What is Good Call Frequency?

Tactful Persistence is the Key to Success

How often should you reach out to a target prospect?  

This is a question we are asked a lot when setting up an outbound telemarketing campaign.

The answer depends upon several factors:

  • Is this a first-time interest in the conversation with the person or company?
  • Is there a known need?
  • Is there a known relationship?
  • Is the prospective company a high-value target for you?

For Dunlap Marketing, making multiple attempts is an important contributor to our success.  Mostly we reach out by making phone calls with the reinforcement of sending one-on-one emails and voicemails.  With calling we balance the number of call attempts over a duration of time.  Time becomes a good friend.  Over time you can call early in the morning, late in the morning, early in the afternoon, and late in the afternoon.  Mixing up your call times gives you a better chance of connecting.

The “How To”

Apply good common sense to call frequency. You want to avoid your target prospect feeling that they are your only prospect.  You have other prospective companies to develop, so find a balance between spending time with other quality opportunities. 

Back to persistence, this is an important trait to have because persistence is often necessary to reach the person you need to speak with.  Decision makers are very busy, and guess what, they are not waiting for you to call them.  It’s no secret that people are often difficult to speak with.  Our belief is you have to earn the opportunity to speak with them, and tactful persistence is often required to earn the opportunity. It is important to trust the fact that just because you are unable to speak with the person, does not suggest they are uninterested. Often, it just simply confirms the fact that they are busy!

To specifically address the question: how often should you reach out to a target prospect – with first time campaigns, where the prospect data file is not huge, it’s common for Dunlap Marketing to start a campaign with the agreement of making 5 call attempts over a 4 to 6 week period of time.  As a general rule, our belief is it’s good to penetrate the list by making multiple call attempts if possible.  It gives you a more accurate feel of what the quality of opportunities is going to look like. 

This represents just the tip of the iceberg based on call frequency.  This type of campaign can rest for a month or two, then you can start calling into it again.  Unless you spoke to the right person, the likelihood is no one in the company will ever remember you called in prior times.  On the other extreme, with campaigns that we have been working on for years, it is very common to see appointments that we set today as having 50 or more call attempts over the past few years. 

If a prospect is important to you, do not be afraid to be tactfully persistent with trying to make contact.  However, it is very important that you do not over call and always be courteous to everyone you encounter while navigating to the right person.  To state the obvious, when you finally do reach the right person, be prepared!

The Exception

When done properly, tactful persistence is almost always a good trait; however, when you have a larger prospect database to develop, it may not be as necessary to practice persistence, as with smaller data files.  The larger the file, the more you can play the game of numbers, meaning, there will commonly be a segment of your target prospects that are more likely to answer their phone.  The larger the file, the more you can skim the top of the list, connecting with those who are easier to connect with. 

You may find that you are successful in filling your pipeline by making 2 or 3 call attempts.  Take advantage of this if you can.  As you develop the prospect list over time, you will find the level of challenge will start increasing as it relates to connection rates.  This is very typical.  The offset is you do a better job of saturating the list.

Ultimately…

A byproduct of skillfully working through your target prospect list is you can create multiple silos of categories.  You can prioritize your silos by who may have short-term interest, mid-term, long-term, or no interest at all.  This is all very good information to know as it helps you determine how to spend your time moving forward.

Part of the value of tactful persistence is it allows you to be creative with keeping your name in front of target prospects and how you integrate other marketing methods to communicate ongoing.  This all becomes beautiful marketing and it will generate terrific results for you.

In closing, this article brings to mind two of my favorite sayings, both of which I firmly believe in relating to how we live our lives and how we conduct business:

  • “Tactful persistence is the key to success”
  • “You never get a second chance at a first impression”

Both sayings significantly play into the intent of this article; work hard, be patient, do not give up, and always respect others.

You can contact Mike Dunlap at miked@dunlapmarketing.com or call him at (281) 496-9870 x140.

Summer 2022 Intern Blog PT 1

By: Tammy Tran

Summer has flown by in a blink of an eye and our Dunlap Marketing interns are gearing up to return to campus. For the past seven years, Dunlap Marketing has been passionate about developing the next generation of aspiring business leaders with our summer internship program which allows college students to gain valuable real-world experience and essential knowledge, all while growing their professional skills in a supportive and encouraging environment. The heart of our internship program is without a doubt, our dedicated leadership team that works hands-on with our interns to prepare them for their post-graduate careers.

This year Dunlap Marketing was excited to welcome three college students, from Baylor University and Texas A&M University, onboard our program. They worked on various entry-level campaigns, such as research calls and basic surveys. “We have been gathering marketing data through different mediums all summer. We have called hundreds of people, representing numerous companies, to help these companies better understand their target market,” said Owen Steinle, Baylor University. Contributing to the success of these campaigns, interns gained skills in cold-calling, lead generation, social media marketing, and B2B marketing. 

Here’s what our interns had to say about their work this summer!

“Throughout my internship at Dunlap Marketing, I got opportunity to work on several B2B campaigns, work with Kaitlin to learn the ins and outs of social media logistics and apply my creativity with managing the Dunlap Marketing social media accounts.”

– Tammy Tran, Marketing, Texas A&M University

“In summary, I would call what we did this summer ‘marketing grunt work’ because we captured the data that might initially seem insignificant, but in reality, is absolutely crucial to the marketing and sales processes.”

Owen Steinle, Sports, Strategy, Sales, Baylor University

Of course, our summer internship programs would not be complete without our weekly breakout sessions led by Kaitlin Dunlap Cuevas. Breakout sessions function to bridge the gap between what they’ve learned in class and how to apply it. Interns had the opportunity to have Q&As with both, Mike Dunlap and Kaitlin Dunlap Cuevas and learn from industry experts on young professional involvement, personal finance, resume optimization, and much more. It has been a wonderful summer with the addition of these talented individuals, and we can’t wait to see what comes next for them!

