In this article I’m going to do a deep dive into the subject of telemarketing for leads. No matter what kind of product or service you sell, whether you do business-to-business or business-to-consumer, this article is relevant.
I coach, recruit, and train insurance agents to be top producers and one of the things I often help agents with is telemarketing leads. I’m going to share my experience using telemarketed leads as well as helping other agents with telemarketing leads so that hopefully you leave this page with a better understanding of what you can do in order to be successful using this type of lead route.
Though I’m in the insurance business, I have vast experience utilizing and dealing with telemarketing services. Whether you sell insurance or not, if you’re thinking about using telemarketing leads this article will help you decide if it’s the right solution for your particular business model.
Why would one want to use telemarketing?
If you watch the news or have an awareness of what’s going on in the world you know telemarketing is under constant fire. In the past five to ten years we’ve seen a big increase in regulations, especially in the B2C world, regarding calls made to residences and cell phones. These restrictions have made telemarketing very, very difficult.
It’s important to be aware of these restrictions if you are considering telemarketing so that you can determine if it’s going to be worth your time. I believe telemarketing still is an incredibly valuable source for those that are in the business world, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for your particular business.
Most of the compliance regulations, as we’ll discuss soon, have been implemented in the business to consumer world. People are sick and tired of telemarketers calling them at all hours of the day about new car warranties that are expiring, or water filters that they need to buy, or college and/or credit card debt that needs to be paid off even though they don’t have college debt or credit cards to begin with. I get those calls too. It’s crazy.
Business-to-business doesn’t have the same volume of calls as business-to-consumer. That’s why I think those of you out there who are doing B2B are going to find value in telemarketing leads. You won’t necessarily be doing the cold calling, but you’ll find ways to outsource it or purchase leads once you finish this article.
And for those of you who don’t sell B2B, but rather you call on people at their house, there’s still going to be some value here. But I will caution you that telemarketing is a whole new environment. It’s definitely different than it used to be. It’s a lot harder to generate leads when you have to follow compliance procedures.
First steps to begin telemarketing leads
The first thing you will need to do when you decide you want to telemarket is establish your goals. What do you want to accomplish by telemarketing? What I mean by that is if you are going to do telemarketing to generate leads, what do you want to do with those leads? Are you going to sell over the phone or in person? How much qualifying do you want to do with your leads? How will that qualifying impact the average lead acquisition cost?
In the insurance business those of us who generate leads over the phone are simply trying to get an appointment. Our strategy is to generate a lead in order to get an appointment. Not necessarily to sell anything over the phone, although that’s not necessarily the case for some organizations. Insurance agents spend time on the phone selling the appointment, and then in that appointment we spend time selling the product.
Should you outsource?
The other thing you’ve got to ask is if you want to do this yourself or if you want to outsource it? So when I say do it yourself, I mean literally pick up the phone, whether you’re doing it by hand or using a power dialer, and make calls. We’ll get more into some of the resources you can use to make calls yourself in a bit if you decide to go that route.
If you do it yourself you have complete control of the telemarketing process when it comes to regenerating your own leads. There is something to be said about being the one to talk to your prospect for the first time.
You know your product. You’re intimately aware of how it works. You’re also a salesperson. You’re in a good position because you know what you’re doing. The odds are pretty high that you’re going to do a pretty good job of rebutting objections and set appointments more often than somebody in an outsourced position.
The major drawback to making calls yourself is that it takes away from time you would otherwise spend running appointments, talking to people, and doing presentations.
The cons of an outsourced appointment revolve around who you hire. They won’t necessarily be well versed about your product. Not that they have to be, but they’re also not necessarily people who are looking to stay in their professions for a career. Many people end up in telemarketing because they have nothing else to do. They did it for a period of time and this is a transitory thing.
You also have to consider the cost of hiring someone to make your appointments for you. Yes, they provide you the freedom to talk to prospects and do presentations, but is the cost worth it to your business?
