How to Leave a Killer Voice Mail Message (And Get Your Calls Returned)

By Jim Domanski

Are you getting a decent response when you leave a voice mail with a prospect or are you like the vast majority of tele-prospectors whose messages go unanswered?

Well over 70% of B-to-B calls encounter voice mail so it is imperative that you have a voice mail message that works for you and increases your odds of getting a call back.

Developing a ‘killer’ voice mail message that gets the attention of the prospect and gets your call returned doesn’t have to be a major challenge provided you use this simple template.

The “Only You” Killer Voice Mail Template

First things first, a voice mail message should only be used after you have made several attempts at a live contact with the prospect. Your best bet for success is always a live opportunity. The key point is this: don’t get lulled into believing that all you have to do is leave voice mail messages all day and your phone will start ringing off the hook. Even though this is a killer voice mail message, it comes as a last resort.

Example #1 (to a high tech director):

“Hi Brian, sorry I missed you. This is Katrina LaCorte calling from ABC Company.

Brian, I have a question that I understand only you can answer regarding your server capacities.

Could you please give me a call at _________’

Example #2 (to an engineer or an architect):

“Kim, sorry I missed you. This is Dave Potts calling from Red Laser.

Kim, I have a question that I understand only you can answer regarding the status of your continuing education credits.

Could you please give me a call at_________”

Example #3 (to a chiropractor or other healthcare professional)

“Dr. Roy, sorry I missed you. This is Sheri Roland calling from ABC Healthcare.

Dr. Roy, I have a question that only you can answer about lower back pain relief.

Could you please give me a call at _________”

Analysis of a Killer Voice Mail Message

Here is precisely why this is a killer voice mail. First, notice that the prospect’s name is used twice. This is a deliberate ploy. Using a prospect’s name not only personalizes the message but it gets the prospect to focus on the next 10-15 words. In other words, they actually listen to the message rather than dismiss it out of hand.

Next, is the use of the phrase “sorry I missed you.” This seemingly insignificant mix of words almost inevitably draws further attention to your message. An apology about missing them implies a sense of disappointment and creates a “gee-I-wonder-what-this-is-about” sense of wonder.

Third, notice there is absolutely no sales pitch or lengthy explanation about you, your product or your company. Leaving a pitch is typically a waste of time. Not because your pitch was poor but because it lumps you in with every other person who has left a message that day. Think like your prospect! He or she will hear they have seven messages and will quickly want to separate the important from the irrelevant. The moment they start hearing a pitch is the moment they delete or skip your message to move on to items that matter to them. Your message must be distinctive so it doesn’t suffer the fate of deletion.

Here’s the thing: the objective of the voice mail is NOT to sell or market your company, product or service. The objective is to create curiosity and get the prospect to RETURN you call.

Fourth, the heart and soul of this killer voice mail message is the phrase “I have a question that I understand only you can answer.” Think about it: this phrase subtly (or not so subtly) appeals directly to the ego of the listener. It implies that your prospect is the ‘resident expert’ or has unique knowledge that is required by you. There is an air of importance and/or exclusivity to the message and hence, it is flattering and hard to resist. Ego is an extremely powerful motivator in getting prospects to take action and this message deliberately seeks to tweak that inner sense of pride.

(Of course, you need to do your homework and make certain the question is applicable. Naturally, when prospects returns your call (and a fair number will), you need to have ‘the’ question ready to go.)

The last portion of the message is a simple call to action. Ask the prospect to call you back and leave your number. No fuss, no muss.

How to Make it Work for You

Okay, now it’s your turn. Think: what is a vital question that only my prospect can answer. It has to be important and proprietary. Once you have that established you’ve got it made.

Next, follow the template. Don’t change much. Learn to master the template before editing, changing, and revamping your message.

Finally, practice. Practice. And practice again. So much of this message depends on the tone of your voice. You must be comfortable delivering it so it doesn’t sound ‘read.’ It must flow to be convincing.


This voice mail message is highly persuasive because it leverages the psychological factor. It appeals to the ego without pandering. It creates natural curiosity. It is short, to the point, easy to listen to and easy to understand. It’s a killer voice mail message. Use it and see for yourself.

About Jim Domanski

Jim Domanski is president of Teleconcepts Consulting and works with B to B companies and individuals who struggle to use the telephone more effectively when selling and marketing their products and services.  The author of four books on tele-sales Jim has worked with clients, big and small throughout the US, Canada and parts of Europe.

His articles have been featured in magazines such as Selling Power, Sales and Marketing Magazine, Advertising Age and the Financial Post.  He is a featured speaker and guest lectures at various colleges and universities. Jim has also been featured on various television and radio programs.  The 2-time recipient of the highly prestigious “Daffodil Award for Tele-Sales Implementation, Jim is an avid reader, a competitive BBQer, a collector of edged weapons and a fan of the Food Network.

Incite: to stir up or provoke to action