Ask Kathy: Leaving a Great Voicemail Message

By Kathy Sisk

Dear Kathy, when calling business-to-business prospects, can you suggest a great voicemail message designed to achieve a higher rate of returned calls when the prospect does not know you?

First, make sure you’ve mastered the secretary screening process; often that is where the call fails. I have developed a secretary screen script that allows you to be in control and get through most of the time.

Generally, I do not leave a message on a cold call, since most decision-makers never respond. Let’s face it, no one is excited to talk to a salesperson, nor do they want anyone to sell them, unless they are in the market. Leaving messages on a cold call brings little results from that time and effort. However, if you insist on leaving a message, you must leave some sort of an approach-and-hook statement to arouse curiosity in order to get your prospect to respond. This kind of statement greatly depends on what you are offering. For example, my company would say the following:

“Hello, this is Sean Phillip with Kathy Sisk Enterprises, and I have been trying to reach you for a couple of weeks now. We specialize in project managing our client’s outsourcing projects, and we do not charge any fees for this added-value service. We can save you the headache of setting up and managing your outsourcing projects and ensure a greater return on your investment, and we have over thirty-five years of experience. If this is something you would like more details about, please contact me at ____. Thank you, and I look forward to discussing your outsourcing needs.”

The italicized phrases above are the approach-and-hook statements. If the prospect has an interest, he or she will call you back or speak to you the next time you call. Keep in mind that with this approach you will only connect with those who already have a need.

Email your questions to

Kathy Sisk is founder and president of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc., located in California. Kathy is a trainer and consultant, contributing thirty-five years of expertise to the telemarketing, sales, and customer service industries. She is a published author with many manuals and books, including Overcoming Objections and Successful Telemarketing.

[From Connection Magazine Jan/Feb 2013]

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