How to leave a Voice Mail that earns a Call Back

After reading this article by Rob Fontano, I started thinking of all the horrible voice mails I received over the last few years.

Some of the poor guys/gals didn’t even get a return phone call from me since I could not understand the number they left.

I decided to post the video Rob created as he has some skills that pay the bills when it comes to voice mail.

“A voice mail could be the difference between a customer calling you back, and you never hearing from the again”

Wow, that is powerful stuff isn’t it?

I remember a time when I was working at Leasebusters and I had to share an office with my co-worker (Randy) whose desk was about 3 feet from mine.  I had to cold call dealers all across Ontario setting up appointments to demonstrate our offering.


Randy was not the type of guy who was afraid to give constructive criticism.  After a day or two of pounding the phones I guess my office neighbour had enough of my lightning speed voice mails.  At the time I was a bit annoyed that this dude was listening to skills on the mic – aka the phone.  He said I was speaking way too fast and it was one of his biggest pet peeves.  I listened to his approach and started to realize that mine sucked.  I started practicing my skills in the car on the drive to work and after a few weeks I was the Voice Mail Vigilante.

3 Must-Know Voice Mail Tips

  • Get to the point – Don’t talk about the weather, sports, or where you are standing while making the call.  Think of your voice mail as a trailer for a major motion picture.  Give them the highlights and a reason to call back.
  • Don’t be a funny guy – Be very cautious about using humour on the voicemail.  It follows the same rules as sarcasm in texts.  Stick to the game plan and leave the Chris Rock routine at home.
  • 30 Seconds at the most –  You do not have to get the stopwatch out but anything over 30 seconds is decreasing your chances of a call back and could easily result in a Number 7 (That’s what I call getting your VM deleted.  My cell phone says “push 7 to delete”.

Leave messages like Barack Obama

Barack would be the king of Voice Mails

Something about the way Barack speaks just fascinates me.  By no means am I suggesting you do your best Barack impression when you get sent to voice mail, however I am suggesting you take a listen to some of his speeches.

He has what they call the “Art of the Pause”.  Rob does a great job in the video above using Pauses to help his message resonate.  Just watch the President’s acceptance speech to see the Pause King in action.

Do you have any voice mail tips that help your calls get returned? Let me know in the comments section below!


General Manager at Ernie Dean Chevrolet Buick GMC in Alliston, ON. Sharing with you everything I can about the car business.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

6 thoughts on “How to leave a Voice Mail that earns a Call Back

  1. I want to give kudos to Jerry Thibeau, “The Phone Ninja” whom I picked up that end tag “If I don’t hear from you this afternoon, I’ll try you back this evening.” It is extremely effective in letting the customer know that this will not be your only attempt. I saw call backs increase after adding that to my teams arsenal.

  2. @Rob – Jerry is a stand up guy and a great trainer. I like that approach and use the same tactic myself. Great use of video!

  3. Your voicemails weren’t bad…you just talked too fast and for some reason sped up even faster when you left your phone number. My pet peeve is having to listen to the voicemail two or three times to get the phone number!

    Great video!

  4. @Randy – Huge pet peeve of mine as well. Actually voice mails in general kind of bug me. 5 years down the road I doubt there will be voice mail. Until then I’m going to follow Rob Fontano’s lead and master my skills.

  5. By asking a question such as (How much did you want for stock number or do you think that you could do the deal for X amount of dollars) please call a.s.a.p thank you ___________
    By doing it this way you are sure to get a response Breaking the ice by asking a question always gets a response. Why- because you have created an action and the person on the receiving end of the action feels obligated to respond to the action. Try it and you will agree.

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