Appointment Setters: Cultivating Your Cold Call List (Part Two)

April 5, 2012

arrowup_200When we execute a call campaign, we’d all love for the answer on the other line to be “Oh, thanks goodness you called, I’ll take 200 orders.” As silly as it sounds, many salespeople inadvertently operate their prospect contact list with this mentality, looking for only low-hanging fruit on the call list and tossing aside those not of immediate interest. Staying in contact with prospects long term
with education touch points is key to generating sales in that it preserves the time you’ve already invested, as well as cost, in making those initial calls.

In this article we will cover, as an appointment setter,  the major components in acquiring and maintaining an effective and current call list inventory. Part One covered the start points of a call list. In Part Two we will now focus on best practices during the prospecting process and how to effectively identify prospects and categorize prospects for future follow-up to generate sales.

The basics of a telemarketing B2B lead generation campaign include the following:

  • Make sure you have a targeted call list with good contact information (Part One).
  • Qualify prospects through phone calls and yes, leave voicemails.
  • Utilize feedback from the prospecting calls to modify messaging for future marketing efforts.
  • Stay in touch with your prospects via “drip” marketing campaign.
  • Repeat call backs to prospect list within 6-12 months to keep list current.
  • Capture any prospects who might have a need now or in the immediate future.
  • Attempt to speak with more prospects for further qualification and offer a personal touch to your business.

Rule 1: 80% of your calls will be voicemail – leave a message!

I recommend leaving a voice message after the first and second attempts when you get voicemail because, like a TV commercial, it gives your product brand awareness and builds familiarity with who you are for future calls and/or emails. If you are sending an email, do it sometime within 48 hours so the two touches complement each other.  For example, a prospect hears your voicemail but only listens to 10 seconds, but then he sees your email and scans through even more details giving the combination of two a better chance to deliver more details about your project, product or service.

Leave a message after the first two voicemails but on the third, don’t. You don’t want to come across as a pest. If you don’t get to speak to the prospect directly and they have not responded to you after those first two calls in a voicemail, it usually means they are not interested right now. I still will do a third call and try to capture them live. Remember, the more live calls captured, the more opportunity there is to qualify and determine appropriate steps and timing of follow-up. Note that I do not start the number of passes until I’m actually speaking to the right person. If a prospect does not express interest after several touches, it’s time to move on.

Rule 2: Vary the time when you call

Do your calls during various times of the day and/or week to help ensure that the prospect is not on vacation or out of the office or in a weekly scheduled meeting when you call. Make as many calls as you believe you can reasonably revisit one time per week for three weeks as you will pass through the list three times, adding each time to the number of live calls you capture. Each time you call, you create brand awareness. Too much time in between your B2B lead generation calls reduces your chances of prospect familiarity, so make sure you select call allotment that you can reasonably handle.

Rule 3: Don’t throw away that list!

A list will go stale through attrition within six months to a year. In my opinion it’s a waste of resources to not stay in contact with the prospects on your list (unless an obvious dead end). Should people not be interested, ask them what a good time might be to follow up, and schedule those times for follow-through before you get off the phone. If I plan to have a drip marketing campaign, I will typically end my conversations with:

“In the meantime, we offer a free publication that highlights the emerging trends __________ and our expertise in __________. If it’s okay with you, I’ll add you to the list.”

Then get their email address. Within a short period of time after getting the address, send a verification to make sure that there is not bounce to that email.

Rule 4: Strive to gather emails

As you have live conversations, gather emails to expand your online marketing presence. Email marketing is a very affordable way to generate sales, and is a fast and efficient communication approach when coupled with telemarketing. You will also increase your likelihood of a reply when you appeal to prospects who prefer written communication over auditory. Common types of email campaigns include newsletters or emerging trends within an industry, along with highlights of your expertise and promotional campaigns. Whatever you send, there must be a perceived value in the mind of your prospect, so keep that in mind to help reduce your level of unsubscribes.

Rule 5: Build rapport by referencing prior conversation details

Ideally, after making your initial three-call pass through your list you are staying in touch with these unripe prospects with emails, preferably once a month until the next call, which should be in five to six months. Just like TV jingles, repetition creates familiarity, which increases the odds of your prospect thinking of you when they have a need. Keep detailed notes so that you can reference key points from the prior conversation, even a personal note can go a long way in developing rapport. For example:

“Any other vacation plans, as the last time we talked you were off to Singapore?”

or

“Is your dog feeling better?”

What a way set you apart from the competition! To generate sales, the fact that you even bother to make notes about prospects’ interest goes far in the long term and gets you closer to be in a “likable” and preferred resource.

Referencing prior suggested call-backs and how you wish to be respectful of their time frame is helpful in having a prospect feel heard and taken care of. If a prospect tells you to call back in six months, I recommend that you call back in five. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a prospect tell me that I just missed the sales opportunity! Doing so a month in advance of when you have been asked to call back helps to secure against these premature mishaps as you try to generate sales.

Rule 6: Need help generating sales ? Contact Lead Savvy for B2B lead generation.

As a virtual extension of your sales team, we help you identify and cultivate qualified decision makers who can purchase your product or service. Lead Savvy, LLC allows you to delegate the tedious, repetitive tasks and the rejection that comes with preliminary B2B lead generation efforts. In other words, we do the initial filtering so you can spend your valuable time focusing on your profit-making operations.

Independent assessments available. Would you like to learn how to add momentum to your existing sales team’s prospecting performance? Our strategy consultation service assists appointment setters in navigating the communications, training and strategy components of B2B lead generation in such a way that their teams are productive and energized versus being dis-empowered and distracted.

 

 

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