People Use the Phone Differently Today – Leaving Voicemail

People are less likely to pick up the phone today, and especially if the call is from someone they don’t know or is from a number they don’t recognize.  You are more likely to get voicemail or some other automated system, even when calling a business.

At one time, it was not practical to leave voice messages when doing High Probability Prospecting.  Salespeople who were telephone prospecting in those days got better results when they just moved on to the next number in their list.  The odds of getting a live person on the phone were much higher then.

Today, we do recommend leaving a very brief voice message.  Just your name, your company, the subject of your call, and your phone number.  As short as possible, with much less detail than a prospecting offer that you would deliver live.  The usual mistake is to say too much.

One of the consequences of leaving messages is that you may begin to receive a greater number of inbound prospecting calls (where a prospect calls you).  The skills required for handling these conversations are very different from doing outbound prospecting.  It takes a special kind of listening.  But that’s a topic for a different blog post.

Note:  Jacques Werth had written an article titled Top 6 Pitfalls of Voice Mail Messages (which appears in a list of articles on the main HPS website).  In that article, he argued against leaving voicemail.

People Use the Phone Differently Today – Leaving Voicemail

19 thoughts on “People Use the Phone Differently Today – Leaving Voicemail

  1. Rob Lehrer says:

    Valuable update of HPS best practices, Carl. I took Jacques’ HPS class (with Paul Bunn assisting) before voice mails and emails were as prevalent as today. So I’m thrilled to see revisions of HPS to match the times. Thanks, Carl.

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  2. Fran Yorio says:

    To follow up on life policies with no current agent at our agency:

    I’m calling about your life insurance you have with us. This is Fran Yorio from XXX, 260-xxx-xxxx.

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    1. Hello Fran,
      The message you wrote reminds me of the salesperson who says they are calling about my credit card account. Even though your message is true, it is similar to a common lie. You might have better results with a different message.
      Carl Ingalls

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  3. Fran Yorio says:

    To follow up on life policies with no current agent at our agency:

    I’m calling to review and update your life insurance you have with us. This is Fran Yorio from XXX, 260-xxx-xxxx.

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    1. Fran,
      The next thing to do is to say it out loud a few times, and listen to how it sounds. Then, leave it as a message on your own voice mail system, and listen to that. We recommend this for all voice messages.
      Carl Ingalls

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  4. Mike Kossiski says:

    I have been taught to leave a message such as, This is Mike with xyz insurance please give me a call at 555-555-5555 or This is Mike with xyz insurance. I’m calling about your insurance, please call me at 555-555-5555. We do get call backs. Thoughts?

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    1. Hello Mike,
      What is the purpose of the call? And by that, I mean what is your purpose for calling?

      In High Probability Selling, we are very clear about our purpose, and we make it obvious in the message we leave for the prospect. If we are looking for someone who wants to buy more insurance, we say so up front. If we are calling customers who no longer have an agent assigned to them, we ask if they want one.

      If we were looking for someone who wanted to listen to a salesperson talk, we would make that clear. And if we were not willing to be direct and open about what our purpose is, then we would not be doing High Probability Selling.

      Happy Prospecting,
      Carl Ingalls

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      1. Mike Kossiski says:

        Thank you for your reply. I see after reading the reply and your original post about voicemail, I am not being specific. My revised would be more like, I’m looking for people who want a comparison quote on their home and auto insurance. This Mike with xyz insurance, 555-555-555.

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  5. Mike Kossiski, your message contains no features of the product you’re offering. In HPS, there is no compelling reason for a prospect to return your call without two features and/or result produced. Add features/results produced to give your prospect a compelling reason to listen to your message.

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  6. Thanks Carl. I revise the advice I gave to Mike Kossiski after re-reading your 1/30/2018 comment. Perhaps one feature & outcome will be better in today’s faster world because the message will be shorter than it would with two features and/or outcomes.

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  7. KE says:

    Carl, How long do recommend waiting after you leave voicemail? Do you leave another one every 3-4 weeks as if you had made live prospecting offer?

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    1. Hello KE,
      In ordinary prospecting situations, I recommend 3 to 6 weeks. When I am prospecting with an offer of a specific HPS training workshop that starts a week away, I might leave a second voicemail in a few days. Several people are experimenting with things like this.
      Happy Prospecting,
      Carl Ingalls

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