Okay, it is time to start talking about the “how” of leaving messages, but there is one more point I want to make about the “why” and it relates to Caller ID. For those of you out there contacting prospects and not leaving messages, know that your company name is likely showing up on Caller ID. And many people now refer to their telephone screens on a regular basis to see who has called them. So think about it – there’s your company name showing up time after time, but no message in voicemail. What does this say about you? Is it professional? Now … on to the “how”. When calling someone you do not yet have a relationship with, brevity is the ideal. And you do want to inspire some curiosity if possible. State your name clearly, maybe even twice, at the beginning and end of the call. Include the day and time, and of course, your phone number (say this twice too). If necessary, provide some information about when you’ll be at your desk to receive their return call. And that’s it! Don’t start explaining the reason for your call. Definitely don’t begin your pitch in voicemail. This will not help you build relationship and, even more importantly, it will guarantee they will not call you back. Why? Well, in this crazy busy world we live in, when people pick up voicemail messages, especially if there are a lot of them, they start to form answers while they listen. You may do this yourself in an attempt to keep things moving, get things done. But what often happens is, that answer they give to themselves while listening to your message, or speak out loud to their empty office, they come to believe they said to you … and they don’t call you back. Or, based on information in your voicemail message, they make a decision and feel it isn’t necessary to call back and speak to you further. Leave a brief, professional message and inspire your prospects to call you to receive the detailed information they need to do their job well.