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While some salespeople might see voicemail as a dead end or a link in a long game of phone tag, opportunists see it as a chance to learn even more about the prospect before interacting with them.

If you listen closely to a prospect’s outbound voicemail message, you can pick up clues to help you adjust your style to be more like theirs.

For example, I’m sure you’ve ever heard a slow, steady message like this: “Hello, you’ve reached John Witherspoon. Please speak clearly into the phone and state your name, your phone number-twice-and a brief message. I will return your call shortly.” This person is obviously detail-oriented, and will require a detailed message from you.

How about this one (said with a quick tempo and strength in their tone): “You know what to do! (beep)” This person has a dominant style and may not even listen to your message. If you do leave a message at all, be brief and to the point.

Instead of hanging up the phone immediately or leaving your favourite message, pay attention to the tonality, tempo and the words used in their message so that you can easily mirror their style. This strategy should give you a head start in building rapport when you do finally meet.

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