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August 16, 2016

Listen up salespeople… “Your voice mail messages are AWFUL!”

voice mail 1Last Wednesday, I came back to the office to find a voice mail message on my office phone. It was one left by a sales rep (and I use that term loosely) who wanted to connect with me. Without giving away the firm, here’s the message…

After introducing herself, she said, “We have a lot of experience working with firms like yours. I’d appreciate the opportunity to have a short conversation to see if we might be of service to you.” Then she left her phone number and hoped I would call back. That was it.

We can debate the value of leaving phone messages, but here’s what happened (or didn’t happen)…

  • She did not tell me what kind of services they provide.
  • She did not tell me the kinds of problems they solve for their clients.
  • She did not tell me the benefits her clients enjoy by working with her firm.
  • She did not come close to helping me answer the question running through my mind… “What’s in it for me?”

And most importantly, she didn’t take two minutes to look up my firm online before she called. Do you know how I know that? Because I know what this firms does… and we are not even close to being a user of the kinds of services they provide. Which means… I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU’RE SELLING!

Buying in a B2B setting won’t happen until the sales prospect goes through the process of getting to KNOW you… then LIKE you… then TRUST you. And in the case of this little exchange… she never got out of the starting blocks!

If you’re leaving lots of voice mail messages because you’re having to make cold calls, it’s because your employer is unable or unwilling (more likely) to invest in lead generation and lead nurturing activities. Or, perhaps, they have invested and have just done a lousy job.

Bottom line: if you have to cold call – and I really hope you don’t – please make sure to do the following when you leave a voice mail messages…

  • Don’t just call from a list… spend a few minutes researching the prospect. What kind of business are they in… do you know the title/role of the person you’re reaching out to… are you sure they’re not in your CRM system (from a long time ago)… and so on? Take advantage of all available resources – websites, LinkedIn profiles, directory listings, etc. Make sure they’re close enough to your targeted buyer persona/company persona to be a potential client.
  • Try to establish some level of credibility or a connection. Why are you calling the prospect? Did you meet at a conference? Did they download something from your website? Were you referred to them by a mutual acquaintance? If there’s a connection… mention that right out of the gate.
  • Leave the kinds of messages that will matter to the prospect… that will help them quickly understand what is in it for them:
    • How you solve the kinds of problems they have (you might not know the exact issue they face, so talk about the general ones that similar firms have, e.g. trouble taking new products to market, dealing with changes in their industry, measuring ad effectiveness, etc.).
    • Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)… what you’re known for in the marketplace.
    • Your main Point of Differentiation (POD)… how your firm is unique and why your clients choose you over your competitors.
    • Other similar companies that you have helped. Use their actual names to lend a high level of credibility.
    • At the end, mention some sort of proactive next step (“I’ll reach out to you again next week,” “Be looking for an email with our latest eBook attached,” etc.).

Do these suggestions guarantee success? Of course not… but if you have to make cold calls and leave voice mail messages, prepare yourself to be as successful as you can be.

Good luck and good selling.


Want some other ideas on being successful at selling? Download our latest eBook, “I Hate Selling!” – Part 1: Developing New Clients at

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