When prospecting for new clients, does it make sense to leave a voicemail?
In a word, yes!
The vast majority of prospecting calls go to voicemail. Some sales reps gripe and grumble when they’re automatically routed to a prospect’s voicemail. They complain, “Nobody ever answers the damned phone!”
Don’t be frustrated when calls go to voicemail. Don’t consider voicemails to be a bad thing, because they’re actually little blessings in disguise. See them as opportunities, little advertisements that can be customized exactly to each prospect’s unique situation. Because you’re most likely going to get voicemail whenever you call, put a lot of thought and effort into each voicemail.
Decision makers you are trying to reach are extremely busy, so it’s taking multiple prospecting attempts (phone calls, emails, voicemails, office visits, social media interactions, etc.). Let’s refer to these attempts as “touches.”
In a recent article entitled, “The Case for Leaving Voicemail Messages on Prospecting Calls,” sales guru Jeb Blount says that prospecting is rarely a one-and-done activity. It takes persistence and many touches to get a decision maker to engage with you.
Blount shared data his company, SalesGravy, Inc., gathered that show just how many touches it takes to get a decision maker to talk to you. Prepare to be shocked:
1 to 3 touches to re-engage an inactive customer
1 to 5 touches to engage a prospect who is in the buying window and is familiar with you and your brand
3 to 10 touches to engage a prospect who has a high degree of familiarity with you or your brand but is not in the buying window
5 to 12 touches to engage a warm inbound lead
5 to 20 touches to engage a prospect who has some familiarity with you and your brand—buying window dependent
20 to 50 touches to engage a cold prospect who does not know you or your brand
Let those numbers sink in a little bit.
Many people will look at these numbers and have an immediately negative reaction. They’ll say, “How could I possibly contact a prospect 20 to 50 times?!!?”
But the glass-is-half-full salesperson will see these numbers and be relieved. That person will think, “I don’t have to be frustrated that it’s taking so many attempts to get a prospect to call me back. It’s normal. Everyone is experiencing the same thing. If I keep calling, I’ll be ahead of the game because most of my competitors will never make enough calls!”
You have to initiate quite a bit of communication in order to attract new business. If you don’t leave a voicemail each and every time you call, how on Earth will you ever get enough touches with enough prospects to build a decent book of business?