Tag Archives: Marketing Articles

Appointment Setting Versus Lead Generation

By Shaun Thompson

Appointment setting and lead generation are both strategic business options that most companies employ to accelerate their sales, but they’re often commonly misunderstood. The question is, what sets these two apart?

Generating Leads with Lead Generation

B2B sales lead generation starts your sales process. It’s the initial step towards making a sale that involves sparking consumer interest and swaying them to be open to consider your products or services. Concisely, lead generation is all about captivating consumers’ interests, especially those within your target market and industry.

Outbound sales lead generation is also about generating leads. Lead generation has three types of leads: nurturing leads, qualified leads, and unqualified leads.

  • Nurturing leads refer to customers who’ve shown interest in your products and services but aren’t ready to make a purchase. Nourish customers who fall under this aspect by staying connected with consistent follow-ups and providing product information until they are ready to make a purchase.
  • Qualified leads are ideal. These are the types of leads that belong to your target market, are interested in your products and services, and are ready to purchase at any moment.
  • Unqualified leads are those who are not interested at all in your products or services, and they don’t belong in the spectrum of your target audience.

The primary goal of lead generation is to generate and keep your sales pipeline filled with qualified leads. A good flow of leads in your pipeline creates a chance of boosting sales.

Leads may come from various sources such as search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and digital ads. But one of the leading practices in conducting effective lead generation is telemarketing. B2B telemarketing lead generation is discovering leads through cold calling. Marketing executives reach out directly to prospects to stir and capture their interests.

Telemarketing lead generation has several benefits.

  • A Proven and Tested Method: Some say cold calling is dead. Yet research shows that telemarketing is still an effective medium in lead generation. In a study by Rain Group, 57 precent of C-level executives say that they value information provided by marketing executives over the phone.
  • Helps You Better Align with Leads: Since telemarketing is direct in terms of approach, it’s easier to understand your prospects. Hence, you’ll have a better idea of how best to capture and nourish their interests.
  • Targets Your Ideal Market: Telemarketing lead generation is a personal approach. It can ensure that your appointment setters target your ideal audience, unlike other strategies that use scattergun approaches.

Securing Meetings Through B2B Appointment Setting

Appointment setting comes after lead generation. B2B appointment setting refers to the act of calling qualified leads, specifically key decision-makers, to schedule appointments with them. Appointment setting, in general, picks up the generated leads from the lead generation process for possible appointments. More appointments booked translate to more sales.

As much as lead generation is an essential aspect of the sales process, appointment setting also plays a vital role. Appointment setting opens the door for sales opportunities through scheduled meetings where sales teams can conduct their sales pitches to sway and convince key decision-makers to make a purchase.

While it may look easy to schedule appointments, appointment setting is tedious work. It needs a certain level of trust, rapport, and consistency.

Telemarketing appointment setting also has benefits.

  • Measurable Results: Unlike other sales approaches, appointment setting is immediate. Therefore, it’s easier to measure if your number of scheduled appointments is increasing.
  • Marketing Pipeline: An appointment setting requires a high volume of calls to create higher chances of scheduling appointments. Those calls are also marketing opportunities that can help increase brand awareness and get your brand recognized and noticed in the market.
  • Relationship Building: Appointment setting builds on human connection. The presence of the human element makes relationship-building easier, which later helps in influencing buying decisions. A good relationship level also contributes to building trust, which is a key factor during negotiations and in obtaining referrals.

Lead Generation Versus Appointment Setting

Appointment setting lead generation works together and is an essential strategy employed in your sales and marketing mix. Nourish and generate qualified leads through lead generation. Meanwhile, translate these leads into appointments through appointment setting. Lead generation can occur without an appointment setting campaign. However, it’s best if these two work alongside each other to maximize results and accelerate sales.

Executing appointment setting lead generation campaigns is vital in achieving your sales target. To manage these two campaigns effectively requires experience and expertise.

While you can execute these in-house, partnering with appointment setting lead generation companies is an option, especially if you’re looking to generate fast results and achieve your goals promptly. Why? These companies can help you create strategies aligned with your business. They also have a well-trained staff, necessary technology, and experience to help you get the results you seek.

Shaun Thompson is a director of Telemarketing Professionals, an organization of leading industry specialists in marketing within the lead generation and appointment setting space. Learn more about appointment setting lead generation and other telemarketing services at telemarketingprofessionals.com.au.

Complying with the Latest Telemarketing Rules

By Angela Garfinkel

There have been many changes to telemarketing rules and regulations in 2021. The most notable change was the April 1, 2021, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Facebook v. Druid

That decision effectively neutered the plaintiff’s bar in their pursuit of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuits across the U.S. Here are the top takeaways from the decision: 

  • The decision narrowed the definition of an autodialer. Now virtually all telephony equipment (including predictive dialers) is non-Automated Telephone Dialing Systems (non-ATDS). 
  • This decision does not impact the restriction on robocalls or prerecorded voice messages. 
  • The decision does not impact the other provisions of the TCPA, including compliance with the National Do-Not-Call list

Florida Telemarketing Rules

On June 29, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law CS/SB 1120, a telephone solicitation bill effective on July 1, 2021. 

