Insurance Agency Marketing 2.0 – Chapter 5: Telemarketing & Appointment Setting

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July 5th, 2011

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In chapters 3 and 4, we discussed insurance agency eMarketing and web seminars respectively.  These powerful tools that technology has made so easily accessible offer a tremendous opportunity.  Targeted emails and potent webinar presentations will generate sales activity and pour prospects into your funnel when properly executed.  However, it is my personal preference to use the aforementioned initiatives to enhance the effectiveness of a telemarketing and appointment setting campaign by creating warm calls.    There is no substitute for a direct conversation with your coveted prospects, and effective Insurance Agency Telemarketing & Appointment Setting campaigns will create that opportunity.

Appointment Setting Cold Calls

Since every salesperson will not have the campaigns under motion to generate warm calls, we will begin by discussing traditional cold calling campaigns that everyone can launch immediately.  Producers with aggressive sales goals should not be investing their time in making these calls personally, they need to delegate the task to someone who can deliver quality new business activity while they are out closing.  Here are 3 key tips for increasing call efficacy that can be instituted quickly and cost-effectively:

  • Ladies First – We are not sexist, but all of our callers are women.  Over many years and millions of dials, it has become abundantly clear that women deliver superior results.  The reason for this could be as simple as ladies are often more pleasant on the phone, or as complex as a chromosomal advantage.  Regardless, it is proven fact, so hire wisely.
  • No Bullpens, No Dialers – Do not hire callers in a bullpen or those who use an automatic dialer.  The background noise, the delayed answer, the dropped calls – these are all issues that highlight the lack of professionalism associated with telemarketing.  Provide your caller with an office (or home office) that is quiet and require that they dial every call.  This will create the appearance of a professional person working within your business.  Much better than a college kid in a bullpen.
  • Simple & Concise Pitch – Get to the point quickly.  Intro, 3 key differentiators, call to action.  A 3 to 5 sentence pitch that can be delivered in 20 to 30 seconds is most effective.  If your caller is reaching out to busy executives, a concise delivery will not only be appreciated, but it will be required for success.  

Appointment Setting Warm Calls

Now, as promised, the technology driven gold mine that is appointment setting warm calls.  The prospects which click-through and open your email campaigns, and those who register for and attend your web seminars all provide a unique opportunity.  These prospects are in-profile (otherwise they would not have received your email message or web seminar invitation), and they have shown some level of interest in your expertise (as shown by their click-through or registration).  This makes your appointment setting call very warm, and exponentially more effective.

These calls are so effective that I continue to devote an hour of every workday to them even though I am filling an executive level role.  In fact, prospects that came from warm calls to email opens were my richest source of prospects and closed sales in 2010.  The method I deploy is to cherry-pick the warm call prospects I want and that I have time to call, and assign the remainder to my staff of callers.  This way, every opportunity is followed up with a call within the same calender week.  The result of this program is consistent appointments with prospects who can and will buy – the exact goal of my marketing campaigns.