On my traffic jam drive home last week, I was shamelessly singing along to the wildly popular song, “Call Me Maybe?”, and a light bulb (maybe it was brake light) went off. I literally leave prospects my phone number anywhere from 50 – 100 times a day, and how many of those people get back to me; an embarrassingly small percentage. Outside of work, your phone number is regarded as a precious commodity and here I am doling it out left and right with very little success. So I made it my mission to further investigate the art of leaving a voicemail. What is it that gets people to call you back?

Prior to this experiment I was doing the same thing every single time; introduce myself, leave my number, state a purpose, state a little bit about my client and then leave my number (again), followed up with an email. In general, I think it is a very clear voicemail, but I wasn’t having much success. So I started eavesdropping on my colleagues and asked a few people that regularly get calls what they were doing to prompt callbacks.

  • The first tip that resonated with me was to NOT leave your number at the beginning of the message. I think it’s regarded by many as sounding sales-y and I agree, so I scratched it and simply state my number concisely at the end of my message.
  • Next, I realized I was doing a bit of product dumping, which lengthened the voicemail considerably. One of my colleagues suggested that I take most of that out, and just state the purpose of the call. You can avoid missing out on many calls where people assume they don’t need to learn more because I’ve already told them what we do and they don’t want it. Pique their interest; get them to want to learn more.
  • Finally, I didn’t have a call to action. I would repeat my number and tell them I would send an email and wish them the happiest day of their life. Should I be really surprised that no one was calling me back? Now I ask them to get back to me by either phone or email, especially if they are not the right person because I don’t want to bother them unnecessarily.

How’s my voicemail make-over working? Good, I received 5 callbacks last week, including an inbound lead. Certainly, I would like to see more, considering calling people is the majority of my job. So what are your suggestions, how do you get someone to call you back? Here’s my number, 781.702.6991, call me maybe?