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The Top 5 Reasons Prospects Don’t Respond to Sales Voicemails

4 min readMay 29, 2014

Leaving voicemails for prospects can be powerful in ways that sales reps can’t even comprehend. As an example, I recently received a voicemail from a sales rep at a company that sells software aimed at B2B content marketers like me. On his voicemail, he sounded engaging, knowledgeable about my industry and professional—the kind of person I like doing business with. I briefly visited his company’s website and investigate their solutions. While I identified that I don’t have an immediate need for the products his company offers, I noted that I might in the future. I took down his name, his company’s name and his number.

Even though I didn’t call him back right away, his voicemail put his company and their solutions on my radar and built up goodwill for his brand. In other words, his voicemail could lead to a future sales conversation. The point is that voicemails can add a lot of value whether or not a prospect calls you back right away. Even if a voicemail triggers an email response or a call back six months down the line, it still adds value.

The better your voicemails are, the more likely you will be to get a response — whatever that response might be. If you’re not getting as many responses as you like, a quick adjustment might be all it takes to drive more responses from voicemails than ever.

I left quite a few voicemails back in my sales days, and I’ve also spoken with top sales trainers about how to maximize voicemail responses. Through personal experience and research, I’ve been able to identify five of the most likely reasons that your prospects aren’t responding.

Your Voicemails Are Too Long

When I was a child, back in the days of answering machines, I remember that my grandma would frequently call my family and leave voicemails that were so long that they’d take up the entire tape. Instead of just letting us know she called and that she wanted to talk, she would relate long stories that would have been far more appropriate for phone calls or in-person meetings.

When it comes to leaving voicemails, too many reps are the inside sales equivalent to chatty grandmas: pitching solutions, discussing features and offering value propositions over a voicemail. Leaving long voicemails is not going to get you responses. Quite the contrary. Voicemails should almost never exceed 30 seconds. They should merely pique a prospect’s interest. Save your real pitch for an actual sales call.

Fear of the Unknown

From the time we’re young we’ve been told to be wary of strangers. When your prospects hear a voicemail from a person and/or company they’ve never heard of before, it sets off an alarm. When your prospects hear a name they don’t recognize their first thought is that they are being sold to. Today’s inside sales reps should always position themselves as helpful solution providers. No prospects want to feel like numbers in sales rep’s quota. That being said, your job when leaving a voicemail is to quickly build rapport with that prospect. In our latest free eBook, How to Maximize Response Rates from Sales Voicemails, we’ll show you some ways to alleviate your prospects’ fear of the unknown.

You Sound Bored

Are your sales voicemails boring and monotonous

Do your sales voicemails sound like the monotonous economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Liven them up!

If you want your prospects to be excited to get back to you, you better sound exciting. If you have a monotone sounding voice or sound generally unenthusiastic on a voicemail you are almost certainly not going to get a response. Remember, the idea is for prospects to want to talk to you. Try recording your own voice and listening back to it. Ask yourself this question: would you call you back? If the answer is no, start working on your tonality until you sound friendly and engaging.

You Sound Too Salesy

Perhaps the biggest mistake salespeople make during voicemails is pitching too aggressively. If you sound like a smarmy used car salesperson on your voicemail messages, your prospects are going to delete your voicemails faster than you can say, “lowest price guaranteed!” Avoid outright salesspeak and buzz words. It’s okay if your prospect knows that you are a sales rep. Qualified prospects don’t mind hearing from sales reps. They just want to speak to sales reps that sound helpful, possess integrity and seem knowledgeable.

Your Voicemails Aren’t Distinct Enough

Sales Voicemails eBookIs there anything distinct about your voicemails? Is there anything that would make a prospect return your call over the countless other voicemails in their inbox? If there is nothing that sets your voicemails apart from the rest of the herd, then your prospects aren’t going to be inspired to respond.

For our latest eBook, we talked to some top sales trainers about how to leave voicemails that will set you apart, engage your prospects and drive more responses than ever. Download How to Maximize Response Rates from Sales Voicemails today and quickly take your voicemail game to the next level.