6 Simple Tips to Get Your Calls Returned

bored-woman-with-cell-phone-tnThere is good news and bad news.

First, the bad news:

Recent marketing research has found that up to 40% of outbound calls made by salespeople end up in voice mail : (

After talking with hundreds of  my clients, I have learned that number is actually closer to 50% or 60%.

And . . . most voice mail messages left by sales reps are not returned.
(Very discouraging for salespeople.)

Now the good news – yes there is good news!

We may need to dial more numbers, but we CAN get our calls returned.

Read what Steve Sheffield in Vancouver, Washington wrote:

“I jotted down a short voice mail message to leave for a customer
I have called 4 times in the last 2 weeks with no reply and she
called me back the next day!”

More about Steve’s voice mail success later.

Think about this:

The first goal of a voice mail message is to get the call returned or, ultimately to result in a live conversation, so . . .

. . . Get Rid of Wimpy Words!

Forget about leaving those wishy-washy messages like “please call me back if you have any questions.” Wimpy words with no call to action do not get results.

6 Simple Tips to Get Your Calls Returned

taking-notes-checklist-notepadWhat action do you want them to take?

1.) Know what you want as a result of your voice mail message.

Write down in one sentence what action you want the listener to take.

2.) Organize your message so that you state the most important and attention-getting information first, since you may be cut off at any time. Include BENEFITS for the listener.

3.) Speak clearly and not too quickly. Pronounce your first and last name clearly, spelling your name if people may not recognize your name. The person you are calling could become annoyed if they have to spend time replaying the message because they could not understand it.

4.) State your telephone number twice: once at the beginning of your message – after your name and company name – and again at the end of the message. This makes it easier for the prospect to return your call.

5.)  Be a name dropper
.  (This great tip is from urbachletter.com)

If somebody referred you, that person’s name should be one of the first things out of your mouth, even before you fully ID yourself: “Jane, I was referred to you by Barney Rubble. This is Fred…” Starting off this way will ensure your entire message will get listened to. If you don’t have a known person’s name to use, the next best thing is to reference an organization you have in common: “I’m also a member of the Bedrock Chamber of Commerce…”

6.) Prepare and rehearse your voice mail message. 

Reason:  If you leave a bad message, you’re stuck with it, and . . . your voice message is being recorded and can be forwarded to others.

If these tips were helpful to you, see more tips at AnnBarr.com

As promised, more about Steve Sheffield’s voice mail success:

“Ann, thank you for what I would consider the best ROI percentage that I have ever
experienced in 18 years. I downloaded your books and read just 3 pages in your Voicemail Tips,
jotted down a short message to leave for a customer I have called 4 times in the last 2 weeks
with no reply and she called me back the next day!”

                                                                                          – Steve Sheffield, Southwest Office Systems,
Vancouver, Washington

Want more voice mail tips?  Buy my Voice Mail Tips e-book!

Or better yet:  Join my e-course !

How to Avoid the 6 Worst Voice Mail Mistakes

Some voice mail messages are almost unbelievable.

You may have received some of these unbelievable messages; like the person who is eating while leaving the message. Or someone who is chewing gum.  Not sure which is worse.

Then, one of the worst: A sales rep making a cold call who actually yawned while reading (yes, reading) his voice mail message.  True.

This voice mail message was so unbelievable I played it over and over again to make sure he really was yawning. He was.

Six more voice mail mistakes.

  1. Leaving only a name and number for a call back. Some may think that not leaving a company name is an attention getter. But if the prospect returns the call and realizes it is a salesperson trying to sell something, this tactic will leave a negative impression. There goes that first impression :( When leaving a message on voice mail, be sure it offers a hint of a benefit/result that sparks curiosity, but does not talk about your products or services.
  2. Saying “I’m calling to introduce myself.” They don’t care and don’t have time to be introduced to every Mary, Kevin and George who calls.
  3. Making the call all about YOUR products and services. Self-serving voice mail messages do not work.  Prospects want to hear how they may benefit by calling you back.
  4. Leaving a message lasting longer than 30 seconds. Most busy executives will listen only to the first two sentences before they erase you. They have their finger hovering over the delete key as they listen to voice mail messages.
  5. Using filler words like “um” and “uh.” In addition to sounding unprofessional, filler words detract from your message.
  6. Making a call without a written plan for what you will say if you reach voice mail.  A little preparation can lead to being heard and getting results. You dramatically increase the likelihood that your calls will get returned when you leave a concise, rehearsed message with a bright and energetic voice. Think about the point you want to make and write a few key words. Limit the points to one or two per message.

Don’t Get Deleted

The best way to actually get a call back (and not annoy the person you are calling) is to clearly state your telephone number right after your name and company name at the beginning of your message. Then leave a brief message and at the end of your message, state your telephone number and extension number again – clearly. Most busy executives will listen only to the first two sentences before they delete you.

Did you know there are four compelling ways to motivate prospects to return your calls? You will learn how in my e-book Voice Mail Tips and Scripts.