A COLD Call Voice Mail; Your Thoughts?

in Call Recordings

Some people think I make up the horrible call recordings I share with you.


In fact, as you read this, thousands–if not hundreds of thousands of calls are being placed, and messages are being left that have zero, zilch, nada chance of success. Just ask anyone at your company, or any business owner or manager in charge of buying anything.

Today we have another example, this one submitted by long-time training client Rose Molz, President of EZ Office Products in Madison, WI.

Take a listen, and share your comments below. I’ll weigh in with my commentary in next week’s tip.

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Crooks August 11, 2016 at 11:21 am

There is absolutely NO reason why Rose would have the slightest inclination to call this person back. The caller TOTALLY wasted his time and Rose’s time for having listened to the message.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 7:49 am

Agreed. Glad she did though… it’s great material for us here 😉


Dianne McCoy August 11, 2016 at 11:21 am

I get messages like this all the time and I never return them. The caller doesn’t give any info about their company or what he wants so there is no reason or incentive for her to waste time calling him back.

If I don’t know the caller/company, I don’t return the call.

If I didn’t ask them to call me, I don’t return the call.

If they cold call me but are offering something I need to learn about or buy, I will generally call them back.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 7:52 am

Aha, so we have proof that some people DO return prospecting calls IF they are targeted. I’m saying that a bit sarcastically in response to all the “gurus” who claim that no one EVER returns a prospecting message. Of course we Smart Callers know that is not true. Thanks for sharing, Dianne.


Mike August 11, 2016 at 11:27 am

Art you’re such a bully!

Give the guy a break! He only needs a minute of her time! And he gave her the “may or may not” option.

He gave the value proposition, you may have missed it.

You KNOW you always make your decisions on who to call back based on where the person’s business is located, so stop already!




Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 7:54 am

Exactly, Mike. Actually, just because someone took the time to call me and leave any type of message obligates me to call back. (End of sarcasm)

I’m not sure everyone read into your humor there like I did, Mike. I like it.


Mike August 17, 2016 at 10:54 am

Yes, just a taste of sarcasm


Janet Galope August 11, 2016 at 11:30 am

This caller goes on and on about his company without sharing the purpose of his call, showing any value, or a reason for Rose to call him back. The tone of his voice suggests that he has placed this same call thousands of times with zero results, and it is killing his soul. He needs a cold call makeover stat!


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 7:56 am

“Killing his soul.” Love that line… I might use it in some of my promotional copy for the Smart Calling course… which is what the guy needs… not “cold” calling, right? He’s already doing that.


Jake August 11, 2016 at 11:40 am

That hurts… That hurts really bad. Well, I feel better about myself even though I recently finished reading Art’s book Smart Calling and feel… well… that I have a lot to learn. This guy needs you, ART!!


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 7:58 am

Yes he does Jake.

Go back through it again… it’s not just a book, but a system. And sales and prospecting is like golf.. we get better at it with doing the right things, continually practicing to get better. And we ALWAYS can get better, but never should feel we have it mastered.


Rich August 11, 2016 at 11:44 am

Nothing about how he can help or what he does. Zero reason to call back. People like this make it tough for the rest of us trying hard to make a difference in our customers lives.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:01 am

Well, yes and no. Horrible callers do harden the defenses of people when they see a call coming in. BUT, when we surprise them with a targeted Smart Call, it’s refreshing, different, and they become interested in the message because it’s all about them.


Diana Schneidman August 11, 2016 at 11:44 am

There’s a dynamic sales call (sarcasm)!

First he suggests that it’s fine if she doesn’t call back. Then he says the company is local but he gives no hint as to the service or the product.

Nothing like leaving all the heavy lifting to the prospect.



Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:02 am

Nice of him to give that permission to not call back… then she doesn’t need to feel badly about it 😉


Dan Lawlor August 11, 2016 at 11:45 am

Wow! No name of the company; no mention of the product or service; no enthusiasm in the voice; Why would this woman ever want to call him back???


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:03 am

Maybe because Rose is an extremely nice person… but not that nice.


italo testa August 11, 2016 at 11:49 am

I think the calls lacks professionalism, very vague, doesn t make me want to call him back, that’s for sure….just no good, that’s not cold calling for me.


Italo Testa


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:04 am

Agreed on the assessment. But it is COLD calling… not SMART calling.


Paul August 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Boooooo. Why in the world would anybody return a call like that.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:05 am

At some point I hope he wonders the same thing when no one does, and then gets some help on how to do it correctly.


david snitzer August 11, 2016 at 12:10 pm

May not have a reason to call me back…..um yeah, there’s no reason TO call you back. none,zero,nada.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:05 am



Ray Bigger August 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm

You think you have problems with calls like that. Where I live in the Far East that would rank as a good call!!


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:06 am

Wow, really? If you can record some, and they are in English, please send me a few.


Kate August 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm

He is a business owner but not a sales person. He needs to hire an expert! Also, I did not hear a value proposition.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:08 am

Interesting observation… owning a business is easy to enter, but tougher to stay in, since sales are a MUST, by someone.


