Does anyone leave voicemails on their cell phone anymore? In all honesty, it probably depends on how they previously engaged with you.
Prospects who left a brief message, and inquired through a website may be more comfortable using email or live chat to re-engage, for example.
But for prospects who’ve already been primed to chat over the phone during business hours, they may be more likely to pick up the phone and leave a voicemail if the precedent has been set.
Plus, it’s different for sales. Internal communications between employees may work over email or chat, but what about lengthy and in-depth sales conversations, as opposed to a brief message, with customers?
Mary Jane Copps, “The Phone Lady”, is an author, speaker, and all-around expert on the subject of telephone communications. (She’s been studying the psychology of phone calls for over 30 years!) In this interview with Ethan Baron for Phys.org, she explains:
“If I send a client a proposal and they email me back and they say, ‘No,’ or ‘not right now’ ... are they saying, ‘No, we don't have the budget,’ or, ‘No, but in three weeks we'll be ready?’ You need tone of voice.”
If you get into the habit of speaking with prospects over the phone, you can have more honest and personal conversations with any caller during business hours. This prevents unnecessary back-and-forth trying to clarify what the other said or rehashing previous conversations to get everyone up to speed again.
That said, there will be times when you won’t be available to answer their call, especially when office hours are over, which is where your voicemail greeting enters the picture. But will any ol’ greeting or professional voicemail do? Heck no.
But before we get into sample voicemail greetings that’ll keep prospects entertained and delighted while you’re away, let’s look at why this small attention to detail can make a big difference in your sales process.
Nailing the voicemail greeting
You worked hard to get your prospects to respond to you… and now your “Hi, this is Andy. Please leave a message” voicemail greeting has them wishing they’d never answered in the first place.
Obviously, that’s an exaggeration. If what you’ve pitched them is something they truly need, in your business voicemail greeting, and they’ve received no better offers, they’ll probably leave a voicemail.
That said, think about what your 10- to 20-second voicemail greeting could do if it knocked their socks off.
It’s no different than branding or marketing. Leave them with a lackluster impression and that’s what they’ll associate with what you’re selling. Leave them with a strong and memorable impression with your voicemail script, though, and you can hook them in that very moment.
Just be careful when leaving a business voicemail. You want to grab their attention with the voicemail greeting, not come off sounding unprofessional or offensive.
There’s a fine line you have to walk as you craft a business voicemail greeting to factual information you can share with potential prospects during normal business hours.
To get you started, there are seven voicemail greetings below you can adopt and adapt to your personal sales strategy.
1. The “don’t leave a message” business voicemail greeting
The SEO and marketing genius behind Moz, Rand Fishkin, was interviewed on The SaaS Podcast and asked about his favorite productivity tool.
As he described why and how he uses email to centralize his communications, instead of a professional voicemail, he also provided insight on what he does with his voicemail greeting:
“My voice message, if you call my phone, it will say, ‘Don't leave a message. Email me because I will never check these messages.’ And having everything go through that one channel means that I can be very focused…”
This is especially helpful if you know that you have an omnichannel audience that is going to reach you anywhere and everywhere they can.
Rather than leave phone callers out to dry, you can leave a voicemail message that points them to the proper channel for your business. While Rand’s succinct message and voicemail script works for his well-established and cheeky personality, yours may need to be more straight-to-the point for the time being.
Here’s a voicemail greeting you can use:
“Hi there! You’ve reached the voicemail of [your name]. I appreciate you taking the time to call. However, I only check this inbox once a week. I’m on email all day long, though, so please reach out there. You can find me at [spell out your email address]. I look forward to connecting!”
2. The “let’s find a better time to connect” greeting*
*This one's best as an add-on to your voicemail message since it works only if your caller has already been in email communication with you before.
Let’s say that you really do want to connect with prospects over the phone, but you’d rather not get caught up in a game of phone tag.
Instead of directing prospects to email, tell them exactly how they can schedule time to speak with you over the phone.
You could use Doodle or Calendly for this, though that would force you into a separate scheduling tool. If you're already using a CRM, you can keep all your sales processes in one place with something like Copper’s Meeting Scheduler:
Simply set your availability and create your first event type (i.e. “Let’s chat!”).
