B2B Sales Blog
Back to Blog Index

The 30-Second Sales Voicemail Rule

30-second sales voicemail rule

Are Short, Vague Sales Voicemail Messages Recommend?


“My decision-makers let everything go to voicemail. I posted my dilemma on a LinkedIn sales group asking for advice, and one person said I should call, give my number, leave my first name and say, “I have a question for you,” and then hang up. What are your thoughts on this type of strategy?”


Leaving mysterious sales voicemails is called the Vague Voicemail Strategy, and it’s very damaging to your reputation and wallet.

Leaving a vague sales voicemail message isn’t going to help you win new business.

When a prospect gets a vague voicemail message, they think it’s one of three things:

  1. A client needing help;
  2. A potential new customer;
  3. It’s a sales call.

So if they take a chance and make a call back only to find out it’s a sales call after all, what do you think happens to your prospect’s mood? How would YOU feel? Probably pissed, right?

First impressions are everything. Is that how you want your first impression to go down with your new prospect?

When I’m making sales calls and get voicemail, it’s essential to realize that I don’t want every prospect to call me back. I only want the prospects that desire a change to call me back. Those are the leads I am looking to invest my time in.

If you want prospects that desire a change to call YOU back, you’ll have to hit their hot buttons.

You should know the top hot buttons your targeted audience has before you call them.

Knowing how to pick your zebra out of the herd is critical to sales success. Learn WHY your best clients are your best clients (the problems they had that your solution solved), and make sure you hit that message when calling a new prospect and leaving them a voicemail.

Sales Voicemail Script Example:

Hi (Prospects Name), its Michael Pedone with SalesBuzz.com. The reason for my call is we help inside sales teams increase voicemail callbacks an average of 20% by providing them with word-for-word scripts customized to their audience. I’d like to see if what we do would work for you as well. You can reach me at 888-264-0562 Ext. 400 until 3 pm today. Again, it’s Michael Pedone, SalesBuzz.com at 888-264-0562 Ext. 400. 

And now send an email saying the same thing.

How Long Should My Sales Voicemail Be?

I’ve seen reports that voicemail should be 30-seconds or less.

And while I agree that 30-seconds is a good rule of thumb, I have been a daily witness for over 20-years listening to someone break that rule and get more voicemail callbacks than I have ever seen.

Let me explain.

Suzanne Pedone (my wife) started a fixed asset inventory management company right before we married in 1996 (She recently sold her business to [email protected] and then joined their team)

I started my first company back in 2002, which I eventually sold in 2007, and then began SalesBuzz in 2008ish.

In both cases, we often shared office space. OK, technically, I was a squatter during most of those times, but I digress.

I would often hear her leaving voicemails, breaking several standard rules regarding leaving voicemails, only to see her get callback, after callback after callback.

When one of her sales reps had a prospect go silent on them (the phrase “ghosting” wasn’t a term yet), she would call, leave a voicemail, and often received a callback before the end of her meeting with the rep!

The 30-Second Sales Voicemail Rule

The 30-second rule regarding voicemails was created due to salespeople rambling and over-explaining why they were calling.

Explain too much, and the prospect has enough data to make a decision, without calling you back. Don’t share enough info, and now they are skeptical and often are not willing to call you back.

So the 30-second voicemail rule is there for a good reason.

So how have I seen excellent results with this rule broken over and over again?

I started to listen intently to how she left voicemails, and here’s what I noticed.

#1: Sincerity.

No trickery, smoke and mirrors, or half-truths. Before she ever picked up the phone, it wasn’t about trying to close a deal; it was about helping. She had a sincere desire to see if she and her company could help the prospect and determine if they wanted that help.

#2: Tone.

Because her sincerity was, well…sincere, the tone of her voice matched. And since she loves what she does, there’s just the right amount of enthusiasm in her tone. And when I say the right amount, I mean like one notch above neutral. Nothing turns a prospect off faster than fake enthusiasm.

#3: Purpose of the call. 

She explained the circumstances of the call without over-explaining. And the purpose was always focused on the nitty-gritty of the roadblock. From where the last conversation left off, the problem at hand, and the solution (a brief mention – not explanation) on how to solve it.

Yes, they were almost always a little longer than 30-seconds. And it didn’t matter.

It’s always important to know the “why” when it comes to rules, especially in sales. As in “why is it recommended, voicemails should only be 30-seconds?”

When you understand the “why”, you’ll know when to bend or break the rules to achieve success.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the founder of SalesBuzz.com – a turnkey on-demand skills-building program for inside sales teams.