Geoffrey Riddle August 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Rose should call the guy back, get his email and share all our comments with him. See if he has the guts to ask for help or he just slinks away.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:08 am

Hmmm, I see an idea for a reality show in the making.


brian Young August 11, 2016 at 1:13 pm


give me a break this is no voice mail, who is he but an “owner of a company on th west side? is this for real.
lousy phone connection disrupted the VM too.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:11 am

I like Madison… great Midwestern college city, friendly people, brats, beer, fish frys… I don’t recall what is so special about the West side. Maybe that’s an attempt at a value prop (again, my goofy sarcasm).


John Pell August 11, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Art, the 1st thing that stood out to me was that the caller had zero enthusiasm. His voice almost said to me that he would prefer to not be calling Rose at all. When I refer to being enthusiastic, I am not talking about being loud, etc., just have a lilt to your voice that inspires people to return your call.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:13 am

Agreed, John. Regardless of how many calls we place that day, each person is hearing us for the first time, and deserve our A game, just like a Broadway actor who has done the same play hundreds of times.


Steve Bagley August 11, 2016 at 4:13 pm

He needs your training 🙂


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:14 am

In a huge way. If someone is already putting themselves out there, why wouldn’t you want to do it in a way that minimizes the chance for damage while maximizing your chance for success?


Steve Hinch August 11, 2016 at 4:36 pm

I agree with what everyone is saying, but I also see promise. This guy, probably a twenty-something, obviously hasn’t had any training on how to do sales calls. But the fact that he picked up the phone and gave Rose a call suggests that given the right training and some confidence, he could become a lot better. This is completely different from one of Art’s previous examples of a caller from India reading from a script with no interest in what they were trying to sell. This guy might be trainable, although I will admit it’s not a slam-dunk. If he had been a hired salesman with little invested in what he was doing, the chance would be slim. But if he really is a business owner (even if it’s only a one-person shop) he must have had a passion for what he was doing, probably wants to do it better, and could possibly be open to coaching. Without it, though, it looks pretty hopeless.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:22 am

Great point, Steve. As I mentioned in some previous replies, not everyone who starts a business is a salesperson, but they MUST have sales to stay in business. Some learn it out of necessity and do well, others hire salespeople for them (and hopefully train them), yet others do none of the above and fail. Yeah, let’s all celebrate SALES… I’m on a roll here… reminds me of the awesome sales parody of the scene from “A Few Good Men” https://youtu.be/0OTgb3KO7QM


Pat August 11, 2016 at 5:03 pm

The only reason I would call this guy back is to tell him his voicemail message was so bad I felt compelled to let him know.
Then I would sell him a sales book on how to leave compelling voicemail messages that get returned calls.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:23 am

I pay affiliate commissions, Pat. Hmmm, this might be a new revenue stream…


John Van Epps August 11, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Pretty poor call, IMO.. As an avid reader of your books (I have several), and a former attendee to your in-person class, this is a travesty.

Without any sort of a value statement – nor even any indication of what this business is about – there’s zero incentive to call back.

Not only does he not understand the nuances of telephone sales (something my team and I learned from you many years ago); it appears he hasn’t even taken “Sales 101”. I feel sorry for him on so many levels. He may have an awesome offering, but no one will ever know what it is, or if it’s applicable to their operations, with this horrible contact…


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:25 am

Good to hear from you John! Yes, he could learn by sitting with your team and just listening for a bit.


Alan Young Sing August 11, 2016 at 11:23 pm

Art, I wouldn’t feel inspired to return his call.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:26 am

Nope… if someone was, it must not take much for them.


Jen August 12, 2016 at 4:42 am

He has a nice voice but sounds really tired of making these calls. I did like how he used her name. He just needs to be establishing more of a connection between what he knows about her business and what he can offer her, the value proposition, maybe ask a question, and be more compelling about why she would want to call him back. With training, he would have a lot more success.


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:29 am

I like how you are looking for positives, Jen. I agree, if I had to find a positive, it’s that he doesn’t sound like he’s reading something. Although his delivery is tired, that can be fixed. Now the messaging on the other hand…


Linus August 12, 2016 at 7:00 am

Thank You for this Art


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:29 am

You’re welcome!


Ron August 12, 2016 at 7:30 am

Mike says, “He gave the value proposition, you may have missed it.”

Sorry Mikey, there was NO value in that call. The caller’s name is irrelevant, the business name is irrelevant (at least he didn’t waste time with this), calling to introduce oneself is self-serving bullshit. He wasted 30 seconds of her life and delivered no solutions or hope for solutions. Where the caller is located is also irrelevant.

Everyone is listening to WII-FM. What’s In It For Me. And he failed miserably. No one believes a follow up call will last “a minute”. After all, he wasted 30 seconds and delivered ZERO.

