7 Voicemail Messages for Successful Ad Agency New Business Development

Good voicemail messages are a critical part of an effective sales and marketing campaign
by Todd Knutson

Good voicemail messages are a critical part of an effective sales and marketing campaign: they develop awareness and rapport before a conversation begins.

I have a friend who's the CMO at a major retailer. One day she told me a story about how agencies and other marketing companies typically approach her. She said that she receives more than 10 unsolicited calls every week. All callers were directed to her voicemail. Of these, she said:

  • 90% couldn't articulate why they were calling
  • Only 5% left an intriguing voicemail message

In the training that we've done for many advertising agencies, as well as the business development professionals at Catapult New Business, we have identified an approach to leaving voicemail messages that professionally builds your agency's brand, articulates why you're calling, and builds rapport with your prospects.

The following 7 messages are a good outline to follow to achieve these objectives.

Note: No voicemail message should be longer than 20 seconds. In these examples, I'm assuming you are following up on something you've sent (e.g. an email or package).

Message 1: Answer the question - Who are you? Do not leave your telephone number; tell them you will call them back.

Message 2: Answer the question - Who have you worked with (current/past clients)? Again, do not leave your telephone number. Why? They won't call you back, and why should they?

Message 3: Answer the question - Why are you calling? You must be able to state your reason in a way that makes sense from their perspective! It's now appropriate to leave your phone number and say when you'll call back, but don't expect them to call you. Start revealing your personality, sense of humor, etc

Message 4: Answer the question - Why are you relevant? This needs to be a clear and succinct statement of why they should care who you are and what you do. What can you do for them?

Message 5: Answer the question (again) - Why should they care? Objective - give them more "meat" about your agency.

Message 6: Answer the question - What recent work is important to them? Your prospect should hear your message and respond with, "Wow, those are impressive results - they know what's important to me (industry, competition, revenue, market share, etc.)."

Message 7: Answer the question - Why am I not going away? Be you - for example with humor or sincerity - and let your prospect know that you really want to work with them, and that you aren't going away. You might now let them know that you'd like to speak with them about one of their current challenges. Or, offer an insight into a challenge they may be experiencing, perhaps based on research you've done.

As you can see, you shouldn't plan to stop after leaving 7 messages. Instead, now develop a plan for your next seven messages.

If your voicemail messages are professional and interesting, and if you've positioned your agency so you're relevant to your prospect, you will start experiencing greater new business success.

Your prospects will develop a positive feeling for you and your firm. And, that's the best way to begin a potential business relationship.

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