Hiring a Cold Caller

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Jan 20, 2009 7:42 pm

I'm thinking of hiring a cold caller for my office. 20 hours per week at maybe $10 an hour plus some sort of incentive. The idea is to build general leads that I could follow up with, or to fill up seminar seats.

 
Does anyone have any experience or insight in doing this?
Jan 20, 2009 8:08 pm

Ah yes, the magic bullet approach to prospecting.  If they are going to be both effective and compliance approved, they will need to be licensed themselves.  If they are licensed, they are not likely to work for $10 an hour.  And if they are willing to work for McDonalds server rates, they probably aren't good enough to generate any worthwhile leads. 

If this strategy actually was effective, don't you think it would be used a bit more often?

Jan 20, 2009 8:14 pm

I'm not sure that it's not. Hence my inquiry to those with relevant experience in hiring someone to cold call. Are you trying to tell me it won't work, or just that it's a low probability marketing method. Because what isn't.

Jan 20, 2009 8:55 pm

We just hired a cold caller after several different candidates interviewed.  We are paying minimum wage as a draw against a commission schedule we have set up.


We decided to steer away from people with license, which is against what Morphius said.  We intentially wanted to do this so that we can have the lady calling to ask several questions looking for pain and to solely sell a meeting with us. 
 
We also wanted someone with some sort of natural network that can focus on developing a couple of workshops geared to those people.  This person will also assist in drip mail and email campaigns, not in a blanket format, but more person specific.
 
I would be willing to bet that you would know if it's worth it or not after 6 months or so. 
Jan 20, 2009 9:40 pm

Legally are they allowed to make calls? That has been my biggest hang up.

 
The second problem is pay of course, if you pay them a minimum wage(what kind of person would you get) and then a bonus(I run a fee based practice, so I would be paying almost in advance of what I would get eventually..)
 
Too much headache, and not enough profitability.. Decided to just do it myself...
Jan 20, 2009 10:08 pm
Squash1:

Legally are they allowed to make calls? That has been my biggest hang up.

 
The second problem is pay of course, if you pay them a minimum wage(what kind of person would you get) and then a bonus(I run a fee based practice, so I would be paying almost in advance of what I would get eventually..)
 
Too much headache, and not enough profitability.. Decided to just do it myself...
 
Yes, legally they can call.  They just aren't supposed to talk about product.
 
We interviewed multiple people that were just laid off due to the economy and several that were very quality people.  We had a tough time deciding between two of them and wanted both, but can't make it cash flow right now.
 
I'm sure you could figure out a fair way of compensating them while having it make sense for you despite your fee based business model.
 
I will be calling between 100-200 numbers per day, and she can call 200-300 numbers per day and gather information and weed out bad numbers, fax machines, etc...
 
We'll see how it goes, I'm excited for one.
Jan 21, 2009 9:50 am

snaggletooth:

 Please come back and let us know if or how well it worked for you.
Jack Black
Jan 21, 2009 7:04 pm

Snaggletooth - This is more or less what I had in mind. I don't see it as a silver bullet, but in this environment I have to think there are quite a few folks who would like a second opinion. Having a cold caller shake the tree with a general call so that I can follow up appropriately seems to make sense.

 
Let us know how you make out.
Jan 21, 2009 9:44 pm
Wouldn't do it.
 
You bring someone on, train them, they make the calls. Turnover will be high...and there's no path for them. I don't get it.
 You don't get to make the initial connection, go to a meeting based on information filtered to you by someone else who has minimum wage mentality calling about something they don't understand? 
 
You are willing to trust your practice...your business...your future to that?
 
I don't understand and wouldn't do it. They won't have your insight, won't be able to ask the probing questions deeply enough and won't be able to develop rapport for you. I'd keep the money, save the time and make the calls myself. With a good list, you can make the calls and won't be weeding out a lot of fax numbers or do not calls. You won't be dealing with someone else's hangups, needs, illnesses, poor handwriting, inability to speak well etc. You'll be facing yourself directly. Big incentive, that.  
 
I've also seen the road paved with interns. Interns have to be recruited, interviewed, vetter, trained and then, can make calls for 3 months. They don't care, don't probe, don't understand the industry, can't answer simple questions,  can't close appointments, spend lots of time and money mailing stuff out, ask you a lot of questions about the market, their own pet theories and basically create rabbit holes for you. You don't get you any new business. Then, you are out recruiting interns again. 
 
Face yourself directly. Build it yourself.
 
....or you could hire someone like me. Licensed, hard working, clearing 90k, building a book one account at a time, willing and able to make calls, doing it every day. 
 
On second thought - hire a cold caller!  Then your cold caller is out there against ME.    Your poor cold caller. I'll eat her alive one call at a time. 
 
 
Jan 22, 2009 12:01 am

Bump... Hate that Mutual fund store topic

Jan 22, 2009 12:28 am
Takingnames:
Wouldn't do it.
 