This law amended the Florida Do-Not-Call Act and the Florida Telemarketing Act and provides a private right of action for telemarketing and text marketing violations. Some industry insiders are calling it a mini-TCPA. 

Also, many other states are expected to follow Florida’s lead, so watch out. Florida was the first state to create Do-Not-Call regulations in the nineties. 

The Florida Do Not Call Act now requires a company to have Prior Express Written Consent (PEWC) from the called party before placing calls or sending text messages using an automated system or a prerecorded call. 

Penalties for Violating Telemarketing Rules

Now, here’s the bad news. Unlike the TCPA, Florida widened the definition of an ATDS, making virtually all telephony equipment and dialers an ATDS. As a result, each per-call violation of $500 can triple to $1,500 per call; companies must capture PEWC before calling or texting a Florida telephone number or a Florida resident. 

The Florida Telemarketing Act now restricts how many times a company can place a call to a customer or prospect and when the calls can be placed. 

Permissible calling times are now 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (the previous call times were 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Plus, a telemarketer may only place up to three calls in 24 hours to one person, regardless of any particular number called. 

In addition, the amendments added an anti-spoofing provision that prohibits utilizing technology to deliberately display a caller ID number that conceals the caller’s true identity. 

Some programs are exempt from the Florida Do-Not-Call Act and the Florida Telemarketing Act, including most Business-to-Business programs. Still, conduct a careful review of the Florida law before placing outbound telemarketing calls to Florida phone numbers or Florida residents. 

Angela Garfinkel is the president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. Angela has the pleasure of leading a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours each day. Contact Angela at angela.garfinkel@qualitycontactsolutions.com or 516-656-5118.

Why Appointment Setting for Insurance Agents Makes Perfect Sense

By Steve Korn

Like most other industries, the insurance industry is not exempt from clients closing their doors, being acquired, or losing someone to competition. In addition, industry statistics indicate fewer businesses buy group health plans, workers comp, and even general liability insurance. 

Considering it can take over two years to convert a new commercial insurance prospect into a client, appointment setters for insurance agents have been vital in keeping agencies healthy and thriving.

Keep Business Flowing

Let’s use a fictitious independent commercial insurance agency as an example. The agency has a few satellite offices or now, post-COVID, fifty insurance producers working to keep that pipeline full of new business. 

  • What are the best ways to keep the flow of prospects strong? 
  • How do you maintain the present level of business and increase sales?

Indeed, no one can argue that referrals are essential, and most agents do an outstanding job of nurturing those referrals and working them into quotes and eventually new clients. But, in most cases, referrals are not enough. 

Insurance Agents Need Appointment Setters

Our pretend insurance agency and its producers need to aggressively pursue new business that very well may not be aware they exist in the crowded insurance field.

Whether their emphasis is property and casualty, group health, workers comp, or even supplemental insurance, uncovering new prospects must be a top priority. 

So, the question becomes, what is the best way to accomplish that?

Let’s say our agency decides to put that responsibility on the producers themselves. There will likely be a flurry of activity for a couple of weeks, then it will slowly die out until nothing is happening. 

In most industries, producers in the insurance world are like salespeople; their strengths lie about anywhere other than cold calling. They want to get on a call, discuss coverages, and review pricing because they have that knowledge and are comfortable with those discussions. 

The problem is they don’t set appointments. 

Appointment Setting Benefits

Our fictitious insurance agency can decide to set up their own internal call center to prospect for new business. Or they can outsource it.

The job of an outsourcer is to call a list of prospects, get the decision-maker, determine if the prospect meets the insurance agency’s minimum qualifications for the type of coverage, and schedule an appointment. Nothing more. 

Appointment setters don’t talk about coverages. They don’t discuss costs. They aren’t licensed, insurance agents. Instead, their focus is on setting appointments with qualified prospects and moving on to the next call. 

Uses for Appointment Setting

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a larger agency with dozens or hundreds of producers working either from a centralized office or a smaller size. 

 Consider using an appointment setter for:

  • Calling a group of clients set to renew within a 90-day timeframe—that someone inside the agency may not have the capacity to contact—to arrange an appointment to review coverages. 
  • Target an industry-specific list of businesses where you may have a competitive advantage or more expertise. 
  • Clients that may not have renewed their policy within a specific timeframe.

Also, let’s not forget that appointment setters are great at reaching out to current clients about add on or supplemental products. The possibilities are endless. Appointment setters for insurance agents can have a quick conversation with a client or prospect to help keep the pipeline for the agency full.

