Escape cold calling Voicemail Hell


We have all been there. Suffered excruciating aggravation and annoyance, when we can’t get someone to pick up the phone or return a call.

They were interested enough to request information from us. We diligently follow-up, yet soon we start hitting our own heads against the brick wall that has “voicemail hell” and “no returned phone calls” written all over it. What to do?

Well here is an idea which seems to work well. Adapt this model to your own situation and let me know what happens.

First, let’s dispose of some misconceptions.

A. People will recognize your potential value when they get your first package.


No matter how good your initial response package is, one touch is not enough for people to appreciate the benefits you may provide them. There are exceptions, but they represent the cream skimmed off the top, not the prospects from which you will eventually generate the bulk of your business. You must remind people frequently of what you can do for them.

B. Your goal is to talk to them.

Not necessarily. Your goal is to get the information you need, (let me repeat – that you need) to determine whether there is a “next step” involved with this prospect, and when the best time is for that next step to take place.

C. That if you can’t talk to them, the opportunity is lost. As you will see shortly, that is not true.


When you follow up, try this format for your voicemail message. Here is a format I use. “Hi, Jane. You had previously requested information on improving sales productivity. If your salesforce needs more appointments with decision makers, more leads, or the ability to close more accounts faster – and you have an interest in exploring some options that have worked for others, please call. This is Scott Channell, Breakaway Growth Strategies, 978-296-2700.” Hang up.

Notice what this script does. 1. Talk about the prospect. You, you, you is mentioned repeatedly. There is no “I, me or we”. 2. Reminds them of the benefits you have to offer. 3. Tells them that you have options which have worked for others, hinting at credibility and giving them a reason to call you back. 4. Puts your name and phone number at the end of the message.

The first thing they hear is that they have contacted you (who is this I called? I will listen for a moment.), then they are reminded of the benefits you provide (I could use help in this area. Did I throw that package away? Did I get it?), then at the end they get your name and number. Why leave your name and number at the end? So that people can’t immediately write you off and hang-up without being reminded of what you can do for them.


You are not finished yet. Just because you leave a distinctive message doesn’t necessarily mean people will respond. We want to increase the odds further that you will get the info you need – and you have to make it easy for your prospect to respond. You can do that by using a unique fax form.

Any decent contact manager can merge information with standard letters for a personalized look. You will create a standard letter which can be faxed to your prospect. When you finish leaving your voicemail message, just press a button on your keyboard and this personalized letter will fly out of your printer. This is what it should consist of.

NOTICE FROM SCOTT: The rest of the article makes reference to fax. This is an older article and this is the way it was done back in the day. Please don’t get your shorts all twisted and disregard this article simply because it references fax. The concepts are what counts and you can apply them to all your “touches.” Whether it be Email, letter and yes…. some people still do use fax as part of their calling process with great results…. you can pull some great strategies and model language from this article. Scott

1. TO: Their name, title and company name.


This is your benefit oriented headline to get their attention. Again, notice the use of the word “your”. All the attention is on them, not you.

3. Two or three short paragraphs reminding them of the benefits you provide.

4. A format whereby they can literally check off the appropriate response.


“Yes, I would like to meet with you. Call me, the best time to reach me is ____________, or call my assistant _____________ at extension _________ to schedule a time.”


“I have some interest in your services, please call me on this date.________”.


“I am particularly interested in: then list ub-categories of your services they can check off.”

And most importantly…

“We would like to consider you conduct some sales training or speak to our salesforce.

The date of these events are ______________”.

You get the idea.

A nice touch is to hand write “Jane, Sorry I missed you. Scott.” across the page.

Makes it more personal.

The point of all this is that you provide your prospect with an alternative method of giving you the information you need, while at the same time reminding them of the benefits and services you provide. It requires virtually no extra time to do this and can drastically increase the response from prospects. There are various ways to structure these fax forms.

Having used and experimented with fax back forms for years I have many samples of formats which have significantly increased response at minimal cost. I like to tell salespeople I work with that I have about 10 forms that seem to work consistently, but that I have a stack about an inch thick of formats tested that bombed. During my training and coaching sessions I share these forms with you.

You can format your merge form so that all their specific info is already on the form. All they have to do is check off and fax.

If you do this a number of times and receive no response, you can reasonably conclude, that after having consistently communicated your most important benefits and having made it very easy for them to respond, that they have no major need at this time — and you can move on to better prospects and not waste any more of your time. Calendar them for another cycle of follow-ups some number of months in the future.

Best wishes for prospecting success,
Scott Channell