The Importance of Practicing a Telemarketing Script – Lead Generation or Appointment Setting


practice makes perfect


“Practice makes perfect!” We all grew up hearing this phrase from our parents, teachers, and coaches. While this phrase has proven to be accurate in sports and schoolwork, have you ever considered it for your telemarketing efforts?

As discussed in “Writing a Script for a Telemarketing Campaign”, having a script is vital to successfully executing a telemarketing campaign. This notion can seem somewhat black-and-white. However, what is not always black-and-white is the notion of practice. There are two different components of practice when it comes to telemarketing: practicing the script and practicing with your staff, commonly known as role-playing. These two go hand-in-hand and are equally important.

Practicing the Script

It is amazing how differently a freshly written script sounds when you hear it spoken out loud as opposed to when you write it and read it silently to yourself. Practice allows you to identify the weaknesses of your message and subsequently, correct those weaknesses prior to going live with calls.

In some businesses, prospect database records are very valuable. There are not enough records to waste during early stage phone calls where the process has yet to be refined. Testing a script in a role-play environment helps preserve the value of prospect records. Almost always, you are going to find the opportunity to refine, improve, and provide more clarity to a message during a testing phase. Testing the message will also help develop a more complete list of common objectives and FAQs, as well as prepare appropriate responses to commonly asked questions.

Practicing with Your Staff

Role-playing is one of the more nerve-wracking elements of a telemarketer’s job. This can be seen as the “down-side” of it; however, the good news is that role-playing is the best training for when the calls go live. It offers benefits such as feeling comfortable navigating the script, becoming familiar with common industry terms, and an all around feeling of preparedness.

It is difficult to find shortcuts when it comes to the act of preparation. Your employees should competently represent your company if they have spent 30-60 minutes speaking the message and addressing common questions and challenges during a role-playing session.

The 30-60 minutes of practice makes the assumption that the staff is already experienced at making prospecting calls or is knowledgeable in the area of your product and/or services. If the caller does not have either area of experience, role-play will take longer, but it will be time well spent. Try to create an environment where you can minimize nervousness.

Once your staff is prepared, the next step is to go live with calls. Stay tuned for our next article, which will focus on key points of going live with telemarketing calls.

Writing a Script for a Telemarketing Campaign – Lead Generation or Appointment Setting




Now that you have identified your database (see “How to Build Your Database”), the next step in implementing a telemarketing campaign is to write your script.

  • Think of a script as documentation of how you would speak naturally
  • Do not get caught up in using fancy words
  • Write your message with the mindset of “what is in it for the prospect?”
  • Be brief and quickly get to the point

The introduction should briefly introduce you and your company; the first goal is to identify or confirm who you need to speak with. If you do not have a contact name, help the gatekeeper out by offering typical titles of people that are involved in the decision making process. For example, “May I please speak with the person who makes the banking decisions?” This is a commonly used practice in many telemarketing campaigns. If title descriptions are not helping, ask to be transferred to the appropriate department and start your information gathering at that point. With certain businesses, initial intelligence gathering can be accomplished at the gatekeeper level, which will help prepare you for a call back at a future date to speak with the right person.

Once you connect with the right person (could be a decision influencer or decision maker), introduce yourself again and offer a very brief statement of what you do – as always in telemarketing, the fewer words, the better at the beginning stage of a cold call conversation. Then, as quickly as possible, ask a question that helps determine early stage need or interest. For example, if you are doing appointment setting calls for a bank, you might ask, “Are you satisfied with your current banking situation?” This first question is important in gauging the prospect’s willingness to give you a few quality moments. If you are catching them at a bad time, do not be afraid to call them back at a more convenient time. If they are willing to continue a conversation, present a brief value statement that should be meaningful to them. This statement should communicate “what is in it for them (the prospect)”. If the timing is right, at this point, you should be able to ask questions concerning:

  • Current situation
  • Future plans to change (timing)
  • Does the current situation satisfy immediate and future needs
  • Satisfaction

If timing is not right, still gather basic information as listed above. Ask for permission to stay in touch. Have a good CRM system in place that will help you track and time your follow up calls. An efficient CRM tool is very helpful with most telemarketing campaigns.