Steve Korn is a business development executive for Quality Contact Solutions. His experience spans forty years and includes ownership of his own call center for over twenty. Contact Steve at steve.korn@qualitycontactsolutions.com or 516-656-4198.

Increasing Sales Through Self-Generated Leads

By Donna West

The real work of a salesperson—the work that truly increases your sales, and thus your income—happens outside of inquiry calls.

Inquiry calls can come in at any time, and you are there to respond to the leads that your company pays to generate. But sales are more than reacting to inquiries. Put that waiting time to effective use: set up accounts, complete paperwork, or do research for areas in which you want to sell. This is interruptible work that allows you to be ready to jump on an inquiry call the moment it comes in.

Increase Your Sales

You must do warm calling, cold calling, and call-backs. Don’t forget the “How are we doing for you? Who else do you know that might need our services?” calls that will feather your commissions’ nest. If you aren’t calling the people who have inquired about your services, you’re abandoning them. 

It can take more than seven touches (some say many more) before a prospect becomes your client. It’s important to consistently make those touches. Create a list and be sure you’ve made at least seven touches. Note what they were. Tracking them will show what works best for you.

  • Personal notes—handwritten, using snail mail, the old-fashioned way—still work, but few people send them anymore. When was the last time you wrote one? When did you last receive one? They get attention.
  • Send bulky packages containing swag. Few people can resist a padded envelope with a surprise lump inside.
  • Forward an email about something that pertains to a prospect’s business, something you find on the internet. Sending it to them creates a touch. It says you listened when you were chatting with them.
  • Revisit their website to discover something you might comment on or ask about the next time you talk with them.
  • Call back the day after your conversation or visit to share something you’ve thought about that might benefit their business.
  • Send a copy of your newsletter, preferably a recent one that talks about a feature your potential client asked about or that you think might fit their business needs. 
  • Create a newsletter article that speaks to a feature that might interest multiple potential clients. Then share it with those prospects.

These are all important things to do after you speak with a potential client. It shows that yours is the kind of company that nurtures and cares about their business partners.

Self-Generated Leads

A good portion of your sales should come from self-generated leads—if you are putting effort into them. This is vitally important, and your commissions hinge on it. If you aren’t making the amount of money you’d like to, put more effort into generating your own leads.

Be creative. There are more ways to find people who need your services than contacting names on a purchased list of businesses. The yellow pages were once an excellent source of business leads, but there are many modern-day equivalents, including the yellow pages online.

  • Simply go to your browser and type in plumbers, for example, and your location. You will find a whole list of ads. If they’re looking for business, they probably need your services.
  • Check local advertiser newspapers (such as the Penny Saver), which often has advertisements for local small businesses. They need their phones answered, and many use an answering machine or voicemail. 
  • After hours, call businesses that use answering services and see how their phones are handled. Make a list of those calls that don’t sound professional. Then reach out to those companies.
  • As you’re driving, notice businesses that may need your services. Pull over and snap a photo or leave yourself a message on your phone.
  • Ask friends and relatives who they use for various service needs.
  • Call your local chamber of commerce and ask for lists. Or check with Home Advisors or Angie’s List.
  • Join your local chamber of commerce and attend their meetings.
  • Scope out various service clubs (such as Rotary or Lions), attend hobby clubs (knitting clubs, book clubs, even the sportsman’s club—whatever interests you). Join the PTA, a church, or a trade association and work on a committee.
  • Get acquainted with businesses that serve the tradespeople in the types of businesses you want to bring on board. For instance, if you are seeking plumbers as new clients, target plumbing and electrical supply stores, local hardware stores, and big box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Don’t ever join a club, church, or organization for what you might get out of it. Be sure you’re genuinely interested in the group. Invest yourself in their goals and become a real part of their activities. Make this something you do for your own enjoyment; any leads that come from it are a bonus. Socially active salespeople have a greater income than those who are not. Some salespeople merely take orders as they come in, and their paychecks reflect that. Successful salespeople do far more, and their paychecks reflect the extra effort.

Always Be Seen

The rules for sales are different than for hourly workers. You can increase your income independently. Once you fulfill your agreement with your employer, you can make contacts at any time and any place.

It’s important to realize that people buy from those they trust. When you are out, you will become acquainted with more people. Eventually that facilitates sales. The sales slogan “Always be closing” is changing to “Always be seen.” You can’t make as much money if you stay home and only make calls during business hours.

A recent conversation with a top selling realtor netted the following great quote: “I’m never not selling. No matter where I go, I’m aware of sales possibilities. My livelihood depends on that.” That’s what makes a good salesperson. They recognize that they don’t know where that next lead will come from. 

When you’re in sales, you are working for your employer, but also for yourself. Be aware—but not aggressive. There is a difference between making your goal and making great money. That difference comes from the effort and imagination you’re willing to invest. Invest in yourself.

