Telemarketing-Is it effective?

I’ve written out a script for my wife to call some businesses in the area. My aim is for her to set up some appointments (with qualified decision makers, of course) for me to go out and do some free, no-obligation, estimates (I don’t really believe in phone estimates, what a way to loose potential customers! Especially if you leave an estimate over an answering machine! I know! But that’s another thread.) Has anyone cold-called before? When it comes to verbal sales I know how much results can vary depending on the skills of the salesman, but I’d like to hear some experiences and/or tips anyway. Also, are there laws we have to be aware of when calling to sell something over the phone? I’ve done phone-call debt collection (don’t get me started) before and I know from experience how to break through many conversation stoppers, so I want to give this a try.

I have picked up the majority of my commercial accounts through telemarketing. It works, I stopped doing it a bit this year but will be full boar into it in 2008.

I have had real bad results… and that was with “pros” doing it.

that said, some companies do pretty well with it. The key is getting the right person on the phone.

I agree with CFP, and for the best commercial, you can forget about getting the bigwig on the phone (aka the decision maker) to talk with someone (YOU) that they don’t know who is probably going to be trying to sell them something (VERY TRUE, incidentally).

The solution is in-person cold-calling, and in-person management of the ‘gatekeeper’.

For the more lucrative commercial anyway.

I’m not sure about how it may work with smaller commercial, like a strip plaza or mall. May be worth a shot. Let us know how it goes.

I hired a professional telemarketer for a brief stint this past year, for Residential window cleaning.

She worked at it and worked at it, but in the end, hustled up very few leads in hours and hours of calling, none of which turned into clients.

She used a great, polished script, and targeted a specific neighborhood, and of course, she was a pro with the slick phone skills, but it was a definite no-go.

My objective is not to sell them on window cleaning but to sell them on a free window cleaning estimate. I say something like: "Hi, this is Aaron with Acclaim Window Cleaning. We do commercial window cleaning in (their area). Next week we are in the area doing free estimates for potential clients and would like to know when you’ll (the general manager) be available so we can come by and do a quick estimate for your business’ windows. When is a good time next week?"
Me and my wife have already made some calls and it seems that they don’t view us as telemarketers because we aren’t trying to sell them anything, only trying to set up a convienient appointment since we will be in the area anyway.
Your right though, paneless, the g.m. is hard to get on the phone. So what I do is say: "Okay, can you take down a message? This is Aaron with Acclaim Window Services. We’re having a guy stop by on
_(give a day of the week and time of day) to give you a free window cleaning estimate. If he is not going to be available, please call us back at …"
We have yet to have anyone get mad or treat us like a telemarketer. And I have many ways of getting passed their objections like: “We have a cleaner already.”

I had a go at it myself. The only difference was, I fliered a week prior to the call. My script was more of a follow-up to the flier. It did get me some jobs but you gotta keep at it. I will probably try it again depending how slow my winter is.

How do you go about it?

Acquired the numbers

had a phone girl call up and offer a free window cleaning

Sales guy and a window cleaner would go down.

Window guy cleaned, Sales guy attempted to sell them on a regular service.

He was paid a commission for every signed service agreement he brought back.

He would get between 0-5 signed agreements a day.

They would usually clean 10 - 15 stores a day.

Chris: Fighting for the back-end. I like it.

Acclaim: I miscommunicated my approach to you. My objective was also simply an on-site estimate, too. Still, poor results. Super-slick script, too, but no dice.

how many people remembered the flier?

Actually very few. It was the phoning that landed the gigs in that case.

that must have been expensive…but very interesting. What if u offer a 5 or 10 buck window cleaning just to make a little pocket change. Offer such a great deal that anybody would recognize how great of a deal it is. Then u could still save some money on the project…I’m just thinking out loud here.

I would think that residential phoning would be a really hard thing. why did you pick it over commercial?

My main focus is on Residential. I just tried it on a whim to see if I could combine the flier approach with phone follow up to obtain a better ROI.

It was expensive but I wanted to pick up a massive amount of accounts quickly… this was the best I could come up with. I didnt want to turn anyone off to the offer by charging a few bucks. Everyone that we called said whats the catch? I didnt want there to be any catches.

good points guys.

chris: what kind of signed service agreement did the salesman recieve? Do u make contracts with all your commercial?

Yes we use a signed service agreement for any commercial account on any type of recurring frequency.

Its very basic… it just has service frequency options that the client checks off and signs. It has our payment terms that they agree to and has some room for notes and specifics about the job.

so is there ever a term length that they have to keep your service?

No but it does state that we require 30 days notice of cancellation.

Would you ever put a service term length on the agreement. I’m thinking of putting the option on the form, but not using all the time. I guess I would feel out the manager and see. Do you think that’s a good idea, or no service length is needed?

any opinions about service length agreement?