Generally speaking, the more presentations you can do, the more sales you will get. So often the cost of outsourcing is justified by the higher return on investment.
How do you stay compliant?
Staying compliant is important, especially if you’re going to be calling over the phone. How do you stay compliant? Well, first do a Google search for telemarketing compliance. That should be your first step to understanding compliance.
In this article I’m just going to give you some general advice, but don’t take this as gospel. The compliance issues are always in tandem. They’re changing. They’re not set in stone and generally are getting more and more tight as time goes on.
Generally speaking, if you’re telemarketing the B2C, you need to call between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM, which I believe is the latest you can call. It might be a little earlier than that, so double check.
The point here is that you don’t want to be calling people early in the morning or late at night. Make sure that you’re compliant and you get a scrubbed list, which are people who are not on a do-not-call list. All lead vendors that sell lists for B2C should offer a scrubbed list.
Yes, you may be able to make some calls to people who are not on a scrubbed list, but if you call somebody that is on a do-not-call list and they report you, you may face a tremendous DNC violation fee. So you have to be very, very careful.
Also make sure you get a SANS number, which is basically an identification number that identifies you as a telemarketer. This number is required by the government.
How to make calls
You can call manually, although I will say if you’re going to call consumers you should consider getting a power dialer. There are a couple of power dialer options out there including mojodialer.com as well as salesdialer.com. These are two that I personally use.
These types of dialers will utilize your computer to electronically dial multiple lines at the same time. So you spend more time talking live to people as opposed to listening to the phone ring. Probably the biggest problem when you just pick up the phone and dial by hand is that most people won’t pick the phone up, so it’s a lot of dead time where you’re not talking to anybody.
Dialers make the calling process more efficient. Instead of dialing one number, you can be on two or three lines and always talking to people. And again, with phone conversations, the more people you talk to, the more opportunity there is to set appointments.
For B2B calls, as far as I know, there are no restrictions on technology presently. You can also call pretty much any time of day because they’re businesses and they get solicited. It’s pretty much the norm for them to receive these kinds of calls. So less of a concern there.
You will probably find that more people will answer the phone for B2B calls relative to B2C because business owners generally answer the phone anyway. Although you’re probably going to end up with more gatekeepers. As you probably already know, it’s going to be dependent upon your professional approach. So you’ve got to learn how to work around the obstacles.
Tools and resources
So let me give you some tools and resources that you may want to consider if you’re going to call to create your own leads yourself or you’re going to outsource calls. So first of all, your phone. Again I gave you Sales Dialers as well as Mojo Dialers. That’s a good start.
If you’re doing B2C or B2B and you want to call on an automated basis, it’s still a good idea to use a dialer. The reason being you can call one line at a time and as each call ends, it immediately starts dialing the next number.
There’s a lot of wasted time hanging up, complaining you didn’t get the appointment, going to the water cooler and then coming back two minutes later to dial another number. All that time between calls is lost.
Whereas if you have the phone call all lined up, sure you have to pay a fee for the dialer, but once that line closes and you hang up the phone, the next one starts dialing. So it keeps you more productive even if you’re just dialing one line at a time.
You will also want to look into list data. As far as where to buy lists, whether you’re doing B2B telemarketing or B2C telemarketing you can utilize infofree.com (it’s really not free – there is a marginal fee but it’s decent quality) Two other options are listgiant.com and Info USA. The company exactdata.com is another option but be forewarned they will not want to let you go. I got relentless telemarketing calls from them for two years after I stopped using them.
You are going to need a CRM system. A lot of these dialer systems are self-created CRMs, so they’ve got the notifications and they allow you to store the data. You’ll find there are more CRMs than anything else.
You know there’s the old faithfuls like Salesforce. Also OnePageCRM.com, lessannoyingcrm.com, also Radius. If you’re in the insurance or real estate business, radius.com is considered a good CRM.
