getting voicemails returned, Joe GirardIt’s tough to get voicemails or emails returned. We all know that.

Now, before we dive in, let’s also realize that many people don’t even check their voicemails, right? Today, I want to give you a process you can test to at least give yourself a fighting chance.

By combining voicemail, email, and texting, you are working to try and simply make contact.

There are 5 things you need to do to ensure success with voicemails:

  1. Have a purpose or objective for your call
  2. Give them a compelling reason to call you back
  3. Have a plan – be prepared
  4. Practice what you will say
  5. Stand out
The key is to remember that people DO have time and money. But do they have it for YOU?

Are you prepared to leave a voicemail?

Before you pick up the phone and call someone, are you ready or do you wing it? Once you have made calls, do you track their effectiveness? Do you share the knowledge with your team and constantly work on improving your message?

If you are not satisfied with your results, what will you do about it?

The good news about these five areas is that they are completely within your control!

Remember that effective contact strategies are not about tricks, manipulation, or tactics. They are based on doing the BEST things to get your clients to speak to you, do business with you, and refer you.

I recently attended a webinar hosted by and they shared some great pieces of advice.


  • Keep your voicemail to 18-30 seconds. More than 30 seconds, and the calls will drop
  • Use “teasers” to grab attention
  • Leave your name and number twice
  • Reference the other forms of communication you will be using (ie. I am also sending you an email about this)
  • In your email, use “Re: voicemail” as the subject line. Keep in mind that people may not be able to answer right away, but still want to hear from you. Also, this way you will see hot prospects in your inbox quickly
  • There is not one-size fits all, so test, test, test

Go through the process below and map out your own contact strategy. Ask yourself if you would return your own calls. Use the templates provided or make your own!

“It’s not that they’re not interested, it’s that you’re not interesting. Get interesting.” – Me 

Voicemail process

1) Objectives/Purpose (examples):

  • Impress them/excite them
    • Cool statistic
    • Interesting job type
    • Exciting time of year
    • Testimonial (even play a recorded audio)
    • “Our business was recently voted as…best….”
  • Demonstrate personality (we are experts, nice people, helpful, great choice, care…)
    • Help you make sense of info
    • Let me help you
    • I know lots of competitors will call you
    • My role is to guide
    • I have x years’ experience…
    • What most people are surprised about…
  • Outline a problem
    • It’s confusing
    • Overwhelming
    • Not sure where to start
    • Not sure if you qualify
    • Process is too complicated
  • Invitation
    • Come to visit us
    • We have a guest speaker
    • Meet someone at the campus
    • Community activity
    • Online presentation
  • Share a resource, tool, or valuable piece of information (and you can give them the best tip with a call to action to get the rest)
    • Helpful guide
    • My best piece of advice
    • Getting started checklist
    • Top five questions to ask vendors

2) Compelling Reasons (Examples):

The mindset of your customer should be, “If I do one thing today, it’s getting back to this person.”

  • Do not pass go until you talk to us first. I will help you make sense of all this info on a quick five minute chat
  • I have a resource/checklist you can get
  • I have a few questions to make sure I am helping you achieve those goals
  • I have two more tips just like that
  • Let me show you where the hidden opportunities are
  • I can share with you where the industry/market/trends are
  • Insights to help make this easier
  • Let me connect you with people
  • Give you access to a private event, online site, network, etc

3) Have a plan

Make a chart like the one below and list out what types of voicemails you try. Share the results with your teams! When was the last time you split tested your voicemails?


3) Practice and Rehearse

Practice in the mirror, record it as an audio and play it back, and try it with a partner. See if you like how it sounds. Remember to set your energy and intentions before each call!

4) Be different!

When someone hears you on the other end of the phone, hears your voicemail, or reads your emails and texts, do they FEEL like you are someone different? Or just another call? Do they get excited at the possibility of speaking with you? Be the person you would want to speak with on every call.

Are you a resource? Or a nuisance?

As for voicemail scripts, review what variations have you been trying. Do you even have options? Just one/two/three? What level of energy? Who are they being sent to? What stage are they at in the contact strategy? What have they received so far? Are these warm, cold, stale leads? This gives you a bit better context.

The whole process of getting voicemails returned is a dance. There are no perfect scripts for doing this and you should always go back to testing, testing, testing. Perhaps record exactly how the voicemail is typically being said and listen to it. See if you notice anything.

Right from first point of contact, your leads should get a sense of your excitement, urgency, and ability to help them solve problems. So it’s much more than just a voicemail script. It is the process of trying different ways engage with people.

And you can definitely send them a brochure, just make sure you test it as part of other options. Here is what I suggest as a process you can test for a new lead that comes through your site:

Contact strategy for new leads

I have recently done some work with Velocify and they have a pretty solid 22 day contact strategy they have mapped out based on research. They are a very forward thinking company and I would definitely recommend them for CRM. I especially like the first point of contact timelines and have added my part about what to do at each step.

  • Initial call (immediately) – no voicemail
  • First email (within 20 minutes) – something along the lines of “thanks for reaching out, we are here to help, here are the first things you can do (value)…next step is to have a quick chat…” It doesn’t need much promotion, but instead should give some real value.
  • Second call (30-60 min) – leave a voicemail. Something that says (in your own words), “I just sent you some cool stuff you can check out and would love to see how best to help you…let’s set up a quick call or a time for you to come see me and I can answer any questions you have…I can give you info on resources, opportunities, ROI, or pretty much anything you need to know about your options. I will try again in a few hours. You can either email, call, or text me back.” (again, test different things to say)
  • Third call (1-2 hours) – no voicemail
  • 2nd email (24 hours) – this would be something that has value and asks them for insight on what they need from you. A great subject line that you can test is important here. You may consider “top 3/5/11 tips to (your industry thing)” or “5 ways to choose a (vendor) that’s right for you” or “free brochure for download.” There are a number of ways to test all this out, try variations.

Again, you don’t know what your audience will respond best to until you test it. You may even want to ask some current or previous customers what they would like to receive. Have fun with this process and be open to testing constantly and sharing the knowledge with your internal teams.

Then you want to track open rates and see what sticks. Hope that helps.

I did a bunch of research into voicemail strategy, so if you like this and want more, let me know in the comments…

Remember to like and share this post. And make comments below!

Joe Girard
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