Donna West is the founder and president of Focus Telecommunications and relies on her super salespeople to build her company and their own income. Come to the Sales Symposium (rescheduled for 2021) for the telephone answering industry to learn more about the great game of sales and how you can win that game.

Understanding the Importance of Decision Triggers in Selling to Your Prospects

By Jill J. Johnson

A key component of effective target marketing involves developing deep insight into how the decision-making process influences your prospects to make their purchasing choices. For organizations working with diverse customer needs, moving your prospects from “I’m interested” to “I’ll buy” is a complex process. What’s significant and how this will impact each of your prospects in their buying decisions can vary. These buying decisions may also impact how they view the value of buying additional services or other resources you offer.

Understanding how your target market makes decisions is fundamental to more effectively promoting your products and services. It’s essential for you to understand your prospect’s decision-making process and what triggers their buying decisions to move your sales more quickly to a “yes.” Insight into what triggers your prospects in their decision-making process allows you to adapt your messages to highlight the unique characteristics of concern to them. You want to adapt your sales approach to their needs rather than using a cookie-cutter approach. By tailoring your promotional strategies, you can enhance your opportunities to win the sale or deepen your relationship with your potential customer. You can use this insight to carefully craft your sales approach to meet their unique needs and concerns.

Each Prospect Has Unique Decision Triggers

Knowing what will move your prospects forward in a sale is just as important as knowing what is holding them back from saying yes. Decision triggers can range from stress about the costs of your product or service and not understanding the value-add you offer to believing they need support for the decision from a trusted member of their leadership team. In your sales approach, you need to utilize probing questions to isolate how they will make their decision about investing in buying a product or service from you. You must also uncover and understand the motives of who else is involved in making the decision.

Do the work to understand what decision triggers are at play with your prospective customers and with the other key stakeholders they rely on for support. Knowing how to activate or neutralize these triggers will provide you with vital insight on how to adjust your sales-messaging tactics. Once you understand their decision triggers, you can determine what you should provide your prospect so they can move forward with their decision to buy from you. 

Navigate the Decision Continuum

As you move your prospective customers through their decision continuum, consider what your goals are each step of the way. If they reach out to you via your website or email, your goal is to get them to talk with you in person. If they ask you for information, determine what information they really need and what you can follow up with if the sale is going to take longer than one interaction. Your goal is to keep them engaged with you and moving forward toward completing the sale and joining your customer ranks, both now and long-term. 

Understanding how to navigate a prospect along their decision continuum requires you to probe carefully about what is important to them and their key stakeholders. In this process, you identify their critical decision triggers while gaining an understanding of how to incorporate this insight into your sales approach. 

All too often when a company or organization has been around a long time, the process of selling to prospects becomes stagnant. Use decision insight to make sure your messaging is fresh, unique, and clearly matched to the evolving needs of your prospect. It might be time to reassess and revise your messaging to ensure you’re hitting the hot buttons of your prospects and matching your approach to what they’re most concerned about. This approach will get them to buy and stay with you beyond the initial sale. 

Decision Triggers Drive Sales and Promotional Strategy

Listen carefully to the words your prospective customers use and how they describe their needs and concerns. This insight can help you shape your sales messaging back to them in ways that mirror their words. As you match your sales messaging to where they are on their decision continuum, you will have a better understanding of how to highlight key product or service features or benefits. This approach leverages the decision triggers to your target market to match what matters most to them. By specifically tailoring your messages to your prospect’s decision triggers, you can significantly increase the potential for achieving the sale. What you offer only matters if it matters to your prospective customers. 

Once you understand the decision triggers driving your sales prospects, you can tie it to the rest of your promotional strategy. You can incorporate your deep customer insight into all your collateral materials, advertising, public relations stories, video clips, website, and social media. These communications messages can reinforce how you want your prospective customers to respond to your sales messages. If there is a disconnect anywhere in the decision continuum, you’re at risk of not achieving the sales success you desire.

Final Thoughts

By incorporating insight about your prospective customer’s decision triggers, you can help your prospect gain confidence that your product or service will truly benefit them and make a difference in their life or business. They will have more confidence in buying from you because you will have tied your presentation to their concerns. 

As a result, your prospective customers receive reassurance that your products or services can and will effectively meet their needs. Using your prospect’s decision triggers will make your sales cycle more efficient. It will result in more sales, help you build superior customer relationships, and boost customer satisfaction when you deliver on what you promised. 

Jill J. Johnson is the president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services, an accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the best-selling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than four billion dollars’ worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information, visit www.jcs-usa.com.

Top Tips for Beginning Telemarketers

By Patrick Bailey

Telemarketing can be quite stressful and daunting, especially for beginners. There is often a fear that your prospects will hang up on you or be straight-out rude. Many beginners are afraid they will get tongue-tied and forget what to say at critical times in the conversation. In addition, you might also feel anxious when it comes to answering tough questions that arise during your conversation.

