When to Follow Up After Leaving a Voicemail

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“How Soon After Leaving a Sales Voicemail Should a Follow-Up Call Be Made?”

Well, first of all, that depends on what your definition of a “follow-up” call is. To me, a follow-up call is after I’ve spoken with a prospect and for whatever reason, we weren’t able to close on the previous call but the opportunity still exists and a follow-up call needs to be made.

If however, what you are really asking is “after leaving a “first-time” voicemail, when should I try a second (or third, fourth, fifth etc) attempt?” that’s a different scenario altogether.

Assuming you meant the latter, that will depend on a few factors:

1) The Type of Lead.

Is it a true “warm” lead (warm lead means the prospect raised their hand to be contacted. Example: They filled out a proposal request on your website) Or is it a cold call? If it’s a warm lead, I will be more aggressive because if they contacted me, most likely they are also contacting my competition looking for a solution as well. And no salesperson likes to hear “Oh, we already found a solution”.

2) Opportunity Potential.

Example: Let’s say you sell to certain verticals and the lead you have is a known vertical that doesn’t buy very often… I’m not a big fan of chasing leads with a low % ROI. But making the decision of who and who not to chase will come in part by you truly knowing what constitutes a high probable suspect for you.

In other words, we should never be calling random companies of a list (unless that list was developed using several key prospecting factors – my version of KPI’s – that qualified them to at least be probable sales suspects)

Example: I could help individual real estate agents increase their success rate when selling by phone but it’s not a huge audience for me. So even if they raise their hand, I won’t chase them with multiple calls/voicemails like I would a B2B company that has an inside sales team.

3) How Aggressive You Want to Be.

I’ve found greater success being on the more aggressive side as opposed to the passive side.

Example:

  1. Leave a voicemail in the morning.
  2. Schedule and execute a “second attempt” in the afternoon (no voicemail this time)
  3. Try again mid-afternoon the next day.

That’s three attempts in 24 hours, not including the emails that you should be sending after the 1st and 3rd calls. If it helps, and you really want a “system” to follow you can try this formula here: 0, 1, 3, 5, 7, 10

Sales Follow-up Process: Zero to Ten System

0 is day one and that is where you made two attempts. Plus sent an email after the first attempt. That’s 3 “touches” altogether (Want to increase it to 5? Find them on LinkedIn and submit a connection request as well as follow them on Twitter… they’ll get a notification that you are now following them)

1 is the next day (your 3rd attempt) followed by another email.

3 is 3 days after the last attempt.

5 is 5 days after the last attempt.

7 is 7 days after last attempt (not from zero but from 5… there is such a thing as being too aggressive)

10 is 10 days after the last attempt (take it as far as you like, but if you aren’t getting any feedback after this, you really need to re-evaluate the lead. If it’s worth chasing, send a special delivery of a coffee basket or something to his/her staff with a unique note. Something to truly grab their attention, assuming that your messaging previous to this was unique, to begin with)

This pattern/cadence (and others like it) only work when you properly build your lead list and have your sales scripts properly written and rehearsed. You’ll need all the ingredients put together if you want the right results.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.

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