“My favorite thing about working at Dunlap was the breakout sessions. I learned a ton from talking to Kaitlin, Mike, and the other professionals that we met with. I felt like they were so beneficial for all the interns, and they became my favorite part of the weeks.”

Marshall McDuffie, Finance, Baylor University   

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where our interns talk about their experience being Dunlap interns and what they’ve learned. For even more on our 2022 summer interns, check out our Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. To read about our previous summer interns, check them out here; 2021, 2020, 2017, and 2016!

Common Lead Generation & Appointment Setting Questions in 2022

As we talk with companies who are seeking guidance about outbound teleprospecting and lead generation services, the following 4 questions are the most common ones we hear.

1. How has the pandemic impacted prospecting behaviors? – Our world and our “back to normal” is evolving back to the way it was before the pandemic.  Not everything will go back to the way it was, but in business, most human behaviors seem to be going back to, or get close to, normal – “normal” defined as pre-pandemic.  In our office, we are as successful today as we were before the pandemic with scheduling appointments.  Things were confusing during the pandemic, mostly trying to determine if a target contact person was working in the office or working remotely.  People are still working remotely, but they have become reachable via phone calls.


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2. What do you mean, multiple call attempts? Persistence – we are firm believers in “tactful persistence is the key to success”.  If someone tells us they are busy and asks us to call them back, we call them back.  Most often we feel like a non-response to a phone call simply means the person is busy and is unable to talk, or they are not ready to talk.  This is fine.  We do not assume that they are not interested in what we are calling about.  We do a very good job of balancing persistence with politeness - with this balance we will continue to develop a prospect over time until they are ready to talk to us, and hopefully earn a scheduled appointment.

3. Does cold calling really work?  There are many terms for it – cold calling, outbound prospecting, teleprospecting – no matter what you call it, the question remains the same. Does it work? This is always a very good question and there are several key elements that factor into the answer.  The answer can be different based on these key elements: 

  • Outbound teleprospecting works if you have a good plan and process in place for making calls and managing the data (CRM)
  • It works if you have a sales team that hustles and goes after new business opportunities
  • It is a beautiful way to cover lots of territory and geography without having to travel
  • Lastly, and often overlooked, historically we have learned that there are fewer competitors involved when you generate opportunities through teleprospecting.

4. Why cold calls rather than social media or other digital approaches? – It does not have to be one or the other. Incorporating multiple methods can complement rather than compete against each other.  Both do a very good job of generating sales opportunities and together, you end up with more prospects to sell services to.  Both social media and teleprospecting have the ability to overlap and impact a larger group of people, where separately, they both touch people who respond to either digital approaches or phone calls, but not both.

There is a process that needs to take place when building a campaign – whether we coach you on building your own or build it for you. There is also a frame of mind that needs to be present.  You can do an outstanding job building your campaign but if you do not have the correct frame of mind, it becomes difficult to succeed with the campaign.  We will teach you both: the process and the frame of mind.

Maybe this article answered the question(s) that you have, if not, we are happy to talk to you. 

7 Steps to Implementing a Smart Calling Program

What is Smart Calling?

A smart calling program incorporates the discipline of making prospecting sales calls with a plan. It’s having a targeted approach and a game plan that will guide you to a desired outcome.

A smart calling program has a plan that utilizes a known process that you can trust.

7 Steps to Your Smart Calling Program

The following are seven steps, developed by our team, that you and your team can follow as you prepare your own smart calling program:

  1. Data Records: clearly identify the businesses you want to call 
    • Common starting points are utilizing either a current customer list or an idle customer list
    • If you’re building a fresh list, common list-building criteria are: 
      • Specific industry categories (such as SIC codes)
      • Specific company sizes (revenue and/or employee count)
      • Defined geography
  2. Identify the Decision Maker: know who the right person is you want to talk with; if this information is not available to you, know the proper title and/or department – in today’s environment, it’s also helpful to find out if this person is working in the office or remotely
  3. Messaging: prepare a message that is brief, quickly gets to the reason for your phone call, asks good qualifying questions, asks about current satisfaction levels, and defines their future plans
  4. Utilize Technology: have a data-capture tool, such as a CRM, that allows you to efficiently document the valuable information you gather, a tool that allows you to define and schedule next steps, and might allow you to send follow up emails
  5. Train: be properly skilled to make the phone calls, roll play, and practice.  Record your live calls and listen to them and have peers listen to them  
    • If you are new to making business calls, don’t feel like you must be an expert – you do not.  Prepare yourself to answer basic questions, and this will get you much further than you think.  Remember, these calls are the beginning of the sales cycle, not the end
  6. Schedule: develop a schedule for making your smart calls and enter these times in your calendar. Create a schedule that is reasonable and achievable, then follow your plan and be patient
  7. Commit: trust your plan. If you do the work, you will start to see the results

If you follow the above steps, you will be implementing a smart calling program with a smart plan – a plan that is targeted specifically to a group of companies, some of which might become your future customers. There are common industry phrases that describe this type of work such as cold calling, telemarketing, teleprospecting, or lead generation. No matter what you call it, when it’s done properly, it is an excellent way to fill your pipeline with qualified prospect opportunities.

We live in odd times right now.  Normalcy is something that people are looking for, an example of this is human-to-human conversation.  With all of the bells and whistles that can come with sales and marketing, sometimes the simplest thing to do is call and have a conversation.

Dunlap Marketing has been in the business of building and conducting smart calling programs since 1996. Over the years, we have developed a process that we utilize with every client we serve. For more information on our programs, email Mike at miked@dunlapmarketing.com.