Nine really bad voicemail ideas to avoid.

Four ideas to improve your cold calling voicemail approach.


Voicemail ImageThe following is taken from Paul Lovoie’s/Response Marketing, posting (with his permission) on the Fresh Sales Strategies LinkedIn Group (it’s a pretty good group, by the way). He listed some really bad voicemails left on his phone.



Here’s a list of some of them.

  • “If you could give me a call back, that would be great.”
  • “I’m calling to see if you have any projects we can work on.”
  • “Calling to follow-up on my e-mail.”
  • “Just wondering if I can schedule a time to present our solution.”
  • “I’m looking for the right person.”
  • “I’m calling to see if you are doing any mailing campaigns and need a list”
  • “I’m doing a little fact finding and trying to learn more about your business and what it is you do when a need pops up, If you can, please give me a shout.”
  • “I wonder if you can help me out…”

They all have one thing in common. They are all caller-centric, not target centric (I need your help or I’d like you to see if we can…). None of them offer anything that might interest the target unless they just happen to be ‘in the market’ to buy what they are selling right now.

He also mentioned that none of these people called more than once. For those of you who believe leaving voicemails is a waste of time, if you only leave one, you’re right—and if you only call once and don’t leave a message, the call was also a waste of time.

He wrapped up his posting by suggesting that we sales professionals attempt to build a relationship with him first. He suggested we send him relevant information that might be helpful. Find a way to keep in touch, but don’t sell to him. He said that when he was ready, he’d remember us and reach out to us. If you get his permission to do this, it’s called ‘dripping’ on the target. There are a lot of technology platforms out there designed to do this. It is also marketing’s job, not sales people’s.

Too many sales managers are driven only by sales numbers NOW which means they’re not into relationships that don’t evolve into immediate sales. So, perhaps we need to start by redefining the term ‘building a relationship’, as even I am not recommending we have a goal of building meaningful relationships without an opportunity to sell something NOW. If we modify the definition by saying we’re introducing ourselves and beginning the process to build what I call a ‘Dialogue Bond’, I’m in.  In my cold calling world, a Dialogue Bond is a loose relationship formed through a few short conversations that occur as I call and catch them through my planned pursuit plan over time. It simply results in the target recognizing me each time I call until they are finally either willing to allow me the opportunity to convince them to listen to my value proposition, or they are flat out needing to enter into a buying conversation with me. It creates a true ‘warm’ call.

I’d like to also add something to Paul’s comment that he’d call us when he was ready to buy—and that is, if he really does that, he’s one in a million. Not enough people take what we send them and put it in that ‘folder for the next time they purchase’.

Most people will not be able to recall your message or you when it comes time to buy unless you’ve built that relationship, or you happen to be present when it’s time to buy again. They will, however, be more likely to recognize your message or your name when they hear it again if you’ve been working at keeping it in front of them—even if they can’t remember where they heard about you. That can give you a leg up on the competition.


  1. You must have a plan as to how many times you will call, how frequently, and what the message will be each time. Calling once is a waste of time.
  2. Change your mindset from trying to build a relationship to building a Dialogue Bond. And to do that, you’ll have to have a conversation and ask for permission to call back again in the future each time you talk. (We call that professionally disengaging.) You’ll also very seldom accomplish that with one attempt.
  3. As to being there at the right time, that’s easy to accomplish if they do it on a systematic basis, so ask. The insurance and real estate industry calls this the ‘X’ date and they are very good about asking when a target’s current insurance or lease expires. Each time you do talk to the target, bring up that topic and employ a system that will remind you to call back at the appropriate time. Don’t leave that part to chance.
  4. If they don’t buy on a systematic basis, then design the call frequency into your Best Practice that allows for frequent enough pursuit plans to not miss out on the next round.

If you’d like more information on voicemail and email strategies, or why no team of sales professionals has ever failed to at least double the number of Initial Appointments they were setting after going through one of our programs, give us a call or drop us a line. We love talking about the challenges of appointment making!

Caponi Performance Group and Contact Science jointly market the telephone prospecting and cold calling solution called Coldcalling101™.  It is the only comprehensive solution to solving the biggest barrier to success in most selling organizations—the inability to secure enough Initial Appointments to begin the selling process. We accomplish that through simultaneously addressing both the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.  We can be reached at 817 224-9900 or at You can also find answers to many of your challenges in our books: Contrary to Popular Belief, Cold Calling DOES Work! Volume I: Effectiveness, The Art of Appointment Making and  Volume II: Efficiency, the Science of Appointment Making.


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