However, good telemarketers are a valuable, cherished asset to any company. The thing is that most of them didn’t start out being telemarketing winners. They started out making their first call just like all novices do when beginning a new career. Of course, they likely began with high energy and a positive attitude. However, you can bet they had the same fears as every cold-caller.

If you are a telemarketer novice, you don’t have to feel afraid or overwhelmed making your first cold call. These tips can help you breeze through your calls. Start using them and see how they help you and your business.

Try to Stay Relaxed

To be a top telemarketer, you need to stay relaxed and sound as comfortable as possible using natural language. Prospects don’t respond well to scripted calls in which the telemarketer sounds stiff. The more you use generic introductions such as “How are you doing today?” or “Hello, how is everything going for you?” the easier it is for your prospects to tag you as the typical telemarketer right from the onset. Try to stay relaxed and soften your tone to sound more interesting, and then your entire conversation will go more smoothly.

Make Plenty of Calls

First, realize that prospects won’t be walking into your establishment to give you their business. They won’t be ringing your bell to ask you for your services. The reality is you won’t be getting any business without making a call. Therefore, make enough calls to ensure that you bring in new clientele. Stay focused and don’t become distracted with other activities going on around you. 

Many experts say the best telemarketers make one hundred calls during a seven-hour shift. However, if you are having engaging conversations, the numbers of calls you make will decrease. On the other hand, if you are only reaching voicemail or answering machines, the amount of calls you should be making increases to about 140 calls for a seven-hour shift. 

Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Prospects

You should know how to answer the following important questions: 

  • Why should your prospects talk to you?
  • What do you have that can benefit your prospects?
  • Why do your prospects need to use you when they already have a supplier offering the same services or products you provide? 
  • What will your prospects get out of the services you offer? 

If you can answer these questions while speaking with your prospects, you will be able to obtain better results. Although it’s not ideal to use a script, you must be able to have a clear answer to why you are calling and what your prospects can gain by choosing you over anyone else. Do a little research beforehand and understand why you are making the call. This way you can face hard questions from any prospect you reach.

Be Prepared

Being prepared is essential to be a successful telemarketer. This is especially true in cases where data is involved. Giving bad data is a surefire sign your call will go awry. To address this, you might set up a pre-call planning agenda. This agenda will identify and refine your target market.

Build Resilience

Let’s face it, telemarketing can be tough. You must build resilience. This means you need to develop a thick skin. If you take to heart every hang-up or negative call, you will surely become overwhelmed and extremely stressed. You must remember to take a deep breath and move on from bad calls because you never know what your next call will entail. It might be the best one of the day.

Training Can Help

If you are just starting out in telemarketing, training could help you get some guidance on methods used within the industry. The fact is that not everything a person does comes instinctively. The person next to you might be a natural at sales. However, many people need a little extra training to learn the ins and outs of being a great salesperson. There is nothing wrong with getting help to improve your results.

Dealing with Rejections

Be realistic. You will face roadblocks. It’s part of telemarketing. It’s also part of life, such as recovering from abuse, being fired, having to move, or getting a new job. Many people face these at one point or another during their lifetime. The important thing about rejection is that you can learn to use it to better yourself. Don’t let rejections dampen your day. Look at them, and ask yourself how you can learn from each one. This will help you become a successful telemarketer.


These tips won’t make you an effective winner overnight. However, they can help improve your chances of someday becoming one of the best telemarketers in town. Taking the initiative can help you enhance your telemarketing skills. 

These tips have helped many other telemarketers and business owners. Whether you are new to the telemarketing business, new to making business calls, or you have been at it awhile and need a refresher, these tips will help you move forward. 

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

How to Write an Outbound Telemarketing Script

By Julie Kramme

So, you’ve decided to use outbound calling as part of your sales and marketing strategy. You’ve acquired a list of prospects to call, and you know what you want the outcome of those calls to be. Now you need to develop a message for your telemarketing staff to effectively convey on your behalf. You need a telemarketing script. But what does that look like?

What Should a Telemarketing Script Include?

For some call center agents, a traditional script that tells your agent what you want to say and how you want them to say it works well—especially for those who are new and still building confidence. The challenge with traditional scripting is that with time and repetition, message delivery can get a bit stale. How can we prevent this? Through training and motivation, of course! But that’s not the only way.

When to Consider Eliminating the Telemarketing Script

The key to ensuring long-term effectiveness of your outbound telemarketing script may be to eliminate the script. Instead of writing paragraphs for agents to read, consider developing an outline or road map that provides directional conversation and key talking points to assist the agent in accomplishing their objective. Doing so allows the agent to insert their personality, use their own words, and build credibility with the prospect.

