The Three-Step Voice Mail Strategy

Voice Mail

One of the top challenges for most salespeople, if not THE biggest pain, is getting to decision makers, and more specifically, dealing with voice mail.

There are all kinds of systems, processes, techniques and tips on how to most effectively manage voice mail. Certainly you can find lots of them in the archives of my Telesales Success Inner Circle.

And for the Platinum Members of my Inner Circle, I recently interviewed sales expert, Colleen Francis, presidentColleen Francis of Engage Selling. A member suggested I look into her “Three-Step Voice Mail Strategy.” I did, and immediately knew I needed to share it with my members. Here are some highlights from that audio seminar.


Colleen first points out that when a decision-maker listens to your voice mail and doesn’t recognize your voice or your name right away, it’s not that they’re choosing not to return your call, it’s that they’re not even listening to your voice mail.

It is a busy world out there and your clients are being bombarded by marketing messages and it’s arrogant to think that they think you’re important enough to return the first message that you leave. No, it sometimes can take five, 11, 20 attempts,

Colleen Francis’ Three-Step Voice Mail Process
In Colleen’s first step, on a prospecting call she wants to use a referral of some type when possible. She believes that one of the fastest ways to get your calls returned is to use the name of the referrer up front because the minute they hear Bob’s name (the referrer in this case) they’re going to think, “Oh Bob. I know Bob. If Colleen’s calling because of Bob then there’s probably something I should know about or a relationship I should think about.”


So she starts with something like,

“Hi Art. It’s Colleen from Engage Selling calling because Bob Smith at ABC Company asked me to give you a call.”

 So a couple of things that are different about this voice mail technique: First, she is not asking you to call her back.  Instead, TELL them when you are calling back. 

 And do not leave your phone number. And the reason she doesn’t do that – and this isn’t just some whacky idea, they’ve actually tested it – is that it keeps the voice mail a little shorter, which is important. She points out most people just say their phone number way too fast anyways. So it doesn’t frustrate the end user. And it increases the likelihood you’re going to get them on that second call.

Colleen also finds that the likelihood of someone calling you back on the first call is so slim that it’s not worth it to leave your phone number and when you don’t and you call back exactly when you said you were going to, there’s a 50 percent chance that that person is actually waiting for your call.

 In Step Two, Colleen says it’s important to call exactly when you said you were going to call. This is the key to making this work. If you don’t call back Tuesday at 10:00 or whenever it was that you indicated, then this process is not going to work for you.

So Tuesday at 10:00 rolls around and she calls saying,

“Hi Art. It’s Colleen at Engage Selling calling because I promised to reach you today at 10:00.”

What you’re doing in a small way is starting to build a bit of trust here. The keyword here is promise. And still you leave no phone number.

With Step Three, this is where your work in honesty and trust building in sales really comes through. What she says on the third call is,

 “Hi Art. It’s Colleen from Engage Selling, calling because I promised to reach you today at 2:00. Sorry I missed you. I noticed you’ve been difficult to reach and I’m wondering if that’s because you haven’t had a chance to look at the proposal or maybe you’ve chosen another supplier or perhaps I’ve been picking the wrong times to find you at your desk.”

 She suggests three attempts by voice mail in around five to seven business days and then waits two weeks and then starts it again.

Two weeks later this message arrives:

 “Hi Art it’s Colleen from Engage Selling calling because I promised to reach you this week if I hadn’t heard back from you about ABC proposal or our conversation at the tradeshow. Sorry I missed you. I’ll call you Wednesday at 3:00.”

 You can listen to an actual three-minute segment at this point in the audio seminar here:



So, there you have Colleen’s Three Step Voice Mail process. And this was just a brief overview of the process we covered in our audio seminar, “Voice Mail Strategies that Sell: How to Get Through More Often, More Quickly, and Get More Calls Returned.”

In this seminar we go more in-depth with the process, and discuss lots of other how-to tips and strategies with voice mail and screeners which will help you get through and sell. To see complete information on how you can listen to this audio seminar right now, and get the written transcript of it so you can see the words on paper, and get the CD, go to



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