In closing out your call, attempt to gather the person’s email address. This will be helpful in staying in touch, incorporating in newsletters, and inviting them to upcoming events. Email is a great complement to telemarketing calls and can be used to increase overall appointment setting and lead generation results.

It is important to set proper expectations when making phone calls. It is uncommon to sell business the first time you call someone. Typically, early stage phone calls are the beginnings of building a relationship that leads you to earning the right to sell at a point in the future.

Many times, the patience and tenacity of staying in touch timely become key attributes in lead generation; therefore, earning the right to sell. Timing and persistence are more important than fancy words.

Now that you have your script, what comes next? You should practice with the script and role-play before going live with calls. Check out our next article, “The Importance of Practicing a Script”, which discusses the importance of becoming familiar with your script.

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.

6 Steps to Implement a Telemarketing Campaign

6 Steps

Telemarketing can be difficult and take long hours to prepare for campaigns, sometimes with few results. But in a time where emails are going unread, telemarketing is still the best way to get in contact with your prospects and customers.

Thus, it’s vitally important to properly prepare, set up and implement your telemarketing campaign.

Here’s how:

  1. Identify the database 

    Your database might include calling into existing customers, former customers or new prospects. You should have a list of existing and former customers, but you might need to develop a prospect list. In building a prospect list, you will have the opportunity to define the target market that you want to reach. Common search criteria include:

    • Industry Type
    • Geographic Locations
    • Annualized Revenue
    • Number of Employees
    • Single Location, Headquarter, Branch-type Facilities

It will be helpful if you try to manage the database inside a CRM application. It is usually worth the time required to setup some type of electronic database management process in advance so you can effectively manage your information and respond to follow up requirements after speaking with people.

  1. Write a script

    Have a purpose for calling customers or prospects. It is important to document this message. Know who you should be talking to, this might be a decision maker or influencer. With customers, you might already have the correct name to ask for. With prospects you might want to identify the common job titles for your target contacts. In most industries it is not realistic to think you will sell products or services during the first phase of your calling campaign. A suggested goal is to ask key questions that allow you to begin the sales process.

Questions that will allow you to start the sales process include:

  • Understanding who their current vendor is
  • Are they under contract
  • When does the contract end
  • What is their current satisfaction level
  • Do they have needs that are not being met by the vendor or product/service

Consider including a question that asks for permission to include prospects in your monthly newsletter or periodic communications. Typically, email is the method; attempt to capture their email address.

  1. Practice / Role Play

    Even if you feel your staff is capable of jumping right in and making calls, it is still a good idea to practice prior to going live with your calls. If you plan to have the calls made by inexperienced staff, you will want to train and role play with them prior to going live. If your calling staff is not experienced, this is okay; their primary objective is capturing answers to the questions listed above.

  1. Start calling

    Telemarketing is a job responsibility that is commonly avoided so it will be smart to develop a calling schedule for the staff to follow. This will help assure that the project gets done. Consider allocating a couple hours each day over an extended period of time rather than making all the calls at one time.

  1. Follow up requirements

    Expect the conversations you have with customers or prospects to generate a level of busy work; this is good. Some prospects will ask that you send them information, others will ask that you call back at a specific future date, and others will ask questions that require research and call backs. Respond to these requests timely as these activities give you permission to call the prospects back. This is how the sales process gets started.

  1. Measurement and Analysis

    Find out what your productivity levels were. How many dials were completed? Did you complete your goals? Were you looking to increase prospects, qualify prospects, increase awareness, increase attendance at an event? Take a look at your goals and compare your call productivity to them.

Overall, it can be difficult to remain motivated to cold call and telemarket, but with the right processes in place, you can increase your chances for success.

Hungry for more? Get more detailed information about these 6 steps in our follow up articles:

“Identifying Your Database for a Telemarketing Campaign”

“Writing a Script for a Telemarketing Campaign”

“The Importance of Practicing a Telemarketing Script”

“Getting Your Telemarketing Campaign Started” 

“Follow Up Best Practices”