push back on me here and say, "But, Wes, he's not really expecting my call."

To which I respond,

In all my years of working with business owners and high-level executives in firms of all sizes, they have all told me that persistence, follow-up, and follow-through are what earns someone their business, and if someone says they are going to call or do something at a specific date/time and they do it, they are impressed."

So while it is true that the contact is not sitting on pins and needles waiting for your call, they do know in the back of their brain that you left a message and had mentioned calling back.

They are prepared not to hear the phone ring because so few people do what they say they are going to do.

But when you do call, they are somewhat expecting it and are even pleasantly surprised that you followed through on your follow-up.

That's how you go about leaving a professional voicemail today.

Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.


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