Can I Vent For A Second?

Annoyed man on phone

Today’s blog post may or may not help you, but I promise it will make me feel better! And it’s a lot cheaper than an appointment with my therapist.

You are a sales PROFESSIONAL, right? So why do so many “professionals” have horrifically bad outgoing voicemail messages? It drives me bat $#*! crazy.

If you ask anyone who has ever worked for me, they will tell you this is one of my all-time pet peeves. Perhaps I’m overreacting. But I promise, if your voicemail has any of the phrases below, you may be losing credibility with the people trying to reach you.

Tim’s Top 11 Peeves As It Pertains To Voicemail

  1. No outgoing voicemail message at all. Instead, the computerized voice that says, “You have reached 555-121-1212. Please leave your message after the beep.” – Whenever I hear this, I wonder if they are dodging creditors or they are afraid that whoever is calling will know for sure this is their phone number. C’mon, take 60 seconds and set up your voicemail already.
  2. “The voicemail box for this subscriber has not been set up.” – Seriously? I actually get this message at least once a month when calling “professionals.” Enough said.
  3. “The voicemail box belonging to Joe Agent is full and can no longer accept messages.”  – Ummmm, why? Which one is it, are you too clueless, too disorganized, or both?
  4. The voicemail that was set up from the car while driving. You know what I’m talking about. You can barely understand the message due to the background noise. I get it, you are busy but find someplace quiet to record your outgoing voicemail message. Your callers will thank you.
  5. “I’ll call you back at my earliest convenience.” – This may be the one that drives me the craziest. I’m so glad that my call was so important to you that you will make sure it doesn’t inconvenience you. Lose this phrase!
  6. “I’ll call you back as soon as possible.” – What does that mean? An hour, a day, a week? Give me a timeframe to expect your return call (by close of business, within 24 hours, etc.) and then overdeliver. I personally use 24 hours, but I usually return calls within a few hours. (Why I only return voicemail twice a day.)
  7. “So, you know what to do…” – Don’t try to be funny or glib. Remember, you are a professional, act like one.
  8. “Leave your name, number, the time you called, the reason for your call, any other pertinent information, your mother’s maiden name, your astrological sign, Social Security number, shoe size…” – Do I really need to tell you all of that to get a return call? I’m guessing my name, number and (perhaps) the reason for the call should be enough.
  9. “After the beep” – Oh, I have to wait for the beep? Weird, when did that start? If only I had known…
  10. “I’m so sorry I can’t come to the phone right now…” – Are you really sorry? It sounds disingenuous to me as I’m usually not very sorry when I can’t answer the phone.
  11. “Your call is very important to me.” – Every single call you get is important? Even the calls from telemarketers or your annoying brother-in-law? I get you want to be polite, but let’s not kid each other.

O.K. What Should I Say?

So what do I suggest instead? “Hi, this is Tim Martin with Success Is Voluntary. I’m currently unavailable. Please leave me your name and your best contact number. I’ll get back to you within 24 hours. I promise.”

How simple is that? Make sure your outgoing voicemail message, leaves a clear message: That you are a true professional.

Get Your Voicemail Messages Returned

Read How to avoid voicemail hell. 6 tips that will keep you in the game.

Your Turn

What is the most annoying thing that you’ve ever heard on an outgoing voicemail message? Amuse the SIV Tribe by leaving a comment below.

Tim Martin

Tim Martin

Tim has spent the last 22 years in the VB sales world. During that time he has recruited and trained over 2,000 agents to get people to do what they should, but wouldn't do if we didn't come along. In addition to his leadership rolls at the two largest VB carriers on the planet, Tim has worked with outside organizations through consulting and sales coaching. His energetic and humorous key note addresses have also inspired and electrified audiences throughout the United States. Currently Tim is also working on his first book "Success Is Voluntary." Tim and the lovely Dizzy D reside in Peoria, Arizona. They have been married for 30 years and are the proud parent of two gorgeous grown young women, Brittny 29 and Victoria 26.

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