Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you with leaving a voicemail when you are performing cold outbound prospecting.

Do: Use brevity – 20 to 30 seconds in length
There are many reasons to not leave a long voicemail message when calling a prospect and those don’t need to be spelled out for you. But try to have a tight and focused message that moves quickly and is efficient in terms of communicating what you want to say in less than 20 to 30 seconds.

Don’t: Don’t operate with the goal to get the prospect to call you back
When you are leaving a voicemail while cold calling, it is not really likely that the prospect is going to return your call. This does not mean that you should never leave a message but it does mean that focusing the message you leave around getting the prospect to call you back might not be the best way to use that “air time”.

Don’t: Do not ask the prospect to call you back
Don’t directly ask the prospect to call you back in your voicemail message. We have this as a “don’t” for two different reasons.

First, we just stated to not operate with the goal of trying to get the prospect to call us back, so there is no need to ask for that. But more importantly, it is your job as the salesperson to call the prospect back. There is a level of effort to make the next call and it is almost a little rude to ask the prospect to put in that effort when you have not earned the right to ask them to do this at this point in the process.

Do: Goal when leaving a voicemail is to educate the prospect
Since we are not trying to ask for a call back in our voicemail message, we can then focus more on educating the prospect on why they should talk with us when we call them back.

Educate the prospect on the benefits that you offer, the problems you help to minimize, and an example of how you help other clients. Those three topics can actually be used to create three different voicemail messages and you can leave those at different times when calling the prospect.

Don’t: Do not completely “wing it”
Whatever the message is that you plan to leave, have it prepared ahead of time, and don’t just completely “wing it”. This can help to reduce the “uh”s and “um”s and can help you to keep yourself from rambling on too long.

Don’t: Do not mention trying to schedule an appointment.
It could be likely that your goal when you reach the prospect will be to schedule an appointment or meeting with them. Don’t share this with them when leaving a voicemail.

There is just nothing to gain by sharing this with them at the point of the voicemail message. It is not likely that they will call you back and tell you when they are available for you to schedule an appointment with them, so why do it.

Do: Say contact info slowly and twice
Say your contact info slowly and twice when leaving a voicemail to make it easy for the prospect to write it down in the event that they do plan to call you back. The worst case scenario is that you have a prospect who wants to call you back but they don’t because it is too difficult to hear your contact info.

Do: Send an email after you leave a voicemail
Always follow up your voicemail message with an email. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, it is a lot easier for a prospect to reply and save your information in an email format versus a voicemail. And another reason is that this will help you to create more of a multi-touch approach hitting the prospect from different sides and with different methods when leaving a voicemail.