The 20 Worst Prospecting Voicemail Mistakes Salespeople Make


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20 Worst Prospecting Voicemail Mistakes Salespeople MakeAmong salespeople who make sales prospecting calls, there’s a hot debate about whether or not you should leave a voicemail message.

I’m of the opinion that you definitely should – but only once every three days.

For a voicemail to have any impact, however, you have to avoid the common blunders… and many of them are easy to make.

During one of these hot debates, I asked our followers which are the worst voicemail mistakes you can make in prospecting.

Here are their top 20.

  1. Not leaving one so your prospect doesn’t have the chance to return your call.
  2. Pretending you have called when you haven’t.
  3. Not having planned what you want to talk about in advance.
  4. Talking about your products, instead of things that matter to your prospect.
  5. Speaking for more than 20 or 30 seconds without letting the prospect say anything.
  6. Leaving a message that’s too short and doesn’t give your prospect a compelling reason to call you back.
  7. Not showing that you have researched your prospect, and his or her situation, in your voicemail message.
  8. Speaking so quickly that you can’t be heard. Or worse, mumbling.
  9. Leaving a voicemail with lots of verbal pauses (like "ums" and "ahs") that make you sound less confident, and less credible.
  10. Leaving a message and then passively waiting for a call back, instead of continuing to try to reach the prospect.
  11. Not leaving your name and contact information at the end of the message. Better yet, leave it at the beginning when the prospect is poised to take notes.
  12. Sounding too "canned" or "salesy" to catch your prospect’s attention.
  13. Not mentioning your company’s website, if it’s your strongest sales tool.
  14. Using a tone of voice that suggests you don’t expect a call back.
  15. Not following up via other means, like email or handwritten note.
  16. Giving up too soon, when most prospects won’t return your call until you have tried them more than nine times.
  17. Not mentioning another company you have helped with a similar problem that the prospect is likely to have.
  18. Failing to stick to one topic per voicemail message.
  19. Not verifying that you have the right contact before leaving multiple messages.
  20. Forgetting to mention a common colleague or someone who has referred you.
Kendra Lee
Kendra Lee is a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer. She is a Prospect Attraction Expert, president of KLA Group, and author of the newly released book The Sales Magnet. KLA Group helps mid-market companies break through tough prospecting barriers to exceed revenue goals. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and events. To find out more about the author and her "Get More Customers" strategies, visit or call +1 303-741-6636.


  1. All great! (except #5 doesn’t belong as it assumes you are talking to the prospect.. not leaving a message).

  2. Kendra,

    I cannot imagine making a call and NOT leaving a message. How could you possibly make that mistake?

    I have heard or seen most of the other mistakes and it would seem that common sense would prevent most of them. Sadly, common sense may be in short supply in some circles.

    Thanks for the refresher.



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