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Using Voice Mail Toward Cold Calling Success

Let’s be honest. Cold calling isn’t easy. So there are probably lots of times when you’ve actually been relieved that you didn’t reach a prospect personally. You weren’t really thrilled to leave a voicemail message, but you “had” to.

You know that leaving voicemails means you probably won’t get a return call. But it feels better than going back to the receptionist, who is likely to challenge you. 

The Receptionist Gatekeeper

Receptionists are often expected to act as gatekeepers to protect employees from sales calls. So they often do challenge callers with questions like, “Who is this?” or “What is this in reference to?” or “Is he expecting your call?”

With the traditional cold calling mindset, you probably dread these challenges as much as you dread actually reaching your prospect directly on the phone. It’s no wonder you tend to choose the path of least stress by leaving a voicemail. And then you go on to the next call on your list. 

It’s almost as if you feel relieved when you can leave voicemails because you avoid having to deal with the other person’s suspicion that you’re trying to sell them something.  And by not going back to receptionists, you avoid being challenged by them as well.

So by the time the day is over, you might feel good because you’ve played the “numbers game.” You’ve made a lot of calls. The need for “activity” has been satisfied. But you haven’t really connected with anyone. 

Ask for HelpIn the new cold calling approach, you can go back to receptionists without freezing up when they start asking questions. You stay centered in the focus of wanting to help a prospect solve a problem. So you’re easygoing, relaxed, and confident. 

You might say something like this:  “Hi, maybe you can help me for a minute? I’m trying to get a hold of Mike and got his voicemail. Would you know if he’s at lunch, on vacation, or in a meeting by any chance?”

Now you’ve invited the receptionist to help you in the task of finding Mike. Most people like to help, and most receptionists will. Notice also that you’re offering options, which makes it easier for them to help you.     

Cold Calling Cell Phones?

Would you feel comfortable asking the receptionist for your prospect’s cell phone number? Or does the idea of cold calling to a cell phone put knots in your stomach?  Well, it’s a fear that only comes along if your primary goal is to sell something. In other words, if you’re still using the traditional sales mindset. 

But once you master the new cold calling perspective, you’ll feel comfortable calling anyone, any time, using any mode. You’re trying to help someone solve a problem, and you’re okay with any outcome. 

So now you can feel comfortable asking for a prospect’s cell phone number. You might ask the receptionist, for example, “Would you happen to have a paging system or his cell phone number by any chance?”

If the receptionist replies, “Sorry, we don’t have those,” then at that point you can say, “Thank you very much. I really appreciate your help.” And then hang up, and call back another time.

The Very Last Resort

Once you’ve tried everything to locate your prospect, your last resort is to leave a voicemail message. If you do this well, you may actually get a return call. 

So instead of talking about yourself and what you have to offer, try something like this:  “Hi Roger, maybe you can help me out for a second? I’m not sure if you’re the right person or not, but I’m trying to reach the person responsible for reporting problems about manual filing systems. My name is Joe Doe, my number is…”

Try this alternative approach. Talk to the receptionist before leaving a voicemail message. And you’ll be amazed at how often you navigate comfortably through “the system.” Often, you’ll be able to talk with your prospect after all. Or if notHealth Fitness Articles, you can leave the kind of voicemail message that really will invite a return call.

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Ari Galper, founder of Unlock The Cold Calling Game, makes cold calling painless and simple. Learn his coldcalling secrets even the sales gurus don't know. To receive your 10 free audio mini-lessons visit

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