Did You Get My Voice Mail?7

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Voice mail

Yesterday I got a call about a piece I wrote for Radius titled: Get More Call Backs: How To Increase Returned Voicemails By 50%.   Seems it has stirred up a discussion in one the LinkedIn groups, one I did not belong to, (since joined).

Whenever I do a piece on effective voice mail techniques, three things happen:

  1. It get a lot more hits than most other posts – telling me that this continues to be a challenge and hot button for sales people.
  2. In the first 24 hours a slew of feedback telling why the technique won’t work, it is gimmicky, unchristian and a range of other labels.  These comments come predominantly from people who do not like to cold call, don’t know how to cold call, never leave voice mail when given the opportunity, and are pissed that they are not getting return calls, when I, and those using my techniques do.  These are folks who have not studied the dynamics at play in effective voice mail, generally have a less than sufficient prospects in their pipeline, and BTW, have not tried the technique they are commenting on.
  3. Within about 48 hours, I get a bunch of e-mails from people who tried the technique, got a calls back, got an appointment with someone they have been trying to connect with for sometime without success, and they now have one or more new prospects in their pipeline.

The real difference between the two is the latter is committed to continues improvement, willing to invest time, effort and practice to integrating new techniques to their selling tool kit.  They understand it takes work to fill the pipeline, and if the state of their pipeline is going to change, it requires change in their approach and habits.

The first group, the doubters, fail to take into account and understand the dynamics involved in leaving effective voice mails.  Let’s look at one specific factor.

Most people these days are jammed, need to pack 16 hours into a ten hour day, they don’t have time to listen to your rambling voice mail, telling them about how great your something is when they already have that something.  Since at any given time, about 5% – 10% of your market is actively looking for your something, that’s the total potential of people who may have an interest in calling you back.  By leaving a conventional voice mail, chances are less than 5% – 10% may call you back, unless they already have a vendor in mind, in which case no call back.

Let’s face it, the reason most people want you to “leave a detailed message”, is so they can know exactly why not to call you back, and they don’t.  So no matter how polished your message is, the more content it has the less your chances of getting a call back.  So despite what one of my most recent critics suggested in the LinkedIn discussion, saying I “should spend some time doing research on the buyer so they can leave a message that’s in line with their expectations.”  There is an idea, waste time researching to not talk to anyone, hmm?  The most effective voice mails are those that are counter intuitive.

The mistake many make is trying to sell or get an appointment via voice mail, WRONG! Good luck if you have never spoken to them in the past.

The only purpose to leaving a voice mail is to get a call back – again to get a call back.  When that call comes, you can then proceed to getting the appointment or engagement if you are in inside sales.  GET THE CALL BACK! THAT’S IT!

I would argue that the only way to do that is to create a bit of curiosity, one that would create an environment where with little effort, the person you are calling can make a call to resolve their curiosity, THE CALL BACK, once you have them on the line, then you bring your sales or appointment setting skills to play.

The technique in question results in me getting 50% of voice mails returned.  That may piss off some people not willing to try, but really what’s the issue, the method is there, you don’t want to use it, don’t knock those who do, just because they have a healthy pipeline, and fat babies.

Read the article
Watch the video

Try it, and then talk!  

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto


  1. Anton Aylward

    Speaking as someone who RECEIVES the calls, I’d like to point out a few things.

    The first is that more than half the unsolicited calls I get are unclear. The voice is too faint; the speaker is unclear for some other reason, mainly poor telephone presentation skills; speaks to fast; only says the return number once and then too fast; isn’t clear about why he or she is calling and hence gives me no reason to be interested in calling back.

    Of all of these I’d say that being unable to make out what is being said, usually because of a soft voice, is the most common. I don’t waste my time trying to figure it out.

    • Jim Hughes


      Thanks for the honest and basic feedback. I try to tell sales managers that they should constantly be checking these basics by having the reps leave a message on their phone. You can’t worry about finess when the basics aren’t done.

      Coach Hughes

  2. Tibor Shanto


    Good feedback, if you watch the video, that subject is dealt with as I could not agree more. You want me to call you back, make it easy for me.


  3. Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    Tibor – The reactions describes what others have called the 3 learning styles. I have revised this to explain who people react to change. Prisoners (those who don’t want to change); Vacationers (those willing to change a little but will go back to their regular lives) and Explorers (those will to go full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes, let me try). Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    • Tibor Shanto

      Hi Lee,

      I guess there are a lot of Prisoners out there. Time to Explor.

      Have a great weekend,


  4. Marc Zazeela


    You make a convincing argument. I agree about creating curiosity. Otherwise, as you said, they can make a decision (however ill informed) without having a conversation.

    I’m going to give it a try.


    • Tibor Shanto


      Thanks for keeping an open mind, let me know how you make out.


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