Your voicemail greeting could then sound like this:
“[Your voicemail message] You can also use the link in my email signature and pick one of the available times. That way, you'll be sure that second time's the charm. I’ll give you a call then!”
3. The pass-the-buck greeting
Another way to ensure that prospects aren’t left hanging while you’re away is to direct them to someone else on the team.
In general, team selling is a great way to keep your sales pipelines at capacity and moving along at a steady pace, no matter who gets sick or goes on vacation. So, make use of this in your voicemail greeting when you can.
Once you have a backup who’s committed to being desk-side when you’re not, and vice versa, put together a voicemail greeting with their contact information:
“You’ve reached the desk of [your name]. While I’m away at the moment, my colleague [name] is available and is ready to take your call. [He/she] can be reached at [phone number, extension, or email address].”
Then, turn this one on whenever you step away, even if it’s to run out to lunch. This would also be helpful if you work in shifts.
4. The singing telegram greeting
Got a set of pipes on you? Or perhaps you’re a crafty wordsmith with a penchant for poetry?
Why not put your artistic talent to some use (so long as it doesn’t go against the brand personality or guidelines) and craft a voicemail that’s uniquely your own? Prospects are sure to remember not just who you are, but the brand behind your pitch and custom greetings.
While this voicemail sample is pretty thin in terms of the message itself, let this beautiful styling be your muse as you work on crafting something for your prospects:
5. The celebrity stand-in greeting
Wouldn’t it be neat if you called up a company you were working with and a celebrity was on the other end of the voicemail?
Unless a celebrity has a promotional agreement with your company, or the head of the company is a celebrity in their own right, you can’t use their actual voice on your voicemail greeting.
How is your Samuel L. Jackson impression?
You might not be able to belt out a tune, but you could make a funny voicemail greeting, and mimic a celebrity with a well-known voice as you deliver an otherwise mundane voicemail message.
Or, you could do as Samuel L. Jackson does and riff on one of your favorite movie lines while delivering your voicemail greeting (in your own voice or theirs).
Again, this would work best for custom greetings if it’s in your personality to play pranks or you happen to be a huge fan of Samuel L. Jackson (or your celebrity of choice).
6. The “did you know” greeting
If you don’t have any tasks you’d like to “assign” to your prospects while they wait for a return call, why not entertain them with some facts when executing a perfect voicemail greeting?
“Hi there! I’m sorry to have missed your call… but did you know that [company name] helped clients achieve [strong statistic] last quarter alone? As you can imagine, the phones are ringing off the hook right now. Leave your message and I’ll get back to you in the next 24 hours.”
Or you could get silly with it. Start the greeting off as usual:
“You’ve reached the voicemail of [your name]. I’m not at my desk right now, but…”
And then bring in your favorite voice assistant to entertain them for a few seconds:
“Hey, Alexa! How many more days until Easter?”
Alexa would then come in with a statement like the following (without the image, of course):
Then, bring it back to your business:
“Well, you heard the lady. Only 39 days to go until [tie it back to your sales pitch].”
7. The out-of-office greeting
People are always so eager to talk about what they do with their time off:
“I went to Orlando with the kids.”
“We honeymooned in New Zealand.”
“I’m taking a long weekend to adopt a dog down state.”
You never know what your personal anecdote might stir up conversation-wise with your prospects. “Oh! I was in Orlando last year! How was it in October?”
If you’re taking time off for yourself, you could drop a quick note about where you’re going in the voicemail or give it a funny spin like this:
“Welcome to the voicemail of [your name]. I’m pretty sure my wife and I are sleeping through ⅔ of our honeymoon right now. But I promise, as soon as we’re back and fully rested up, I will get back to you. Oh, and if you’re feeling impatient and want to move this along, my sales manager Jane is awaiting your call. You can reach her at [phone number/extension].”
What does your voicemail greeting say about you?
As a salesperson, you’re trying to create a perfect voicemail greeting, and trying to connect with prospects on a human level. If that didn’t matter to consumers, you could simply hand them a list of specifications and a contract and let them do the rest.
Because the personal element matters, a tool like your voicemail greeting, as shown for the voicemail greeting examples, has a role to play.
By recording a greeting on your cell phone that matches your personality, and entertains or surprises callers, you may find them more willing to call back and try again than they had before.