How to Use Voicemails to Support Effective Prospecting and Lead Generation

Prospecting and lead generation are an important part of any sales process. Voicemails get a lot of bad press, and yet used correctly, they can have a significant effect on the actual sales process itself. So here in this post, we are going to have a look at how to successfully weave a voicemail strategy into the prospecting and lead generation process.

You’re not just whistling in the wind

When measured against things like emails or telephone conversations, many business people feel that leaving a potential client a voicemail is rather like just whistling in the wind. It’s because a voicemail is rather one-sided, and in most instances, you have no way of establishing whether or not someone has actually listened to it. Consequently, many people see voicemails as being less effective in terms of prospecting and lead generation, than sending out emails or holding telephone conversations.

However, the fact of the matter is that this is not so. When voicemails are a component of a carefully designed outreach strategy, quality voicemails can actually help salespeople to construct relationships with potential clients and can help to get themselves recognized as being potentially helpful resources. They can be an invaluable part of the early sales process.

Notice that we used the term “quality” voicemails. In other words, there is a right way and a wrong way to leave these messages. So without further ado, let’s analyze the dos and don’ts.

Accentuating the human element behind the message

A carefully constructed voicemail can be more effective than an email. According to research recently carried out, the recipients of emails have something like a 50/50 chance of misconstruing the tone of an email. What this means in effect is that even a well-constructed email can easily be misunderstood or poorly received.

A voicemail, however, allows the salesperson to put across additional meaning, using the tonal quality of their voice. Messages that would be received in a more friendly way when they are vocally expressed could easily be taken the wrong way and could even seem aggressive in an email.

When recipients listen to voicemails they are also reminded that there is another human being on the other end of the phone. This means that in mere seconds, a friendly sales professional can turn themselves from what would be an anonymous name in an email, to a potentially useful human resource.

Approach voicemail creation with the right attitude

In order to get the most benefit from leaving voicemails, salespeople have to approach creating a voicemail with the right attitude. There are three approaches to evaluating voicemails. They are:

  • Good voicemails create return calls
  • Well constructed voicemails educate the listener in terms of the products
  • Effective voicemails actually add value to the listener experience

People who rate the effectiveness of voicemails, on the matter of whether or not they generate a return call, will almost certainly come to the conclusion that they are not effective. The truth of the matter is that something in excess of 90% of all sales calls generally go into the voicemail box. When the potential buyer retrieves the voicemail, if it is simply a sales play, the buyer is likely to automatically delete it.

Carefully crafting the voicemail to become an important touch-point in the sales process.

When the person leaving a voicemail constructs the voicemail with the intent of increasing their sales prospects, this will benefit both parties. The listener is not just hearing another tiresome sales pitch, and the salesman or woman who leaves the message is potentially constructing a reputation as a useful resource rather than someone who just accepts purchase orders.

The potential buyer may not immediately react to a voicemail. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the voicemail has had no effect. From this point of view, voicemails should be viewed as being another touch-point in the communication chain, and not an end result. It is generally accepted that an average of five touch-points goes into making a successful conclusion; so making use of this touch-point philosophy facilitates the sales process.

Effective voicemails should not be designed to repeat product selling emails, but should rather reinforce them. It’s important that voicemails should be constructed from the point of view that they will be listened to. However, there is no way of knowing in advance whether or not the voicemail will be reviewed, so it is best to err on the safe side by ensuring each voicemail contains the added value.

How to construct voicemails as part of the early sales process

Here are a few tips in terms of how to construct an effective prospecting voicemail.

  1. Simply construct a voicemail that provides the listener with helpful tips on how to improve his/her life, while at the same time piquing their interest for more information.
  2. Design voicemails in order to pave the way for follow-up emails.
  3. Vary the formats of your voicemails. For example: initially, leave a useful tip. Follow this up with a warm-up message for an impending email. Next, refer to the email, and finally, leave a voicemail giving additional information.

The effectiveness of voicemail to the sales process when you know what you’re doing.

Voicemail campaigns constructed along these lines are useful tools when it comes to prospecting and lead generation. In other words, they can be an effective part of any early sales process, especially when they are employed by people who know what they are doing.