It can be tough to get prospects on the phone. Your repeated attempts will often end at the prospect’s voicemail box.

With that, it can sometimes be unclear what to do. Do I leave a message? Do I hang up? If I leave a message, what do I say that will get the prospect to call me back?

Here are some tips to provide a little more structure for how to deal with voicemail when prospecting.


Don’t Expect the Prospect to Call You Back

Try to operate with the assumption that the prospect is not likely to call you back. Here are a few reasons to support this:

  • The prospect gets a lot of voicemail messages
  • The prospect is extremely busy
  • The prospect has no interest (yet)
  • The prospect knows you are going to call back

With those factors, there is a low probability that the prospect actually listens to a message from a cold call and writes down the info, and returns the call. Note that this does not apply to warm calling, as the probability of a returned call increases significantly.

That might seem like a negative way to look at this, but this is an important shift in logic for a couple of reasons. First, this can give you a little more peace of mind as you could find yourself getting down when nobody returns your calls – It is not you and you are not doing anything wrong.

This is also key because this should impact what you say in your voicemail. You can adjust from trying to motivate a callback and move more to try to educate the prospect.


Use a Cadence of Messages and Hang Ups

The other thing that can be unclear is when to hang up and when to leave a message. A mix of both is the best direction, with mostly hang-ups and then messages peppered in.

Hanging up is good because it allows you to call back more quickly and frequently. If you leave a message, you really need to pause for a couple of days or a week.

But you don’t want to just hang up every time as the voicemail message is one way that you can try to communicate with your prospect.


Educate the Prospect

Even though we assume the prospect is not going to call us back, we don’t necessarily assume that they are not going to hear our message. With that, try to use this time and space as a way to educate the prospect on why they should talk to you when you call them back.

A conventional approach usually involves a message of:

Hello, this is who I am. This is what I sell. Call me back at this number at your earliest conveniences.

Not only does that come off as a salesperson trying to sell something, but it also tries to get the prospect to call back which is not the most likely outcome.

You can slightly alter that approach to improve how you use the voicemail for educating the prospect. Here are some different approaches that you can take.

We help businesses to [1 to 3 benefits]. I will try you again later in the week.
We help businesses to deal with [1 to 3 common problems]. I will try you again next week.
We helped [past client] to [benefit] and this lead to [business benefit]. I will try you again in a couple of days.

Of course, that is not the complete voicemail, but it outlines the general direction. You can leave one message that mentions benefits. If you don’t connect with the prospect after some attempts, leave a second message that mentioned the problems that you fix. You can repeat by leaving a third message that mentions a name-drop example.

This process will educate the prospect on what you have to offer, how you can help them, and why they should take your call.