Using talking points works particularly well with lead generation, sales, and recruitment calls. But in other scenarios, such as market research and survey calls, where it’s important to eliminate personal opinions or bias, a traditional script may be necessary. So be open to both methods. Regardless of which approach you take, include the following components to ensure long-term effectiveness of your outbound telemarketing script.

Eight Components of an Outbound Telemarketing Script

1. Introduction: When making an outbound call, getting your “foot in the door” can be the biggest hurdle. Utilizing an effective call introduction is key. Keep it short: Who are you? Why are you calling? Why should the prospect listen?

2. Transition Statements: Be mindful of your prospect’s time, and be aware that your call interrupted their day. Use transition statements to set expectations and to maintain call control while moving from one phase of the conversation to the next.

3. Discovery: Learning about your prospect’s needs is the key to winning their business. Take a minute to ask them a few simple questions about what they’re doing today, what they like about it, and what they don’t. Use a combination of open- and close-ended questions to ensure qualification and get your prospect talking so you can build rapport.

4. Presentation: When presenting an offer, keep it concise. Clearly outline the key details of your proposal, and don’t forget to apply what you learned during the discovery phase of the conversation. Always tie your prospect’s needs back to a feature that provides benefit to them. Verbalizing these value statements is the key to generating interest and buy-in.

5. Assumptive Close: Be confident in your offering. If you’re setting an appointment, go ahead and ask what time of day works best for your prospect. If you’re selling a paid service, ask what method of payment they’d like to use to complete their order today. Until the prospect gives you a reason to believe they’re not interested, always assume a positive outcome.

6. Confirmation/Recap: Take a moment to confirm your prospect’s contact info and ensure they understand their level of commitment, along with any actions they must take. Then set expectations for the next steps. For example, when setting an appointment, let your prospect know that they’ll be getting an email confirmation, and schedule appointments within reasonable time frames to ensure follow through.

7. FAQs/Rebuttals: This is the most important component of any telemarketing script. Answering questions and overcoming objections is often the most difficult step for any telemarketing agent to master. Always remember that knowledge is power. Arm your team with the necessary tools to complete their objective successfully. Anticipate common questions and objections, providing talking points to help agents over these hurdles.

8. Compliance: Always make sure your telemarketing script includes any language that is a legal requirement, such as disclosing that you’re calling on a recorded line. Make this verbiage stand out so that it’s not easily overlooked. Also, carefully consider your wording to avoid sounding too rigid or too official early in the conversation, as this can make prospects wary about the call.

Listening Skills and a Positive Attitude Make the Difference

Two additional components are vital to the long-term effectiveness of your telemarketing script: a listening ear and a positive attitude. An agent’s ability to listen to their prospect and stay upbeat has more impact on the long-term success of your program than any scripted component. In a job full of repetition and rejection, this is a challenge. 

Work with other leaders on your team to apply this information. These telemarketing script components, when combined with effective training, motivational leadership, and responsible quality assurance practices, are sure to make your program a success, now and in the future.

Julie Kramme leads the sales team as sales executive for Quality Contact Solutions. Julie has a record for building strong and lasting partnerships with each client she works with. With more than twenty years of call center and telemarketing industry experience, Julie is an expert in call center operations, regulatory compliance, and technology. She assists each client with creating customized solutions to meet their growth and customer engagement goals. Julie’s primary passion is achieving goals without sacrificing quality.

Five Website Features That May Be Working Against You

By Molly Yurick

Contrary to popular belief, your website is not about the products you sell, the services you provide, or the information you share. It’s about the people who visit it and their needs. As a website owner, your job is to turn those visitors into paying clients. But before you can do that, you must keep visitors on your website long enough to pique their interest. And that means not scaring off your prospects with features that are annoying or—even worse—make you look unprofessional.

With all the web-design elements available today, it’s easy to lose sight of what will work best for your target audience. However, once you shift your focus to serving your visitors’ needs instead of your own, avoiding these features becomes much easier.

Here are five website features that may work against you:

1. Aggressive Pop-Ups

Pop-ups come in all shapes and sizes. Some are intended to persuade visitors to interact with your call-to-action (“Sign up for our newsletter” or “Take our survey”), while others are paid advertisements to bring in some extra income. But let’s be honest: pop-ups are quite bothersome, especially if they appear repeatedly. Expect to lose visitors if they must spend more time closing pop-up windows than exploring your content. If you feel you need to include pop-ups on your site, make sure you do your homework, place them well, and use them wisely.

2. Translation Plug-In

Translating your website into other languages is a smart business move if you are looking to expand internationally. It makes your products or services available to more people in more places and may very well increase your sales and online success. While it might seem like a translation plug-in or machine translation service will save you time and money, think twice before acting. 

Machine translation systems are great at getting the gist of a text, but they often skew the meaning. For example, in some languages, a popular machine translation tool translated “US President” as “Bush” well into the Obama administration. To avoid embarrassing mistakes that scare off global customers, it makes more sense to hire a professional translator who can perfectly craft your message for your audiences abroad.