What do you say on the phone? Do you want to outsource calls or do it yourself? These are questions you will need to answer. You may be looking at doing telemarketing and you have an idea of who you’re going to call or perhaps you want to outsource telemarketing and have someone else make the calls. It’s really just a personal preference.
And perhaps you’re wondering, what do you even say? What script should you use? So what I’ going to give you is an insurance appointment setting script. Foundationally it works no matter what it is that you’re selling or setting.
One of the things I teach agents is that salespeople use the phone to sell the appointment and it’s within that appointment we actually spend time talking product and we sell the product.
So the purpose of this script is only to book the appointment. It’s not to sell the product. So you want to stay away from being specific about the product. You simply want to use the call as an opportunity to get in front of them in the future through an appointment.
Many people won’t understand how a product works, so it’s very hard to qualify on the phone when they can’t see or touch it or really experience the sales process. Whereas a face-to-face orientation is much better for explaining what it is that you are selling. So this should be applicable for a lot of people.
The basic script would go something like this: “Hey Mr. Jones, my name is David Duford and the reason I’m calling is that I help people who are 60 and older with their final expenses so their loved ones don’t have to pay out of pocket to bury them.
I’m calling you today because it’s my job to follow up with people who fit that bill. And I’ll be in your area tomorrow and wanted to see if you had five minutes from me to show you how this works. How’s Tuesday at 2:00 or tomorrow at 2:00? Or would 10:00 be better?”
That’s the basic overall script. So it really breaks down into four different parts. Who I am which comes in my introduction, “Hey, my name is David Duford.”
The reason I’m calling. “The reason I’m calling is that I help people who are 60 and older take care of their final expenses so their kids don’t have to pay for their funeral.”
A basic value statement where you want to talk about benefits, not features. You want to talk about how you can help somebody relevant to that particular person you’re looking for.
And then at this point you sell the appointment. “And then again, the reason I’m calling, it’s my job to deliver information to people like you in your county. All I need is five minutes.”
And so that’s selling the appointment, telling them it’s no big deal. It’s not a long ordeal. All you have is just five minutes to go over it. Then you close with an alternative close meaning how’s Tuesday at 2:00 or would 10:00 work better?
So that way you’re giving two time options rather than a choice of should I do it or not? It’s which one of these times work best? This is a classic appointment setting strategy where very little is said, and you continue to book the appointment.
You could also use another script that I used to use when I was with Aramark that works fairly well. It’s where you set an appointment very similar to this, but you add in the benefit statement, referencing competitors in the same industry as you set the appointment.
So it sounds something like this, “Hey, my name is David Duford from Aramark uniform services and the reason I’m calling is that we just recently helped Chick-fil-A and Zaxby’s with their uniform services and cut their costs by 20%. I wanted to show you how we were able to help them. All I need is five minutes to show you what we’ve done. What you do with the information is totally up to you. How’s Tuesday at 2:00 or would 10:00 work better?”
A lot of your prospects want to see what you are doing for their competitors. People want to make sure they don’t lose their competitive edge. If you can show them a concept that’s helpful, they’ll very many times allow you to get in the door to talk to them and have a conversation about how you can help them.
Rebuttals are very simple. You want to answer the rebuttal, then sell the appointment and close. So what does this look like? Let’s say somebody you were trying to sell uniforms to in our prior example says, “Hey, we’ve got UniFirst uniforms, we’re all set. Thank you very much.”
Well, the answer to that is, “Hey Mr. Jones, that’s totally fine. A lot of my customers who have UniFirst say the same thing, but the reason they meet with me anyway is that you and I know that things change, and knowing what your options are ahead of time is better than if things changed and you’re dying on the vine and you don’t know what to do.
Here’s the thing, I’m not here to sell you anything. I just want five minutes to show you what we do and just make sure that you know what your options are should you ever need us. How’s Tuesday at 2:00 or would 10:00 work better?”
