Sales Voicemail Mastery: The Tibor Shanto Method

For every sales or sales development rep or anyone who is trying to reach someone, the voicemail is a low converting often frustrating part of the game. Many people don’t leave voicemails anymore. They just don’t see the value. I get it…we rarely see one-to-one value from the voicemail.

What if I told you that there is a technique that drives 50% call back return rates?

Actually, don’t answer that because I think your answer would be “bullsh**!” This post is about the “Tibor Shanto” method which Tibor says can return a 50% call back rate. Pretty bold right? Personally, I have been fascinated by his method over the years. There are parts of his method that I use in my voicemail training. The only exception is I like to drive people from the voicemail to email versus trying to get a call back. Tibor likes to get the call back which is the holy grail in outbound prospecting voice mails. It’s well worth exploring.

The Tibor Shanto Rules of Voicemail Mastery

1. Answer the following question: What is the purpose of you voicemail?

One of the biggest roadblocks to successful voicemails is the fact that the sales person goes into the call with the wrong goal or worse yet, no goal. For Tibor Shanto, the goal of the call is get a call back. Very simple. For Tibor, when you get the chance to talk to someone, that is when you can move to the next steps in the sales process. He warns against essentially leaving a commercial where the sales person leaves a long voicemail with way too much information. These types of voice mails never convert.

2. “Less is more effective”

“Please leave a detailed message” is the common request on people’s outgoing voicemail message. As Shanto points out, they want the detail so they can find reasons NOT to call you back.. Leaving a long, overly-detailed message gives the buyer the opportunity to say“no” without the opportunity for you to overcome objections and sell. 

3. Create a bit of mystery

Step one is to NOT give them the detail they want and step two is to create curiosity. The best technique is to be prepared to mention the names of other companies you have worked with who are competitive or at least in the same industry. You don’t want to lie, the customers you reference have to be legitimate customers you have worked with.

4. Do multiple touches over a two week period

People are busy. Plan to leave multiple voicemails and emails over a multi-week period. Tibor recommends 6-7, I typically recommend 12-15.  If you can’t get to them, set them aside for a month or two and repeat.

A sample voicemail, Tibor-Style

Scenario: You are calling on Coke after you have just done business with Pepsi

“Hi Walt, my name is Tibor Shanto, from Coke. You can reach me at 416 822-778”

  • Never say “Please call me back at your earliest convenience”.  You will alert the prospect that you are a sales person immediately
  • Be firm, authoritative, like you demand a call back, Either “you can reach me at…” or “I can be reached at…”.
  • Say your number slowly so they can write it down. Buyers wont stand to have to rewind to write your number down.

”Please reference Pepsi when you call back” or “It’s with reference to Pepsi.”

  • Reference a competitor or someone in their industry. Remember, don’t lie about the customer reference, they have to be someone you have done business with

Hang up


See, that was easy. The Tibor Shanto method can be described in 605 words or less.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic and a co-founder of Topo. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • I like everything except for the competitor mention. Unless that’s part of your talking points or angle once they call back, it feels a little like bait & switch. And when I’m cold calling, and ultimately need that first call to be top-of-funnel, needs-assessment type content, the last thing I typically want to do it get into a discussion about the competition.

    That said, I love the brevity and urgency, and even a little mystery. Definitely worth trying.

    • tiborshanto

      Hi Matt,

      I think for me, and many sales people the first call is get engagement, either in the form of a face to face appointment or a telephone sale. It is very much part of the talking point as part of any first call will be to establish credibility,capabilities, competence/qualifications. This is why most companies have their client list on their web site, including yours and mine. Most people list past employers on their resumes in the hope of securing an interview.

      I agree if it was a bait and switch, but if you look at the video, the company that is referenced is very much part of the conversation when the person calls back.

      As with most things it is down to the execution, and the intent, and I intend to be honest with the person when they call back, which why many of the folks who do call back are long term clients.

      • OK, that works. All buyers really want is for someone to be honest, quick, respect their time and know what they need up front. Your voicemail strategy hits on several of those, and as long as the live call delivers the pay-off, I expect you’re getting not just high response rates but high conversion rates to opportunity and close as well.

  • Jonathan Abramson

    I appreciate the tips Craig, Tibor and Matt.

  • Dave DeMink

    I am not following the “from Coke” messaging in your example above as Tibor is not calling “from Coke” – Are you interrupting the sentence “Hi Walt from Coke” with ” my name is Tibor Shanto” ??