Can Outsourced Telemarketing Help My Business?

By Herman Pool
In Marketing
March 4, 2014

Herman Pool / Vertical Axion

Recently I met with a client about what they were currently doing to generate new leads.  “Well, Herman. I’m thinking about starting up with an outsourced telemarketer to set face to face appointments for me.  What do you think?”

For this person, I think it is a great move.  While setting your own appointments in house is the best way to use telemarketing, you have to know where your limits are.  Sometimes, you just don’t have the resources or patience to deal with cold calling. One of the biggest hurdles for many business owners, really anyone, is a fear of rejection.  The second biggest hurdle I know business owners deal with is the fear of wasting money.  The first fear stops us from telemarketing on our own.  The second stops us from letting others telemarket for us.

To that end, let me share an experience I had with outsourced appointment setting.

I spent probably $6k over three months.  I went on about 20 appointments.  I had 9 awful/unqualified visits (4 computers, home office, that sort of thing) and about 6 good ones and 4 excellent ones (highly qualified/motivated/serious issue the day we called).  Every time I went on a crap visit I got all worked up about how it was wasted time and money, even the kind of good ones disappointed me, the great ones seemed like a small win that didn’t level out.  I was scared I was wasting time and money.

Here is the deal.  I was wrong.  My whole mindset was ignorant and foolish, because in the end I worked those leads like my business depended on it and landed two monthly recurring revenue deals and some project work.  The monthly recurring revenue ended up being about $120k in revenue. I paid $6k total and made nearly $180k on one simple campaign.  Telemarketing done right is the one of the best investments you can make IF YOU CAN CLOSE!  If you don’t have a documented sales and follow up process, don’t bother telemarketing.  That’s really true of all marketing.

I live and breathe marketing and even I had the wrong mindset going in.  Each lead that didn’t buy seemed like wasted money to me.  Even with my modern marketing mindset I got stuck on the old mindset of marketing being an expense.  I forgot the first two secrets to marketing that I teach, Investment & Commitment.  Now with time behind me I would tell you that was an excellent investment.

Four tips you can do to improve your telemarketing results:

1. Create A Loose Presentation:  Don’t just go in blind and expect to “wing it”.  If you want to see success you have to have a process that you can implement, test, and revise.  I don’t expect you to run from a script for the rest of your life.  Instead, create a list of discovery questions and a list of answers to common questions prospects have.  Get with a friend and practice having a meeting.  The more you practice, the more confident you will become.

2. Listen to win: Make that first meeting 100% about learning about their needs.  They will tell you exactly what they want.  If you are clever with your questions, they will tell you the price they are willing pay as well.  Then rather than talk them into what you want to sell, show them that you have what they want.
3. No Means “Not Today”: Again I would get frustrated and blame the lead generator for failure.  All lead gen can do for you is get a sit down.  It can’t make them buy, and it can’t close the deal.  Sometimes people are interested, but they aren’t ready today.   Use the next tip to help you turn this situation around.

4. Document a follow up procedure: So you have met with the person and it went ok.  Sometimes they don’t buy, sometimes they do. That’s not the end of your contact with them.  Marketing is a circle of revenue.  You should create a follow up procedure for those who buy and another to keep in touch with the ones who aren’t ready to buy today.

For instance: If they buy, send them a thank you package and set them up on a drip emails that give them tips on how to best use your products & services.  If they aren’t ready to buy, get permission to set them up on an educational series of emails that talk about the problems people face when not using their products and how to solve them in general terms.  At the end of each email invite them to set an appointment to talk about the subject more.  Using this follow up tactic for people who weren’t ready, I have closed deals with people two years from the first time I met with them.  They weren’t ready for two years, but they eventually needed what I offered and my name was at the top of their mind.

In the end, outsourced telemarketing became a real winner for my company.  Since I had a documented follow up and sales process, my fears of wasting money and time were really unfounded.  Ultimately, as business owners, we need to let go of some control to have success.  Using outsourced appointment setting can be a great way to do that.

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