Cold Calling Voicemails: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Cold Calling Voicemails Optimization: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly


In one of the darkest torture scenes of the classic western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Angel Eyes (The Bad) turns to Blondy (The Good) and drawls, “You’re smart enough to know that talking won’t save you.”

It seems too many sales reps today fall on the side of Angel Eyes, and don’t see the value in speaking at the beep.

Voicemail is one of the most underutilized sales prospecting tools available to reps today.

If you do leave a voicemail in your cold calling campaigns — and you should be leaving a voicemail — you are sending a message that will either advance or kill the sale.

Take a look at these good, bad and ugly voicemail techniques and refine your skills to get more callbacks and close more deals.

The Ugly

Your voicemails are too long.

Messages that get callbacks only take between 30 and 120 seconds.

You sound bored.

Remember the monotonous economics teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? “Bueller? Bueller?”

No one wants to listen to a message left in that tone.

Liven up your messages.

Be engaged.

This is why our reps use Click-to-Call technology to prerecord messages so they sound as crisp, clear and enthusiastic at 5 p.m. as they do at 8 a.m.

 There is nothing distinct about your message.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever deleted a voicemail before listening to the entire thing.

Your prospects have too.

They will delete your message if you don’t give them a reason to listen.

The Bad

You sound too much like a salesperson.

Make sure you know what your objective is in leaving a voicemail.

*Hint, it is not to pitch your entire product platform aggressively.

When it comes to voicemail, you have two goals:

1) Get a callback and advance the buyer’s journey.

2) Make the prospect more likely to take your next call.

You ramble.

Too many reps pick up the phone, are directed to voicemail, say whatever comes to mind, and then wonder why no one calls back.

Not only will this method frustrate your prospects, but it creates a huge time sink as well.

Reps can spend as much as 60 minutes of each day talking into someone’s answering machine.

Voicemail automation makes the time sink disappear, saving reps up to 29.333 productive hours over the course of a month.

You don’t offer a compelling reason for a prospect to call you back.

If no attention is given to a prospect’s pain points, they have no reason to call you back.

If your voicemails lack a clear call-to-action, you can’t be surprised when no action is taken.

The Good

You are prepared, practiced and personal.

Sales communications technologies provide easy-to-use tools that enable reps to write their own voicemail scripts.

Scripts can also be written by sales managers and shared with entire teams.  Practice your script so you sound natural and relaxed when creating a prerecorded message, and then use Click-to-Call voicemail features to make each message you leave personal.

It works like this:

The machine picks up your call and you hear, “This is Dan. Sorry I missed your call. Leave me a brief message.”

Within your CRM interface, your prerecorded message is available to use. You simply say, “Hi, Dan,” click to instantly drop your prerecorded message, and then move onto your next call while the system finishes your voicemail task for you by merging your personalized greeting with the prerecorded message.

You use email to get your message heard.

The XANT 2014 study on Optimizing Business Communication found that the top three communication mechanisms most likely to elicit a response at work are email, office phone and cell phone — in that order.

Michael Pedone, CEO of, suggests that anytime you leave a voicemail for a prospect, you should immediately send a follow-up email with the simple subject line of “Voicemail.”

Then use email tracking technology to see when your prospect opens your email so you can call them back when you are top-of-mind.

You are creative

Being creative in your messaging can help you stand out among the other messages in your prospect’s answering machine.

For example, a voice message manager tool allows you to merge recordings.

You might leave a voice message that incorporates a 15-second audio customer testimonial directly into your script.

Bad and ugly cold calling voicemails are almost always DOA, just like a bandit gunslinger in a spaghetti western that struts into a saloon with no strategy.

Don’t be that guy.

The Art and Science of Cold Calling

Free eBook: The Art of Cold Calling and the Science of Contact Ratios

Gain access to cold calling best practices from industry experts Ken Krogue and Kraig Kleeman.

Image Credit: Rufus Gefangenen

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