About two years ago I published this tip with the most effective way to leave a voice mail message and get it returned. Read the tip before proceeding.

There are actually five keys to leaving a voice mail message and getting it returned.

  1. Less is More – the less you say, the better your chances of getting the call returned so do not provide any more information than your name, apologies for missing him/her, and the number where you can be reached. Do not provide enough information for anyone to determine that they don’t need to speak with you.
  2. Try, try again – Before you leave a message, attempt to reach your prospect several times – early, late, lunch time, tomorrow and yesterday.
  3. Friends and family – If you leave a message, make sure you sound like you know the prospect and the prospect knows you. Sound like someone they would want to speak with.
  4. Getting the call returned – How many times should you leave a message? After your prospects play your message the first time they say, “I have to call back, but no, it’s not the most important call to make.” So they put it off until tomorrow.  Tomorrow, they say, “He didn’t call back so maybe it’s not that important.” And they put it off for one more day. When you haven’t called back by the third day they simply delete the task to call you back. Prevent this from happening by leaving messages every day until you get a return call. This signals the importance of your call and most will eventually call you back.
  5. You must get over whether or not you are comfortable with this. Comfort is not a requirement for action – effectiveness is. If you would simply do what you need to do to succeed, without concern for whether you are comfortable, you will succeed.
It’s more difficult than ever to reach prospects by phone. While email is an option, there is an expectation that in an email you will provide details and it’s the details that allow prospects to decline your invitation to have a dialog. So if you don’t have enough referrals, introductions or leads to get the new appointments you need to fill your pipeline, make better, smarter use of the phone and leave voice mail messages that have a chance of working.

What should you say once they call you back? Thank you. Then begin the conversation for Reaching 1st Base. You can find 16 more tips for Getting to 1st here. Also, you might review the section on Getting to 1st Base in Baseline Selling, and the exercises for Getting to 1st Base in the Baseline Selling Field Guide.