What You Must Know to Make Great Voicemails

“October: This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August and February.” Mark Twain

Many times when you call a client said client will be unavailable to speak with you. This could be because the client is in a meeting, travelling or working at his desk and doesn’t want to be disturbed by pesky brokers. You can’t keep calling back so you leave a voicemail.

In London and Hong Kong, voicemails are less common than in New York, where they are the mean. I remember broking in New York and sometimes I would go a whole day without getting a live fund manager on the phone. This made it essential that the voicemails I was leaving for clients were clear and “impactful.”

Matrix Be Damned

Remember, the client will get multiple voicemails during the day and yours has to be different. Rest assured, most of the voicemails he gets will be bad: bad delivery, unclear message, no call to action or just plain waffle. As with live calls, differentiation here is key – you need to stand out.

Clients hate “blast voicemails.” These are the favored way of IBs to reach out to hundreds, if not thousands of clients, in one day using one salesperson or one analyst. Usually, this is used more by the analysts than the sales. The analyst will record his message and then “personalize it” by ringing the client and saying to into the phone, “Hello Bob, this is Poindexter at Cutthroat Brokers.”

He then pushes the “play” button and his canned recording does the rest. I am sure this makes the manager in the back room with the matrix happy because he gets to tick all the boxes but this “service” isn’t personalized. It’s like watching an old sitcom on TV where all the laughter is pre-recorded. Bad. All clients hate blast voicemails and as soon as they hear one coming guess which button they hit? Right, the old DB – delete button. Matrix be damned!

How do you arise above this low level of service? Easy, you talk into the phone like a live human being. But first, you must get your message down and make it smooth and focused.

Do Not

Try and broke seven ideas on one voicemail. Keep it to one idea only. Remember, the client is sitting at his desk probably playing with his iPad while only half listening to your message.

Do Not

Ramble on in an incoherent manner. Leave that approach to your competitors. Make your message tight and have a conclusion.

Do Not

Get cut off as his machine only allows you 30 seconds and your message is 32 seconds. This happens to everyone but with a little practice you will know which clients’ machines give you 30 seconds and which ones allow you a little more time. Prepare accordingly.

Here is an example of a tight and focused pitch:

“Hey Fred, this is Derek at UBS. I just wanted to let you know that Poindexter, our conglomerates analyst, has just initiated coverage on Hutchison Whampoa with a Buy rating. He has three reasons for being positive on the stock at current levels; 1) Value: Hutch is trading at a 30% discount to its NAV vs. its 10% historical average. 2) Growth: we see 30% EPS CAGR for the next three years, and 3) Insider support: Li Ka-shing has been buying at this level. Poindexter’s target price for Hutch is $100, or 30% upside from current levels. I’ll email you the report now and if you have any questions, or would like to speak to the analyst, please let me know. Thanks.”

The Winning Formula

1)     Identify yourself and where you are calling from

2)     Identify the stock you are calling about

3)     Identify the analyst covering the stock

4)     State the action point

5)     Bullet points to support the action point

6)     State the action point and the stock name again

7)     End


Your voicemail should be between 30 and 60 seconds in length – no more. The client will not be sitting at his desk, pen in hand, furiously scribbling down all you are saying. Your purpose is to alert him to something you think he will find interesting. Then follow up later.

If you can practice this formula and consistently deliver it to clients they will remember you as the sales person who leaves the 1% of voicemails they have to listen to.

Print Friendly

Add a comment

  • Avatars are handled by Gravatar
  • Comments are being moderated

Who Are These Clients and Why Are They Trying to Kill Me? | What You Need to Know About the Most Sacred Part of the Day