Follow Up Best Practices


Now that you’ve gone live with calling (Article #4 – Getting Your Telemarketing Campaign Started), there is a good chance you have found there are many different results from the calls. Next steps with clear actions or an appointment are the best results. However, not all calls are as easy as that! Other results could be:

  1. Request for more information
  2. Request for a call back
  3. A question is asked that requires research on your end, then a call back

More Information

Often, there is a fine line between a prospect who is genuinely interested in receiving more information and someone who is trying to get you off the phone. As you spend more time teleprospecting, you will learn how to discern possible interest. Do not be afraid to “test the waters” in an effort to qualify interest. Your time is important – spend it wisely.  In our opinion, if a prospect asks for information to be sent, they should also be willing to share why they are asking. If you still feel unsure, and you have tried to validate the reason, err on the side of caution and send the information – you never know when they might need your product or service.

It is very important to accurately capture the prospect’s email address and/or physical address.  Obviously, email is a more desirable and economical way to send information.  Also, the more specific the information is to the prospect, the better. It will take more time to send a tailored message, but it is worth the extra effort.

And of course, after you have sent the additional information, don’t forget to call back in a few days! Your follow up at this stage becomes very important.

Call Back

Keeping in mind that your prospect was not waiting by the phone for your call, you will frequently find that you have caught them at a busy time. In this instance, ask what day and time is best for you to call back. It is important to make it a priority to call your prospect back at their requested day and time – this will show you are respectful of their time and will start building trust and respect.

When you make the follow up call, remind the prospect you recently spoke with them and are calling back per their request. Refresh their memory of your previous conversation by restating something they told you. Be prepared to have a productive conversation with them about your product or service!

Often, voicemails will get in your way; use it as a tool on occasion. A message that is brief and informative is not a bad outcome.

Research and Call Back

Sometimes, a prospect will ask you a question you do not know the answer to.  This is okay and generally a sign showing the prospect has a level of interest in your product or service.  When this happens, never feel like you need to make up an answer, as this can lead to confusion and make the prospect feel you are not creditable.

Instead, let them know they asked a great question! Tell them you do not know the exact answer and would not want to lead them astray. Ask if you can call back with the correct answer – let them know approximately how long it will take you to get back with them.

Complete the necessary research and follow up with your prospect. This is another example of building trust and credibility. If you are unable to get them back on the phone, leave a voicemail or email with the answer.

Speaking with prospects and following up as promised is how the sales process gets started. It is important to show your prospects that you are credible and reliable as these first phases of the sales cycles are the foundation of your relationship with future clients. Do not get discouraged if you are asked to call back at a later time – it is a natural request and allows you the opportunity to show you respect their time and requests.

Follow up is all about timing, good planning, and being prepared.  If you are diligent and committed to the process, positive results will happen.

Be sure to read the final article in the “How to Implement a Telemarketing Campaign” series – Measuring and Analyzing.

For more information, contact Mike ( or Kaitlin (

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.