What does your voicemail message say about you?

What does your voicemail message say about you?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Jeffrey, What is the importance of having a creative, active voicemail rather than a regular everyday message? I am just afraid of not sounding professional enough if I have one on my phone that’s out of the ballpark. Dan

Dan, I would rather sound friendly, than professional. And so should you. If you’re looking to impress your customers, make certain that you’re “conversational” rather than stilted. Don’t tell me the day; I already know the day. Don’t tell me how important my call is, the fact that I’m calling you is important. Don’t tell me you’re away from your desk, I really don’t care where you are.

Rather, tell me how quickly you respond, and something of value. Something to make me think. You could offer a famous quote, or your thought for the day. You’re still being professional, but the accent is on friendliness.

YOUR VOICEMAIL MESSAGE REALITY: The voicemail you record on your phone is the impression of who you are when you are NOT there. It informs the caller how original you are, how creative you are, and how friendly you are. Or not. It shows the customer how much prep time and thought time you put into your message. And even though it might be friendly, or lighthearted, it’s a reflection of how serious you are as a businessperson and a salesperson to be engaging, approachable, and different from others who do the same thing you do.

Below is a list of a few thought-provoking quotes that you can use to make the caller stop and think, reflect on what you’ve said, respect you for your insight, leave a message, and eagerly take your return call.

NOTE WELL: The quote needs to be changed every day if you’re serious about your voicemail, and the impression that it leaves.

  • “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olson, President, Chairman and Founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson (1874-1956), Chairman of IBM, 1943
  • “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C’, the idea must be feasible.” – A Yale University management professor, in response to student Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service (Smith went on to found Federal Express – the professor went on to live in oblivion.)
  • “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” – Bill Gates, 1981
  • “This antitrust thing will blow over.” – Bill Gates, July 11, 1995
  • “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Company, rejecting the Beatles, 1962
  • “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – Harry Morris Warner (1881-1958), Co-founder of Warner Brothers, 1927

You should also post your daily quote on your website and your blog (if you don’t have one, TODAY would be a great day to enter the 21st century). And tweet your quote. And maybe have an archive of previous quotes.

ADVANCED VOICEMAIL: If you’re looking to prove your own creativity, you might want to add your thought at the end of the quote. What that quote means to you, or your interpretation of it. Keep it short. Limit your entire message to 40 words (15 seconds) or less.

  • “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.”- Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back. I have learned that doing is the most powerful action.
  • Same quote: “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.”- Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back. What can I do for you?

Voicemail is NOT something to be taken lightly; rather it is to be studied, taken seriously, and used as a sales tool and a reputation-building tool every day. Failure to do so leaves your competition wide open to gaining a competitive advantage. So if you’re either on your phone or away from your desk, or telling me what day of the week it is (when it isn’t), you’re losing a huge opportunity to make a professional impact and leave a friendly impression. BONUS: One of your callers may even tell someone else to call you just to hear your message. In sales, that’s called a lead.


If you want a few more meaningful quotes to use as your quote of the day, go to www.gitomer.com and enter ATTITUDE QUOTES in the GitBit box.