His lazy, disorganized speech makes me question his ability to deliver the goods or services should he actually have something I may want. But I am not going to waste my time trying to tease it out of him.

Verdict: He will be out of business in six months.

P.S. At the end, it sounds like he called her “Russ”! CRINGE!


Art Sobczak August 12, 2016 at 8:32 am

Pretty sure Mike was being sarcastic, as I pointed out above.

And yes, we do need to hint at a possible result (the Possible Value Proposition in Smart Calling) to pique curiosity in the first few seconds to have any chance at all.


Karen Siravo August 12, 2016 at 1:23 pm

A smile before he picked up the phone would even be a huge improvement in his tone of voice. YIKES!


Art Sobczak August 13, 2016 at 9:23 am

Yes Karen, I recommend taking a few seconds before every call to enter “The Zone,” the state of mind we need to be in to play at a high level. Every time. Even with good messaging, a poor attitude and delivery sabotages our calls.


Mike M August 12, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Sadly, this where I am. No confidence, no training, and not making any money! I’m reading books, listening to audio books and watching youtube. I bought Art’s book and downloaded several of his free pdf’s. After every call, I evaluate what went well and what didn’t. Been in this game of inside sales for two full weeks after ‘training’ for three weeks.

Learning the product and pricing, plus figuring out how to sell unsexy commodity products that everyone uses in one form or another.

I’m 55 and was retired from a 32 year career in engineering and had to sign a do not compete agreement to get my severance.

On the way to the job on the morning of July 11, I mentally burned my escape boat on the beach, facing my enemy. Let’s ROCK!

The upside is I will master the products, pricing, and cold calling potential clients.


Art Sobczak August 13, 2016 at 9:36 am

Mike, a few points:

– your final sentence tells me you WILL succeed. A strong enough “want to” always finds a way. Success in sales–or life for that matter– is at least 80% attitude. (Don’t “cold” call though, SMART call.)

– a commodity is one if the salesperson THINKS so, and therefore so does the prospect or customer. That’s when price becomes the default selling point. People don’t buy the product or thing, they buy the result and the experience. Regardless of what you sell, how can you affect those things for your buyers?

– what, two entire weeks and you don’t have this sales thing mastered yet? What’s wrong with you? (dripping sarcasm) Seriously, you will never graduate from this school, but you will always get better, if you want to, and work at it. You have a good start… I suggest consuming massive amounts of knowledge. Be obsessed. Do what most people won’t do.

Keep me posted on the breakthroughs and success that you’ll have.


Mike M August 13, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Wow! Thanks for the pep talk, Art. Smart Calling was the first book I bought on phone sales and read it cover to cover. Will review it again after I finish one you recommended, Influence:, by Cialdini.


Art Sobczak August 16, 2016 at 8:29 am

You’re welcome! “Influence” is a classic and should be a must-read for any salesperson or marketer.


Bob August 14, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Ironically, there are successful sales trainers who are still pushing this type of voicemail message. I don’t see any value in it and I would never bother to return the call myself, but there ARE people who will. Sometimes people are successful in spite of themselves … it’s rare to be sure, but it does happen. The reason may be that they just have overwhelming numbers of dials and manage to find those people who will return a worthless voicemail.


Art Sobczak August 16, 2016 at 8:35 am

Thanks Bob. Well, “successful” is a matter of subjectivity… there are people pushing a lot of crap out there to the gullible masses and they sell a ton of it. They might appear to be successful, but I’ve seen lots of those come and go over the years. I’ll stay on the high road with ethical, professional methods, and do it without dropping f-bombs in my presentations, or screaming at people and telling them they suck. –end of brief rant–

There are better ways than the ‘numbers game’ methods. Lots of them are right here.


Lenny D August 17, 2016 at 9:15 am

“There are better ways than the ‘numbers game’ methods.”

Totally agree with this, and the numbers game along with poor sales management are what I believe allows poor or dated sales techniques to continue, but I have also lost count of how many times I have run into a brick wall with management and owners when making this point.

While no one wants to be associated with slinging more poop onto a wall in hopes of more sticking etc. it’s amazing to me to see how many do just that as a part of their fancy branded sales program.

To borrow your golf analogy theme the results of just swinging or working harder without the investment in training and practice to be selling smarter will leave your sales or sales team spending their time beating themselves up in the woods. Sure they will get in plenty more swings (working harder etc) but the end results are never close to the success of someone who works smarter even though they don’t make or waste nearly as many swings.

What a waste of energy, and everyone’s time.


Aaron F. August 25, 2016 at 8:04 am

From time to time I hang up the phone and think… “ughhh, that was voicemail barf”. After listening to that call, even my worst call is vastly superior than what I just listened to. It’s hard to believe messages that do not mention a company name, product, reason, anything compelling other than a possible introduction (introductions are not compelling unless possibly you’re a celebrity) can be left in todays competitive environment. Now I start to wonder, if this is typical of my competition, why I aren’t I a multi-millionaire?

Keep these coming Art, I love sharing these with my fellow sales peeps


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