Is Leaving a Voicemail Really Worthwhile?

Wow, I wish I had seen this question earlier.  (I just read this question again in a LinkedIn Group I’m a part of, the Sales 2.0 group, and couldn’t do it justice as a mere comment!)

Leaving a voicemail is one of the most underutilized of media and one of my favorites.

For years the prevailing wisdom by almost all sales trainers was NOT to leave voice messages. They couldn’t be more wrong. Of course if you don’t make many calls, and don’t leave many voicemails, you won’t get many callbacks. That is probably why they say not to.

Voice messaging is getting better as email is getting more worn out as a marketing and sales media. Email will always have it’s place, but other media like voice messaging, texting, and even fax and direct mail have far more impact. In fact, if you fax the exact same message as an email the fax will out pull the email 7 to 1. Similar to voicemails.

Our internal lead-gen reps make 85 calls an hour and use our technology to leave pre-recorded voicemails in their own voices with the click of a button. They easily make 300 to 350 calls a day and don’t burn out because they don’t leave each voice message by hand (or should I say by mouth?)

At XANT, we have found voice messaging to be extremely effective in conjunction with other media. Granted, it doesn’t get listened to as often as email is read, but we are getting between a 3% and 22% callback ratio on average, with email being 1/10th that. Our average callback ratio using voice messaging and best practices is 4.8%.

Research we have found says to that the optimum voicemail is only a teaser and should be 18 to 30 seconds. In fact, every second after 30 seconds, your response rate drops by 2%. This comes from the book by Milo O. Frank called “How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds– or Less.”

I would love to demonstrate the power of voice messaging to anyone who is interested in just trying it out. I don’t want this to be a sales pitch at all, rather just letting you know the extreme power of alternate media.


  • Get permission from the receptionist to leave a voice message with the person you are trying to reach.
  • Leave a 30 second or less voice message (18 seconds is optimal.)
  • Don’t tell them everything, get them to call you or at least think of you.
  • Only leave a voicemail about every 2-3 days, and only about 3 in two weeks.  Don’t be a pest.  You can call much more than that to try and reach a busy decision maker.
  • Always send an email when you leave a voicemail; both do better.
  • Then mention your email in your voicemail and vice versa – this causes both to pull better.
  • Speak slowly, don’t sound overly excited or hyper – people won’t trust you.
  • Restate your phone number and name twice, slowly, in your message.
  • Don’t waste time and assume the person will call you back, keep your contact strategy moving forward (added from a great comment from Jodi Hrbek)

We have about 25 telephony power tools in our dialer suite, and the ability to select a voice message from a pre-recorded library and leave it in your own voice with the click of a button and move on the next call is very powerful and is catching on as a strong medium for inside sales reps and remote sales professionals.  Phone dialer software is a lot more than just about dialing the phone.

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    Author: Ken Krogue |
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