5 Deadly Sins of Voicemail Messages

By Jim Domanski

The problem with the majority of voice mail messages is less the message… and more the message treatment.

In telephone selling situations, communication occurs at two levels: the actual words (the logic) we use and the tone (the emotion) we employ. Study after study reveals that about 84% of your messages comes as a direct result of how you sound – your tone- when you deliver your message. Therefore, it stands to reason that the better your delivery of the message, the better your results.


The 5 Deadly Sins of Delivery

When delivering a voice mail message there tends to be five common errors or ‘sins’ that tele-sales reps make.

Deadly Sin #1: Too Fast

The first deadly sin are messages that are presented too quickly. In B to B tele-sales about 70% of calls end up in voice mail so it’s not surprising that tele-sales reps begin to get impatient and eventually blurt out their message at the speed of light.

Regrettably, the listener ‘sees’ someone who is rushed and impatient; someone who is perhaps bored or does not really care, or worse, someone who is ‘slick’. Whatever the case, the image is negative and the return calls are few.

Deadly Sin # 2: Too Slow

The secondly deadly sin is a message that is slowly and deliberately presented.

You can have the most enticing and intriguing message but it will be deleted in seconds because your prospect does not have the time or inclination to wade through your words. Your slow pace conjures up an image of someone who lacks confidence, is uninterested or who is utterly bored. Who would want to do business with this type of individual?

Deadly Sin #3: Too Soft

Too soft a delivery is a close cousin to the slow delivery. A message that is delivered in a soft, low tone creates an image of someone who is hesitant, insecure and uncertain. Soft tones suggest that the caller is an inexperienced rookie and in the mind of the recipient, someone who does not know their product or their service. Hence, a call back is probably a waste of time and effort.

Deadly Sin #4: Too Loud

Some tele-sales reps overcompensate and deliver their message in a loud manner. This is meant to sound confident but it usually has a negative effect. A loud voice paints an image of someone overbearing and aggressive, perhaps obnoxious. At a conscious or a subconscious level, people perceive those who are loud as pushy and untrustworthy. Like it or not, a loud message turns most listeners off.

Deadly Sin #5: Monotone

The fifth deadliest sin is a monotone delivery and probably the most common. Lifeless and limp, one immediately gets a image of a tele-sales rep who is burned out, frustrated, disengaged or just plain bored with their job. These dreary messages occur because the rep has encountered voice mail after voice mail and has given up on the hope of ever getting a call returned. In effect, they are ‘going through the motions.’ The trouble is, the listener gets exactly the same impression.

Fixing the Sins

Remember: your message is evaluated on two levels: the verbal and the tonal. Unless you master the tonal level – how you sound when you leave your message- you will never have your message evaluated at the verbal level.

It’s easy to remedy these five sins. Practice your message and your delivery like a Hollywood actor. Treat the message as a script and rehearse your lines paying attention to the five deadly sins.

Call your own voice mail box at work (and at home) and leave a message. Do this six or seven times. About an hour later, listen to those messages and evaluate them. An hour creates time for objectivity.

Or go one step further. Leave the messages on your boss’s voice mail and ask him or her to evaluate the tonal quality. Do the same with co-workers.

In doing so, you increase your chances of a return call and getting more sales opportunities.

Incite: to stir up or provoke to action