You bring someone on, train them, they make the calls. Turnover will be high...and there's no path for them. I don't get it.
 You don't get to make the initial connection, go to a meeting based on information filtered to you by someone else who has minimum wage mentality calling about something they don't understand? 
 
You are willing to trust your practice...your business...your future to that?
 
I don't understand and wouldn't do it. They won't have your insight, won't be able to ask the probing questions deeply enough and won't be able to develop rapport for you. I'd keep the money, save the time and make the calls myself. With a good list, you can make the calls and won't be weeding out a lot of fax numbers or do not calls. You won't be dealing with someone else's hangups, needs, illnesses, poor handwriting, inability to speak well etc. You'll be facing yourself directly. Big incentive, that.  
 
I've also seen the road paved with interns. Interns have to be recruited, interviewed, vetter, trained and then, can make calls for 3 months. They don't care, don't probe, don't understand the industry, can't answer simple questions,  can't close appointments, spend lots of time and money mailing stuff out, ask you a lot of questions about the market, their own pet theories and basically create rabbit holes for you. You don't get you any new business. Then, you are out recruiting interns again. 
 
Face yourself directly. Build it yourself.
 
....or you could hire someone like me. Licensed, hard working, clearing 90k, building a book one account at a time, willing and able to make calls, doing it every day. 
 
On second thought - hire a cold caller!  Then your cold caller is out there against ME.    Your poor cold caller. I'll eat her alive one call at a time. 
 
 
 
Dude, nobody is expecting any cold caller to be any better than us advisors.  All they have to do is build a list of people they contact, set appointments if possible, and get RSVP's to seminars when that is up and running.  If they can bring in $250k in assets per month after 3 or 4 months of cold calling, it will be well worth it.
 
 
Jan 22, 2009 1:22 pm

We used callers to fill seminar seats and it works quite well. We hired a temp agency to supply three callers a night for 3 night s a week for the 3 weeks before the seminar. At first the process was to send out 1000 mailer seminar invites and then start calling the next week. Then by accident we discovered that we could skip the mailing. One of my assistants at the time had dropped the ball and not done the mailing. So we rolled with it and noted that there was no difference in attendance. Sweet!

 
Using a temp agency kept the logistics simple-"Just send us three people who know they will be telemarketing"- if they didn't work out as well as we liked "send us someone new"- hiring was their problem not ours.
Full disclosure: We stopped doing seminars a few years ago for no particular reason- they worked just fine-we're just lazy. But to start it up again find a good restaurant that the locals would like to go to, and start calling within a five mile radius of that restaurant. If you live in a large metro area pick two restaurants-one east of the city and one west or go north and south- hold alternating seminars in each location. This also gives more time between cold calling the same neighborhoods. Mail an invitation first if that makes you more comfortable,and a confirmation to a yes resonder. Call all positve responders the one or two nites before the seminar for menu confirmation.
 
It works- go for it.
Jan 22, 2009 1:28 pm
BondGuy:

We used callers to fill seminar seats and it works quite well. We hired a temp agency to supply three callers a night for 3 night s a week for the 3 weeks before the seminar. At first the process was to send out 1000 mailer seminar invites and then start calling the next week. Then by accident we discovered that we could skip the mailing. One of my assistants at the time had dropped the ball and not done the mailing. So we rolled with it and noted that there was no difference in attendance. Sweet!

 
 
 
 
Considering it was your plan to send out an invitation, that's a pretty big screw up at the time by your assistant.  Considering all of the tasks of an assistant, I can't imagine how they could forget a seminar mailing.
Jan 22, 2009 2:51 pm

Snags- yes it was a big oversight. But not the end of the world. At the time i had two assistants and they got their wires crossed. Not a big deal and in the end no harm done. Both were excellent assistants. One left after getting an ops mgr job with a competitor, a job she holds to this day. The other came with me through a move and quit about a year later to retire. My current assistant is also very good and makes my biz turn key.

Jan 22, 2009 3:00 pm

By the way I counter offered the assistant who got the ops mgr position. I offered her more money than she would make as an ops mgr. As it was she was the most highly compensated SA in a 40 broker office. She liked the offer but made a good point- She said "If you fall off your motorcycle or kill yourself hang gliding i'm screwed. I go back to being  a low paid sales assistant working for one of these cheap bastards here." I countered with a term LI policy. She countered that with her luck i wouldn't kill myself only totally disable myself. To which i countered that i would let her run me over to finish me off. She laughed and said for that alone she was tempted but thinking of her family she had to move on. And so it was.

Jan 22, 2009 3:28 pm
BondGuy:

By the way I counter offered the assistant who got the ops mgr position. I offered her more money than she would make as an ops mgr. As it was she was the most highly compensated SA in a 40 broker office. She liked the offer but made a good point- She said "If you fall off your motorcycle or kill yourself hang gliding i'm screwed. I go back to being  a low paid sales assistant working for one of these cheap bastards here." I countered with a term LI policy. She countered that with her luck i wouldn't kill myself only totally disable myself. To which i countered that i would let her run me over to finish me off. She laughed and said for that alone she was tempted but thinking of her family she had to move on. And so it was.

