Dunlap Discussions: Prospecting Tips from the Pros

Are you in sales? Do you dream of closing deals left and right? Do you dream of growing your customer list and increasing your sales?

If yes, you’re in the right place.

We interviewed our team of appointment setters to learn their top tips and advice for prospecting, getting through to the decision maker, and scheduling appointments. And by the way, on average, our team has more than 15 years of experience in the industry…so they know a thing or two about a thing or two!

Join us for our new series, Dunlap Discussions: Prospecting Tips from the Pros! In today’s post, we will cover our team’s tips on preparing to make prospecting phone calls and trying to connect with the decision maker.

Preparing to make prospecting calls:

The two biggest pieces of advice from our team are

  1. Review your script/message and other supporting material
  2. Practice what you plan on saying

Being familiar with the message you will deliver and how you plan on delivering it is a key part of strong communication. Not only will it help you feel more confident, but it will help you sound more confident, too.

When someone answers your call, you only have a few seconds to make a first impression. If that first impression is not positive, there’s a good chance your call will end with CLICK. Confidence, proper preparation, and a “smile” in your voice will set you up to have a great first impression.

Connecting with the decision maker:

Getting past a gatekeeper is no easy feat – especially a gatekeeper who is good at sniffing out distractions that might not immediately benefit the decision maker.

Even though it’s tough, it’s a necessary task. Many decision makers have one (or multiple) gatekeepers, especially at large companies. When this is the case, it becomes your mission to get through the gatekeeper so you can connect directly with the decision maker.

Our team has a few tips on the matter:

  1. Build rapport with the gatekeeper and remember that they are just doing their job, like you’re just doing yours. With this being said, you don’t want people to get frustrated with you because you’re doing your job, so don’t get frustrated with gatekeepers for doing their jobs. The gatekeeper can usually be an asset to you, but you’ve got to have a foundation of good-will in place.
  2. If it’s available to you, use the decision maker’s name; if it’s not, try to determine it early on. Often, being able to utilize the decision maker’s name will give the gatekeeper a sense of comfort with you and increase their trust in what you’re saying. If you’re still in the discovery phase and don’t yet have the correct name, do your best to find it. When you do, take note of it and use it moving forward.
  3. Have a short and precise introduction of yourself and your company. Don’t be a stranger! Tell the person who answers the phone who you are – but don’t take up too much time with your introduction! Remember, you only have a few seconds to make your first impression. You don’t want that impression to be “this salesperson is only in it for him/herself”. Rather, you want the impression to be “this salesperson is calling from ___ because ___.”

Come back next week for part 2 of Dunlap Discussions: Prospecting Tips from the Pros where we’ll cover the next phase of a call – speaking with a decision maker and asking for an appointment.

Top 8 Things INTERNS Will Tell You About Telemarketing

Updated: May 2020

For the past five years, Dunlap Marketing has had the pleasure of hosting interns during our Summer Internship Program. For additional articles about our program, click here and here.

Describe your experience this summer with your intern job at Dunlap Marketing.

  1. “I had the chance to gain valuable real-world experience while also developing my leadership skills and understanding how important marketing/sales is to every aspect of business.” – Jessica, University of Texas, Marketing
  1. “During the campaign it is hard work, but at the end of it, there is a sense of satisfaction hearing the final results, and knowing you took part in the early stages of the sales cycle.” – Matt, University of Texas, Accounting

What do you consider the most important thing you learned during your internship?

  1. “How to be fearless in a professional setting. Having made so many telemarketing calls during my time here, I know I can go into the workforce and not be afraid of meeting with people and selling.” – Allen, Texas A&M University, Finance
  1. “You can’t wait for business to come to you, and getting business is not as simple as putting an ad out. Identifying prospects and turning prospects into customers is the only way you will be successful.” – Matt, University of Texas, Accounting

What do you consider the second most important thing you learned?

  1. “Hard work pays off – just because something does not seem to be working in the moment, business is a numbers game. It’s also a game of inches, and every inch you can get goes a long way.” – Matt, University of Texas, Accounting
  1. “The reasoning that goes into the businesses’ strategy. Sitting down with Mr. Dunlap and hearing him talk about why he does things and why he doesn’t will really come in handy in the future.” – Allen, Texas A&M University, Finance

What do you consider the biggest value that a customer receives from Dunlap Marketing services?

