How to leave a cold call voicemail

By Graham Collins
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How to leave a cold call voicemail

One of the great debates in cold calling methodology is the voicemail; to leave or not to leave? The anti-voicemail camp believes that by not leaving a voicemail, you stay undercover. You can call back later in the day and hopefully get someone on the phone. The other camp (my camp) thinks that a voicemail is another valuable touch point. To be clear, we’re talking about leaving a cold call voicemail. I’m not talking about leaving a voicemail when you’re working on closing a deal. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave voicemails when you’re following up with someone with whom you’ve already had a conversation.

Why leave a cold call voicemail

By leaving a high-quality voicemail message, you can define why you’re calling and encourage a response. Before we dive into how to leave one, I want to get one thing clear though. I do not leave voicemails with the hope of callbacks. I have worked with sales reps who get tons of callbacks even to missed calls without a voicemail! I’ve never been that lucky (or skilled) so I don’t expect callbacks. As a salesperson, you shouldn’t count on callbacks from your voicemails.

My goal when I leave a voicemail is to either:

  1. Get the point of contact to send me a response to my cold email. I only leave a voicemail after I’ve sent an email. Getting an email response is my primary reason for leaving a voicemail message. My emails contain way more information about what I’m selling than a voicemail message ever could.
  2. Encourage the point of contact to pick up when I call again. This requires you to be calling from the same number whenever you call. One of the reasons I don’t like tools that obfuscate your actual phone number.

How to leave a cold call voicemail

You want to keep your voicemail short. The sweet spot seems to be around fifteen to twenty seconds long. Any longer and you risk your voicemail message being deleted or ignored. If it’s any longer you run the risk of an unclear or nonsense message.

Greeting

Just like with a cold call, the first few seconds of your voicemail are the most important. It’s very easy to delete voicemails and your prospect will decide very quickly if they want to listen to the rest of it.
Who you are and why you’re calling. That’s what you need to cover in your greeting. Make sure you’re speaking clearly and succinctly, especially for your name and the company’s name. Then give a little taste of what your company does. Enough to give them a basic idea and get them intrigued about what you do. Don’t spend 30 seconds giving an elevator pitch. Remember, the sweet spot is around twenty seconds. It should sound something like this:
“Hey Marisa, this is Graham with QuotaPath. You might have seen my email this morning. QuotaPath is a commission calculating tool built with the sales team in mind.”

Ask

What do you want the point of contact to do? As I stated before, you’re not generally looking for them to call you back. If you’re waiting for callbacks, you’re likely to be disappointed. Instead, you should try a variation on this line:
“I’d love to connect and see if we could help you with your commission tracking. As I mentioned, I emailed you this morning, so if you could check that out and get back to me that would be great!”

Close

You want to remind your point of contact who you are and what company you’re from right after the ask. I give my phone number at the end on the off chance they want to call me back and can’t find my email. Here’s how mine would sound:
“Again, Graham with QuotaPath, (207)555-5555. Have a great day Marisa!”

When to leave a cold call voicemail

I’m sure there are numerous studies on what hours to leave a voicemail. Should you leave voicemails on Mondays? Should you leave them at 9 AM or 2 PM? That’s not my specialty, so I’ll leave that to the experts. Instead, I mean two major things:

  1. Don’t leave a voicemail on your first call. It’s no surprise that people are hesitant to answer their phones when it’s an unknown number. As a salesperson, if you call a few times your prospect might be curious enough to pick up after three or four missed calls. If you leave a voicemail on the first call, you’ve given yourself away as a sales rep.
  2. After you send an email. I mentioned it before, but because salespeople are not expecting callbacks, they should have an email to reference. If callbacks happen, all the better!

Putting it all together

So this is what a cold call voicemail would sound like if I was to leave one today:

“Hey Marisa, this is Graham with QuotaPath. You might have seen my email this morning. QuotaPath is a commission calculating tool built with the sales team in mind. I’d love to connect and see if we could help you with your commission tracking. As I mentioned, I emailed you this morning, so if you could check that out and get back to me that would be great! Again, Graham with QuotaPath. Have a great day Marisa!”

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