 
 
Well can I get some LI on you instead?  I promise I'll never personally hunt you down...
Jan 22, 2009 9:41 pm
BondGuy:

We used callers to fill seminar seats and it works quite well. We hired a temp agency to supply three callers a night for 3 night s a week for the 3 weeks before the seminar. At first the process was to send out 1000 mailer seminar invites and then start calling the next week. Then by accident we discovered that we could skip the mailing. One of my assistants at the time had dropped the ball and not done the mailing. So we rolled with it and noted that there was no difference in attendance. Sweet!

 
Using a temp agency kept the logistics simple-"Just send us three people who know they will be telemarketing"- if they didn't work out as well as we liked "send us someone new"- hiring was their problem not ours.
Full disclosure: We stopped doing seminars a few years ago for no particular reason- they worked just fine-we're just lazy. But to start it up again find a good restaurant that the locals would like to go to, and start calling within a five mile radius of that restaurant. If you live in a large metro area pick two restaurants-one east of the city and one west or go north and south- hold alternating seminars in each location. This also gives more time between cold calling the same neighborhoods. Mail an invitation first if that makes you more comfortable,and a confirmation to a yes resonder. Call all positve responders the one or two nites before the seminar for menu confirmation.
 
It works- go for it.
 
Bondguy you never disappoint. I love the idea and would seriously think of using it but I am afraid compliance would have an issue with it. Did you face any issues with our friends in compliance? I am sure if you paid for it out of pocket and kept a simple script inviting them to a dinner,etc that would be fine but I am still wondering.
Jan 22, 2009 10:25 pm

Easy.

Hire a college intern. Most are willing to work at a financial company for mininum wage to get it on their resume.

I did it for 2 years. I saw 15 interns come and go. I have friends who have interned everywhere.

I made $7 bucks an hour but I learned a great deal. I actually set up solid appointments and would make 200+ calls a day. Granted, I was the best intern of the bunch, and if they are not monitored they'll read magazines and fake dial, but if you can sucker them in like I was, they'll drink your cool-aid and do you well.

Other interns, including some pretty cute girls, got paid nothing. They'd cold call all day, file, do BS work and get paid 0.

College students are hungry. Trust me.

Jan 23, 2009 7:00 am

Yes compliance-  kill sales department- was a big pain in the ass. But, we kept it simple with using a dinner invite/confirmation script. I took the whole process to the BOM and he handled it with compliance.

 
Doing this was expensive-all up dinner included, average crowd 30 people- cost per seminar was north of $2000. Cost were split with wholesalers.
 
 The results were good. How good? I don't have the records but i know we opened some nice accounts including one million dollar annuity that paid for the whole program. Additionally, the BOM asked me to help a trainee who in doing the rounds with vets liked what he saw. I took the pup in and raised him into a big dog. Today- about ten years later- he's doing about $700k. Which in a way is massive under achievement considering the year he spent with me, his first in the biz, he did just north of $300k. Divorce and some other issues have affected his work.
Jan 23, 2009 8:39 am
Morphius:

Ah yes, the magic bullet approach to prospecting.  If they are going to be both effective and compliance approved, they will need to be licensed themselves.  If they are licensed, they are not likely to work for $10 an hour.  And if they are willing to work for McDonalds server rates, they probably aren't good enough to generate any worthwhile leads. 

If this strategy actually was effective, don't you think it would be used a bit more often?

 
I'm mainly responding because this is the first time that I can remember thinking differently about something since he usually writes what I'm thinking.   
 
 
If hiring someone is really avoidance behavior on your part, it will probably fail.  I also think that it has very little chance of working if you are trying to hire someone to do it 20-40 hours a week.  Maybe it's my own mindset, but it is such a miserable thing to do. 
 
I have had success with it in the past.  I took a member of my staff and had her cold call for one hour a day...maximum.   She had to call for 1 hour or until she set 2 appointments.   She got paid an extra $10 cash for every appointment that she set and the appointment kept.  It translated into about 5 extra appointments a week.  Was this worth $50?  Heck yes.  We quit doing it because it was working.
 
I think that in the next month or so, I am going to try something similar.  I have someone who wants to make a little extra cash.  They'll work from home.  I'm telling them that I only expect them to work about 1-2 hours a day.  If they are decent at it, they should make $20/hour.   I'll probably pay them $10 for every kept appointment and $2 for every person who gives us an e-mail address and permission to keep in touch.
 
Keep in mind that I do no pre-qualifying of prospects.  On cold calls, all that I'm looking for is a 5 minute introduction.   Because I can make good money on insurance, it's not important that my prospects have large amounts of assets.   That being said, if it's not a referral, I only call attorneys, CPAs, and business owners.