  1. “It’s the security of knowing that everyone at Dunlap Marketing who works on their behalf is looking out for their best interest. Customers know they’re getting a high-quality service.” – Allen, Texas A&M University, Finance
  1. “The one-on-one interaction with prospects. Talking individually to prospects makes a big difference. With Dunlap Marketing, customers know they are getting friendly voices to adapt to prospect needs and lead them through the first steps of making a sale.” – Jessica, University of Texas, Marketing

The Game of Numbers

Black and white numbers background

How many dates do you go on before you get married? I would be willing to bet that 97 times out of 100, it takes more than just two.

The art of sales is a lot like a dating, courtship, and ultimately marriage. It takes patience, persistence, and respect.

  • Patience – Being ready and willing to wait for the other party to think over things
  • Persistence – Being tactful and comfortable with following up
  • Respect – Time, space, and money are all things that people hold closely; respecting these three things is critical for any relationship to thrive

Many esteemed business leaders believe three percent of sales are made on the second contact, ten percent of sales are made on the fourth contact, and eighty percent of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact. Note, these numbers may not be exact, but we believe they accurately reflect typical sales behavior.

In the teleprospecting campaigns that Dunlap Marketing does in a primarily business-to-business environment, it is very common for us to make at least eight call attempts before we start feeling the early indications of list saturation. The fact is, tactful persistence is required if you want to speak with the people who make decisions.

Only ten percent of sales people make more than three contacts. Forty-eight percent of sales people never follow up with a prospect. Again, these numbers are believed by many respected business leaders to reflect common behaviors.

We have learned that just because someone is not easy to connect with, does not mean they are not interested in what we are promoting – all it means is that they are probably busy. The game of numbers works well in our favor – if we call enough records enough times over a couple months, we will accomplish our goals without wearing out our welcome.

So, how many dates do you go on before you get married? Two? Four? Twelve? You tell me!


Identifying Your Database for a Telemarketing Campaign – Appointment Setting or Lead Generation




If you read “6 Steps to Implementing a Telemarketing Campaign” (see “6 Steps to Implement a Telemarketing Campaign”) and want more detailed information, you have come to the right spot. The first step to a successful telemarketing campaign, especially when making cold calls, is to identify your database.

In building a new prospect database for an appointment setting or lead generation campaign, it is very important to think through and identify key demographics. Consider your thought process initially around how you would classify your “A-List” prospects. In most cases, you will be able to identify these companies. If you are not able to define an “A-List”, consider analyzing your existing customer base; one idea might be to mirror similar types of companies.

The following are common criteria used when building a telemarketing database:

  1. Geography – this can be as specific as zip code, radius, city, county, state, and beyond
  2. Industry type – this can be done by using SIC or NAICS codes, which allow you to specifically or generally select the type of businesses you want to reach
  3. Annualized revenue – this allows you to select revenue ranges/categories of the size of businesses that are the best fit for your company
  4. Employee count – as with #3, this allows you to select ranges/categories of employee numbers that are the best fit for your company (it is common to incorporate revenue and employee count to work in unison with each other)
  5. Facility type – this allows you to select corporate headquarters, single location, subsidiary, and/or branch location

There are a variety of other selection options; however, these are the five most commonly used for successful telemarketing results.

When using most web-based data tools, you can also gain access to the top executive name and title. Some tools allow you to select other contact names; but it is common to find these options fairly incomplete and not always updated. Having these names can help make a cold call feel more like a warm call. It will expedite the time it takes to reach your end goal, whether it is appointment setting, lead generation, or general business development.

If this is your first prospect database list, you might not be concerned about duplicate records. However, if you are building a list and you also have existing prospect lists, it is common to suppress your newly defined list against your current list; therefore, minimizing duplicate records. This is an important step if your existing list has been maintained and updated. Suppression steps are common when you are trying to expand your prospect database.

Depending upon your business, record count can vary. If there is a high record count, I recommend being more specific on criteria to become more exact on your “A-List”. This will allow you to purchase fewer records initially. You can always obtain the additional records later on. There is no need to purchase records today that you will not get around to calling for a period of time.

What do you do after you identify the database? You write a script. Scripts are another critical aspect of an effective telemarketing campaign. Check out our next article, “Writing a Script for a Telemarketing Campaign” , which details the process of script writing.