Partners in Prospecting

Don’t leave me this way: Getting results from your voicemails

October 30, 2019

When I first started at Caldwell, I was tasked with making several cold calls to Advisors that didn’t know about our firm. My biggest frustration was the number of voice mailboxes I encountered and the lack of response when I left a message.

I quickly realized that in sales, no matter how successful you become, you always have to deal with voicemail. Finding ways to master voicemail so that it helps you reach the goals that matter to you – will set you apart from your competition.

I decided to take the bull by the horns and look for proven strategies to get responses to my “cold” voicemails. Enter Colleen Francis, of Engage Selling. She has a proven strategy for breaking open the voicemail clamshell. I learned that she has a three-step approach and that her tracked success rate for getting in contact with people is 75%.

She recommends following this easy three-step process, when you are not known to the caller:

Step 1. The first call (leave a short, purposeful message that requires no action by the person you are calling):

Hello John. This is Alex Taylor from XYZ Financial. I am sorry to have missed you today. I’m calling because you may be interested in some of the ways that we have helped our clients to reduce taxes. I promise to call you back again on DATE and TIME (try a different time of the day, 2-3 days later). NOTE: If you have a client who referred you to the person please bring up their name at the start of the call (Jason Leo said you may be interested in…).

  • Your tone is soft, non-threatening and friendly – Like you are trying to start a conversation.
  • If you have a connection – Mention your connection up front (it may be a referral from another client of yours or contact).
  • Follow up with an e-mail indicating the same information.
  • Notice the message does not include leaving your phone number. There’s a reason for that. Your first message must not require any kind of task or action on the part of the called party. You’re the one who makes the commitment to call back at a specific time and date.
  • Call back on the exact date and time you indicated – To create trust.
Step 2. The second call (leave a short, purposeful follow-up that fully meets the commitment you made earlier):

“John this is Alex from XYZ Financial. I promised to call you back today and I’m sorry we missed each other. As I mentioned before, I’m calling because we help clients reduce their taxes and I thought you may be interested in our services. I’ll try you again on DATE and TIME.” (try a different time of the day, 2-3 days later).

  • Call back exactly when you said you would – True to your word.
  • Be prepared in the event that you get your prospect on the phone when you call.
  • Follow up with an e-mail indicating the same information.
Step 3. One last attempt (leave one final, purposeful message that takes ownership as to why the call hasn’t been returned):

“John, this is Alex from XYZ Financial, I’m calling because I promised to reach out to you today. I noticed you are often away from your desk and I suspect it’s because you’re either swamped at work, not interested in our services or I’ve been wrong at guessing the times you might be available (humorous tone). Whatever the reason, if you wouldn’t mind letting me know how to proceed, that would be great. Why don’t you call me back at 647-288-0158 and if I don’t hear from you I’ll call back again on…(pick some date about two weeks after this call).”

  • This is the only time to leave your phone number – You leave the door open rather than slamming it shut.
  • If you had a connection you would mention that you promised to get back to that person with an update.
  • Follow up with an e-mail indicating the same information.
  • You must take 100% ownership for why that person might not be returning your calls. Not only does this ensure you maintain a friendly, professional tone, it also says to the person they can be open with you if they really are not interested.

I found I had a high success rate as well (80%) once I started to implement the process. In most cases, the prospects got back to me by the second call and e-mail. Sometimes they would indicate they wanted to speak at a different time or sometimes they were not interested. By the last call – when I left a message asking the prospect to tell me how to proceed – they (almost always) got back to me.

I have since customized this process to reflect my personal style and now I use it for every new prospect. Sometimes I will change it up and begin the process with an e-mail promising to call on a set date and time. This can be equally as effective.

As always, let me know how it works for you at 1-800-256-2441, ext. 246 or e-mail me directly, at, with any questions you may have. I will post another blog entry in a few weeks to help you develop your business.

Note: There is a song title in this blog post. Did you find it?

About Jennifer Kuta

For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.

Investment involves risk, uncertainty and assumptions. The value of investments rise and fall and there is a risk you may not recoup the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The views expressed, while based on current market conditions and information, they are subject to change without notice and as such, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from such expectations. The comments are an illustration of broader themes and intended to be for general information purposes only.
Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future results as they involve uncertainties and assumptions; there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations.
The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of specific tax, legal, accounting or professional investment advice. Readers should consult with their own accountants, lawyers and/or financial advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action.
The information contained herein is from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. No representations or warranty, expressed or implied is made by Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. or its affiliates.

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Vice President, Business Development and Sales

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