3. Auto-Play Video

It’s happened to every internet surfer out there. They arrive at a new website and an unfamiliar voice or loud music blasts through their speakers. They frantically stop the video, rub their sore ears, shake their fist at the screen, and close the tab. Video may be all the rage right now, but the secret lies in knowing how to use it effectively. 

Auto-play videos—whether for informational purposes or to bring in revenue from advertisers—are annoying and will often push visitors away from your site. If you plan on using video on your website, add a prominent play button instead of having it auto-play. Let users decide whether they want to watch the video instead of deciding for them.

4. A Dysfunctional Mobile Version of Your Website

Mobile internet usage now surpasses computer usage. This means that you must have a mobile-friendly version of your website that maintains all the same key functions as the desktop version. If visitors do not have a positive experience when they land on your mobile site, you may drive away a huge portion of potential traffic. So make sure your website is responsive. Responsive websites include all the same content and information on any device used to access them, but the display changes automatically based on the size of the viewer’s screen.

5. Infinite-Scrolling Home Page

Infinite scrolling is a design technique in which content continuously populates at the bottom of the screen as the user scrolls down the page. This technique can be effective for certain types of sites, but for most users, an infinitely long home page can be distracting and confusing. It increases load time, makes navigation and linking messy, and hides or eliminates the highly valuable website footer. Users often search the footer for contact information, social media links, and privacy or security notices. If you’re not sure what type of home page will work best for your target audience, consult with a web-design professional.

Whether you are a freelancer or you own a multimillion-dollar company, all you must remember is this: make your website for them, not for you.

Molly Yurick is a Spanish-to-English translator specializing in tourism, hospitality, and airline industry translations. She is also an active volunteer for the American Translators Association, which represents over ten thousand translators and interpreters across 103 countries. For more information on ATA and to hire a translation or interpreting professional, please visit www.atanet.org.

Telemarketing Appointment Setting Best Practices: Part 3

By Angela Garfinkel

In Part 1 of “Telemarketing Appointment Setting Best Practices,” we discussed how to maximize the appointment kept rate when conducting telemarketing appointment setting. In addition, we introduced the six primary components of a successful telemarketing appointment setting program.

In Part 2, we discussed how to write an effective script that delivers a powerful nutshell message with a clear WIIFM (What’s In It for Me?).

All outbound telemarketing appointment setting professionals know that the third key component of success is the list you’re calling. In Part 3 of this series on telemarketing appointment setting, I’ll share my experience with curating the best outbound call list. Because my primary list purchase experience is in B2B appointment setting, I’ll focus there.

What Makes a Good List?

How do you identify what list to purchase? If you already have existing customers for your product or service, start by identifying what characteristics make up your best ones. Pinpointing your best customers and their similar characteristics become your criteria for purchasing prospect data from which to make outbound telemarketing appointment setting calls.

In the US there are about fifteen million businesses. There are many different list companies that will sell you business data, but knowing which segment(s) of the fifteen million businesses you should target is critical.

Here are some common B2B list selection variables:

• SIC (Standard Industrial Classification)
• NAICS (North American Industry Classification System)
• Revenues
• Number of employees
• Geography, typically by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
• Type of location (single, headquarters, branch)
• Credit rating
• Holding status (private, public)

Because NAICS is more specific than SIC codes, we prefer to purchase outbound telemarketing call lists using NAICS. This allows us to narrow the list to ensure we aren’t purchasing data that isn’t applicable for a client. For example, a travel solutions client is looking for businesses that have employees who travel. One of our good segments is construction. The NAICS code for construction starts with 23. We know that purchasing all available data with a NAICS code that starts with 23 is a waste of money. By narrowing it down to the type of construction, we can get better results. Single family home construction companies (NAICS 236115) don’t tend to have employees who travel. Specialized large project construction companies (such as NAICS 236210) tend to have employees who do travel. They go where the work is because large projects often aren’t in the geographic region where the construction company is located. This is just one example.

Create a Model, Validate, and Test

Once you’ve identified your best customers, purchased a list of more prospects that have the same characteristics as your best customers (called a look-alike model), then start placing calls. As you get call result data (disposition data) from the outbound B2B telemarketing appointment setting campaign, feed the results back to your data scientists to validate the model. Then tweak the model based on real performance.

Expertise Is Invaluable

Depending on the size of your company, it may even make sense to hire a list analyst to work full-time on developing your prospecting list. The alternative is relying on account reps from the list companies you purchase from. Their experience can be varied, and their ambition of selling you a larger list doesn’t necessarily align with your objective of buying just enough of the right list to achieve your goals.

