Lately, I have been listening to voicemail messages left by salespeople, and I have to say, I’m not surprised prospects don’t return their calls. Few, if any, of their messages were effective.

Here are three reasons prospects aren’t returning your calls:

  1. Message length. Most of the voicemail messages I listened to were far too long. Some of them lasted more than a minute, which is way too long. Decision-makers will delete a message in less than 10 seconds if they sense it is not important. That means you need to capture their attention in those few scant seconds.
  2. Wrong focus. Most voicemails focused on the seller’s company, product or service. This is the equivalent of “showing up and throwing up.” A more effective approach is to identify a problem your prospects may be facing and allude to a solution. Or, ask a question to stimulate their thinking.
  3. No compelling reason. The voicemails I heard failed to present a reason prospects should return their calls. Prospects are exceptionally busy. They don’t have time to return sales calls — unless, of course, you can give them a compelling reason to do so. (See #2.)

For better results, consider these three ideas:

  1. Be brief. Limit your voice message to less than 30 seconds; 20 seconds is ideal.
  2. Focus on value. Create a powerful and compelling value statement.
  3. Pose a question. Ask a high-value question relating to a problem your prospects might be facing.

You may not get a return call from every prospect, but if you follow these guidelines, your callback rate should improve significantly.

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