Before you read this, stop and listen to the voicemail greetings for your cellphone and business line. Seriously, I’ll wait.
What do you think of your voicemail greeting? Does it sound professional, or is it outdated? Even worse, is it a computerized voice with a default message? (Ew.)
For many of us, our professional voicemail greeting is a crucial first impression. For others, it might be something that our clients and partners hear over and over again. An unprofessional voicemail greeting reflects poorly on you, and while it’s easy to overlook, it’s just as easy to fix.
Here are five tips for a professional voicemail greeting:
- Script it out beforehand.
- Make sure information is specific and up-to-date.
- Keep it short.
- Use a quality recording.
- Smile when you speak.
Script your voicemail message
Put some thought into your message before you hit “record.” It takes very little time to write a script for yourself to read as you record your greeting. Reading off a script eliminates unnecessary pauses, “ums” and “ahs.”
Writing a script doesn’t mean you have to write a speech. A simple greeting is fine, like this sample voicemail message:
“You’ve reached the voicemail of Dew Tinnin. I’m sorry I missed your call.
Please leave a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”
Of course, yours may need more details. But, even if you’re changing your outgoing message every day, it should only be a slight variation from a standard greeting.
Make sure information is specific and up-to-date
State your name clearly so the caller knows they have the right number. 3 of the messages I heard last month were missing his/her name.
If you only check and return messages once a day or once a week, let your caller know. This will avoid multiple messages by the same caller.
Don’t include the date unless it’s completely necessary. 16 of the messages I heard last month had the wrong date—one of the messages had a date over 2 months old!
If you’re working remotely now, but your mobile number isn’t on your business cards, add your mobile number to your business line’s voicemail message! If you’re worried that people will start calling your cellphone at all hours of the night – they won’t. They’ll treat it just with just as much respect as your business line.
Keep it short
Your message should be 20 seconds at most. Remember, your clients or co-workers may listen to this dozens of times.
Leave out excuses like “I’m probably with a client right now” or “I’m unable to answer the phone right now” – it’s obvious you can’t answer your phone if a caller is listening to your voicemail greeting!
Try to avoid unnecessary phrases that only make your greeting longer, like “leave your name and number and what you’re calling about.” Most people know what “leave a message” means.
Use a quality recording
The phone you use to record your greeting – and your surrounding – can turn your carefully scripted greeting into an unprofessional mess. Background noise is terribly distracting, so choose a quiet room or parked car to make your call. Landlines, or a “wi-fi enabled” cellphone call, can provide much better connection quality than a standard cellphone. If you must use a cell phone, be sure to use a high-quality headset for the best clarity.
Smile when you speak
It’s a scientific fact: Your smile can be heard in your voice.
And here’s a bonus tip
If you have an assistant, include their name and contact information in your greeting. If you have a hard time delegating tasks, this is an excellent way to start building it into your processes.
Remember, your message is a reflection of you. Keep it short, professional and ALWAYS return messages.
If you’d like more tips like these to improve your professional image and up your sales game, remember to subscribe!
Until next time—go sell some stuff!