Voicemail is dead. Cross it off your list of sales tools.

I was on the phone with a client this week. “I leave voicemail for the people you refer to my community, but none of them ever calls me back,” she complained.

If you’ve read They Never Call Me Back (TNCMB)! Part I, TNCMB! Part II, and TNCMB! Part III you’ve heard my rant before – be smarter about when you call and what you say in the message, use email to your advantage, don’t give up (and no, no one ever calls me back, either).Send Email/Text Instead

But my prior posts were all written with the expectation that with better sales techniques we could still include voicemail as one arrow in our prospecting quiver. I’m not sure I believe this any more – at least for people who search for things on the Internet.

At a recent company Happy Hour, one of my colleagues from India commented that his parents and his relatives back home consider it rude to leave a voicemail. Well, OK, different cultures, different issues – right? We Americans can chuckle at the quaintness and carry on – right?

Wrong. 100% of my Gen X/Y and millennial American colleagues who happened to be listening in on the conversation, said they also consider it rude to leave a voicemail. All of them. Engineers (well, you’d expect it of them), accountants (ditto), salespeople (um…what?), editorial staff – all of the younger people in our company consider it rude to leave a message. If you miss them on a call, they expect you to text, rather than force them to listen to voicemail.

The easy thing to do is get all huffy about that “Younger Generation” and their lack of attention span – but then I thought about my own communications. I recently took vacation and, while I put an out-of-office message on my email, I didn’t bother to change my voicemail message. I don’t even remember how to change it (Press 4, maybe? Or *4?). It is hardly worth worrying about, because pretty much the only messages I get are from people trying to sell me something. I rarely give out my desk phone number because, really, does anyone care?

I’m your target audience – Boomer woman, working and juggling family responsibilities, making care decisions with my mom and mother-in-law. While I don’t find it rude to leave a voicemail, I do find it annoying, and checking those messages isn’t something I do very regularly. And I’m a salesperson – I’d do just about anything to get people to contact me.

So no, I’m not going to call you back. If you want to reach me, send a very short email that I can read on my phone (no attachments, please) with a very good reason to engage with you, and also give me permission to call your cell phone – because I bet you don’t check voicemail much, either.

Give your prospects to get a good impression of you, and the senior care service provider you represent, by communicating with them in the way that THEY find convenient. While many seniors I know still prefer phone calls and may still check their messages, even my mom has gotten on the texting bandwagon, despite starting all her text messages with “Dear Katie…” as if she’s writing a letter. My guess is that most of their family members, whether Boomer daughters or millennial grandchildren, would prefer something other than phone calls – and these are the people searching online for care.

Caring’s Family Advisor team is trained to set the expectation with prospects that senior care partners will be calling them, but they often include in the lead notes information on how the person would prefer to be contacted. Pay attention and honor their request, and you might earn a leg up on your competitors.

If you’re not already getting referrals from our Family Advisors and would like to try, let us know. Give us a call at (866) 824-9209 (extension 1).

Katie Roper

This article was written when Katie Roper was Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Caring.com. She's now a contributing author on this blog, as principal at Catenary Consulting.

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