At the beginning of my career I was taught to always answer the phone as though it was the best part of my day, to be bright cheerful and enthusiastic.

I worked for a very brief time not selling Kirby vacume cleaners door to door, part of the training I received was in telephone work. The first thing they taught us was to never answer the phone by saying "hullo" and instead to use that one opportunity to tell the person on the other end of the line that they've made the right call.

In the early nineties I learned to use my VM message to do the same thing. Think about it, if we call and leave a message we listen to every word the person we're calling says in their message, and we generally pay pretty close attention to it. So, it's important that your outgoing VM message communicate what they to need to hear by telling them in your tone of voice and choice of words that they will be glad they took the time to wait for you to call back. A quick "This is Bill, leave a message" tells them they're not worth the time of day to you, the canned "You've reached 650-xxx-xxxx" tells them you don't care about their call enough to so much as record your own greeting.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, when the phone rings it could be the biggest job you've ever booked, let the person whose takent the time to call you know that they're going to be glad they did.