With our headlong rush into social media and email, it seems that it’s become rarer and rarer for us to actually speak to others on the phone. This has definitely led to a decrease in phone skills, and unfortunately for many professionals it’s destroyed their ability to leave a good voicemail message. This problem is compounded by the fact that, since we’re leaving less voicemail messages, when we do find ourselves needing to leave a voicemail it’s important and we get performance anxiety.
By the way, I’m not talking about creating a perfectly-crafted sales message to get a cold call victim to call you back. I’m talking about the messages you leave for your colleagues, vendors, partners, etc. You may or may not know the person well, but you want to have a conversation with them – that’s why you called.
So how do you leave a good voicemail? Do this:
- While you are listening to their outgoing message, take a deep breath and smile. This will help with your enunciation and you won’t rush headlong through a mumbled message.
- Say your name clearly. C-L-E-A-R-L-Y. Don’t assume that they know who you are from the sound of your voice or from caller ID. Some people get a lot of calls, and they don’t want to play “pin the number on the voicemail”.
- Tell them what company you are from so that they have context.
- Tell them succinctly, but completely, why you are calling.
- Tell them what response you would like: do you want them to call you back, email you back, speak to you at an event, wait for your call, etc.
- If appropriate, let them know when they can reach you – this avoids the endless game of phone tag.
- Give them your phone number – take your time! Don’t assume that they can just get it from their caller ID.
- Repeat your name, company, and phone number at the end.
- Say “Have a great day!” – Finish on a positive note!
When you put it together, it should take about 30 seconds and flow something like this:
“Hi, this is David Fisher calling from RockStar Consulting. I’m giving you a call because our friend Billy Smith thought that we should grab a cup of coffee together and do some networking. Please give me a call back when you have a chance. I’ll be available the rest of this afternoon and tomorrow morning until 11. My number is (555) 555-5555. Again, this is David Fisher from RockStar Consulting and I can be reached directly at (555) 555-5555. I look forward to talking with you – have a fantastic day!”
Now the next time it goes to voicemail, you won’t freeze up – instead you’ll sounds like a true pro!