Again, I’ve spent more time there selling the appointment than anything else. And then for my life insurance example, it’s the same thing. Somebody says, “I’ve already got life insurance.” “Great, Mr. Prospect, I’m glad to hear you have life insurance and the reason that people who already have life insurance like you meet with me anyway is because they want to see what other options might be out there to make sure that their life insurance really is the best choice for them.
All I need is five minutes and look, what you do with this information is entirely up to you. Would 10:00 o’clock or 2:00 tomorrow be best?” And then book the appointment.
So that’s the script I would recommend. It tends to be the best whether you’re outsourcing the telemarketing leads to somebody else or you’re doing it yourself. That is probably my favorite strategy in order to get in the door.
Now you can qualify if you choose to do so. Again, that’s going to be industry and product-specific. If you don’t run appointments unless certain criteria are met, it would make sense to qualify over the phone before you set the appointment.
Pre-qualifying would sound something like,”So Tuesday at two is great. Before I let you go, let me ask you a few more questions just to make sure I’m well prepared before I come. Who do you have your life insurance with? How much are you paying? What is your current health? Do you get dialysis, have congestive heart failure or currently have cancer?”
There’s nothing wrong with fact-finding a little so that you can be better prepared and know ahead of time if they may not qualify for the products you offer.
In the life insurance world health is the factor that determines eligibility to buy. So it may make sense for that kind of agent to collect that information upfront. If you sell business-to-business, same idea. You may want to pre-qualify before you see the client.
Telemarketing strategies and metrics tracking
Last but not least, let’s talk about telemarketing strategy and metrics tracking. If you outsource phone calls you want to make sure your telemarketers are doing a good job.
You can track their success, in many cases, by using one of these power dialer solutions or CRMs. You can see what they’re doing and you can record the calls too. This allows you to better coach them to make sure that they’re doing the job right.
Generally speaking, again it’s all specific to your industry. My goal when we cold call B2C or B2B is to set one appointment for B2C an hour. If we’re doing B2B, I want to set a couple of appointments an hour.
I want appointments because before the appointment we’re not selling these people anything. We’re just trying to get in the door to establish a relationship and be a resource when the time comes. For a lot of B2B cases you will be in a contractual service and you need to form a relationship prior to the need. So it’s a longer term endeavor.
So with running telemarketing leads, you’ve really got two major directions you can go. You can definitely go down the route where you do it yourself, where you can generate telemarketing leads for your business yourself.
But the biggest problem I think with that is that you are restricting your time selling to people, and you’re also restricting your time from outsourcing it and possibly bringing on other reps if that’s a goal of yours as well. If you run a business and you’re selling something, I think outsourcing to an appointment setter who you train and can trust to do a good job is the best strategy for the long term.
Salespeople make the predominance of their income based on the number of presentations they do with clients. The more time they spend doing appointments, the more their income rises in mirror-like fashion. So when I train my insurance agents, one question we’ll look at, especially as they develop and they’re in a position financially to do so, is if outsourcing telemarketing is a good route to take for their business growth.
My favorite place to find telemarketers is upwork.com. You can also use Craigslist as well. Both of these websites do a great job providing real talent that you can hire.
Yes, if you do go that route, you’ll have to screen and find the best people, but I think that finding people and training them yourself individually is a much better solution than going to maybe an industry specific telemarketing solution company and being just another number, another client for them.
I like hand training and hand selecting my telemarketers and in my experience selling insurance, the best telemarketers have all been from a hired position where I’ve spent time training them, coaching them, and keeping them accountable. And it’s worth the extra effort, especially if you want to run more appointments, see more people, and have better quality business experiences.
I hope that you enjoyed this ultimate guide to telemarketing leads and got some value out of it. While telemarketing may not be for everyone, those who do choose to go this route are faced with a number of options including whether they will outsource or not, what kind of software they will employ, and the script they will use.
I hope this brief overview has helped get you to thinking about telemarketing and how it might benefit your overall business potential. Be sure to share your thoughts or questions in the comment section below. Thanks for reading.