If you could increase your telemarketing appointment set percentage by even a small amount, what would that be worth to you? List acquisition is a specialized field, and the options are varied. As a rule of thumb, we like to purchase data from compiled resources such as D&B, InfoUSA, and Accudata. Knowing who you want to target with your calling effort, knowing the results of the calls, and tracking performance by list segment will help drive smarter list acquisition efforts.

Angela Garfinkel is the president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions (https://qualitycontactsolutions.com), a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization serving the healthcare, financial services, automotive, market research, professional associations, and other B2B focused verticals. Angela leads a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours daily. She is also a certified Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) auditor with the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, and she is a designated Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP). Contact Angela at angela.garfinkel@qualitycontactsolutions.com or 516-656-5118.

Marketing and Sales Integration: Optimizing Your Business

By Adam Mergist

With the rise of the internet and streamlined conversion paths provided by megabrands such as Amazon, consumers expect more from every company they interact with. These higher expectations start at the very first communication—whether that interaction is via email, phone, or some other channel. According to Forbes contributor Stan Phelps, “76 percent of customers expect organizations to understand their individual needs,” while 81 percent demand “improved response time,” and 68 percent “anticipate organizations will harmonize consumer experiences.”

Those are high expectations for every part of the customer journey, from marketing to customer service. Such a demand poses an important question: How do companies meet such lofty expectations on a consistent basis?

The best place to start is with corporate integration. Here are four reasons you should take your company to the next level by integrating your sales and marketing data.

Better Cater to Consumers

The most dominant company in the world, Amazon, has set the customer service bar higher for every company. As an accounting of Amazon’s success, founder Jeff Bezos says, “We’re not competitor obsessed; we’re customer obsessed. We start with the customer, and we work backwards.” That’s an easy thing for the world’s richest person to say; what’s harder is backing it up. To follow through on Bezos’ big words, Amazon works to learn what a consumer wants before even the consumer knows for sure.

To get on Amazon’s level, you, too, need to anticipate your consumers’ needs. The best way to do that is to learn as much about them as possible. Integrating your sales and marketing data is the first step in gathering the customer knowledge you need.

A marketing team’s goal is to attract potential customers while retaining existing ones. Through a variety of marketing tactics, marketing teams gain information and learn about their customers. A sales team hopes to take those intrigued customers and begin a dialogue that will convert them to paying consumers. During this process they also gain insights and information about their customer base.

Each group, through their work, has an opportunity to learn about their customers’ buying habits from different perspectives. Compiling this valuable customer information from a sales perspective helps marketing teams—and vice versa. And the numbers back it up; according to MarketingProfs, “Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing had 36 percent higher customer retention rates and achieved 38 percent higher sales win rates than their competitors.”

Reduce Marketing Spending

Sharing consumer information between sales and marketing teams is step one in improving your overall sales. To take your sales and marketing data to the next level, pool it and turn it into advanced analytics. Too many companies think the answer to improved sales is upping their marketing budget. Smart companies take the information they already have and put it to better use.

That’s no pipe dream either. According to a McKinsey review of over four hundred organizations of different types and locations, “An integrated analytics approach can free up some 15 to 20 percent of marketing spending. Worldwide, that equates to as much as 200 billion dollars that can be reinvested by companies or drop straight to the bottom line.” The key to creating an effective advanced analytics model is having the right mix of marketing and sales data.

Improve Communication

In most organizations, the marketing department oversees generating leads before passing them on to sales to seal the deal. Other approaches, such as account-based marketing, focus on removing silos for better communication and an improved customer experience.

Instead of two silos of people working independently to make a sale to a single consumer, sales and marketing teams get together, share their data, and create a marketing campaign based on that collaboration. This helps both teams stay on message and most importantly, on the same page. Increasingly B2B companies are taking this approach but it is still vastly underutilized. If you want to pull ahead of your competition, try this tactic.

Get Ahead of the Curve

Despite the effectiveness of the varied approaches we have laid out thus far, many organizations have yet to take the data-sharing plunge. Data sharing and data strategy are the future of marketing and sales. According to Radius and Harvard Business Review, “Sixty-three percent of B2B marketers say data and analytics will be very influential on marketing activities within the next two years.”

Despite the overwhelming proof of the efficacy of this type of integration, only 37 percent of companies characterize their marketing approach as “somewhat advanced.” The trend of advanced strategic marketing is only becoming more prevalent as companies see the numerous benefits. If you start integrating now, you can get ahead of the curve.

Consumers continue to expect more from organizations, and businesses must make changes to meet those expectations. Organizations must learn about their customers and anticipate their needs. The companies that make the customer journey as enjoyable, intuitive, and efficient as possible will be the most successful. Integrating the data from your sales and marketing teams is the best way to reach that goal.

Adam Mergist is a chief operating officer and president of Home Services at Clearlink, an award-winning digital marketing, sales, and technology company and a trusted partner for Fortune 500 companies since 2003.