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How to Leave an Effective Voice Mail Message


Almost everybody leaves a voice mail message at one point or another, and many of us leave them on a daily basis. So why is it that so many people do a poor job of leaving a quality message? Follow these tips to learn how to leave an effective voice mail message.

Image of a woman leaving an effective voice mail message

Leaving a voice mail may seem awfully remedial, but, um, you wouldn’t believe, um, how much our research has shown (…Huh? Yeah…I’ll be in that meeting in a second, I’m just leaving this voicemail…Sorry…Where was I? Oh, yeah…) how unprepared and unfocused most people are when they hear the beeeeep, and how much of the listener’s time they waste! Yet, voice mails are still one of the main tools for getting things done these days, (especially if you are in sales), so we should all know how to leave an effective voice mail message. Here’s how to do it…

Tips on leaving a voice mail message

1 – Always assume you will automatically go into voicemail:
No one answers their phone anymore. Or, you are going to be transferred to voice mailbox. If you accept this reality beforehand and already have that mindset, then you are already ahead of many people who leave messages! Always be just as prepared to leave a voice mail as you are to have a conversation.

2 – Always remember three words:

  • Know, Feel, Do.

Your goal is to get as close as you can to just one sentence for each.
(Know) “Hello, Joe. Here’s the one thing I want you to know…”

3 – The tone of your voice impacts when/if your call gets returned:
(Feel) Being full of energy, adrenaline, and being “up” really works!
“Joe, here’s what I need you to do…”

4 – 15-Second Penalty Box:
(Do) After hearing your message, people decide to Save (for “Whenever”), Delete, or Act in the first 5 to 15 seconds.

5 – Win in 30, Or Face Electronic Death:
With only the rarest exceptions, NO voicemail should last longer than 30 seconds. About 15-20 seconds in duration is best. (Time yourself…You’ll find that it takes real discipline to be able to get your point across in this timeframe)

6 – You are Being Squeezed In:
People check their voice mail in between meetings, while they’re eating, at airports, when in the bathroom, etc., etc. Checking voice mail messages rarely happens   when we   have lots of time.

Criteria for effective voice mail messages

1 – Be Brief: Remember, voice mails should be no longer than 20 seconds. Less is more in this case. It’s more effective to leave prospects wondering who you are and what you called for, than for them to delete a long-winded message that delves into your whole background.

2 – Arouse Curiosity: This is the single most important piece of advice! The only goal in leaving voice mails for cold prospects is to get them to call you back. If you tell them everything, they don’t need to call you back. Spark their interest by having them think about who you are. By being vague you may sometimes create interest in the prospects mind. If they are curious, they will call you back.

3 – Be Different: Think of all the voicemail messages that you receive. Do they inspire you to call back? If not, leave messages that are completely different than the ones you receive. Uniqueness will grab a prospects attention and will be more likely to compel them to return your messages.

4 – What’s in it for them?  If you decide to leave additional information on your call, only share what is a clear benefit to the listener. What benefits of your products or your services will most likely intrigue them enough to call you back?

  • Grow your business
  • Enhance loyalty
  • Decrease costs
  • Decrease churn
  • Improve revenue
  • Improve morale
  • Improve efficiency
  • Better contact

5 – Warm up the Call: Take liberty in how you warm up the call. Use whatever you may or may not know about the company. Do you know any other people at the company? Do you know what they do? Do you know their competitors? Any information  you know about the business  can be worked into the message  to make you sound more familiar with the prospect and his company.

6 – Be Confident: Don’t ask them to call you back. Tell them to call you back. You must believe that you are doing them a favor by contacting them, not vice versa. Successful sales calls ensure parity between you and the prospect. Failed sales calls are ones in which you are the subordinate to the prospect. But never forget to remain respectful.

7 – Be Creative: Think of new and different approaches every day. Even voice mail messages that seem odd at first may be the most effective in getting prospects to call you  back.

8 – Be Prepared: When customers do call you back, make sure you’re able to quickly and efficiently move into your sales call. Fumbling around, asking them multiple times for their name, telling them to hold on while you bring their name up in the database, or trying to find questions you want to ask will kill your credibility with the caller. You should be able to easily and effectively move into a sales presentation with only a pen and a blank piece of paper. If you aren’t available to answer, it would be best to have a professional answering service lined up to take the call rather than just playing voice mail tag.

9 — Minimize background noise, speak slowly, and sound human. Instead of “speak after the beep” make it “spark” after the beep!

Well, there you have it. Now you know how to leave an effective voice mail message. Follow the tips above and you’ll be able to consistently leave great messages that result in returned calls more often than not. Good luck!

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This entry was posted in Business, Sales and Marketing, Voicemail and tagged , , , by Brian Gabriel. Bookmark the permalink.

About Brian Gabriel

As the Call Center Manager for Sound Telecom, Brian is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and long term success of the company while managing a variety of inbound customer support programs. He also has a hand in taking care of the Solaxis services division. Prior to joining Sound Telecom, Mr. Gabriel held management positions with several prominent Internet Services companies including and Brian started his career in advertising and sales before moving to Washington State. He joined AEI Music in 1995 and supervised their international customer service department and technical support call centers. Brian received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish languages from San Diego State University. Brian teaches adult education at his church and actively supports Christian ministries.

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