Selling phone lead gen: How to weed out junk calls?

20 replies
Hello.

For those who sell phone lead generation to clients, I'm looking for advice on how to weed out the junk calls (wrong number, telemarketers, etc) for 2 reasons: one, my client hates the amount of junk calls my service is directing to him, which looks bad on my part & two, it makes it difficult to bill for only legitimate leads.

I don't have a paying client yet. Still experimenting & ironing out the kinks. To experiment with this process, I'm doing a coupon mailing for a friend's business (with his permission of course) with a trackable phone number on it, using Twilio. I then track & keep records of each call made. My goal was to charge per lead. After 2 weeks of this however, my friend provided some feedback...
1) He says he receives an annoying amount of telemarketing calls
2) He's getting a lot of calls asking for someone named Deborah, presumably the previous owner of the phone number (I just purchased this phone number a few weeks ago).

My first thought was to block any calls made from area codes outside of his local business's area, but to his point, most people these days call via their cell phone & the cell phone's area code doesn't always match the local area codes of the region they live in, so blocking outside area codes would exclude a large number of potential local customers.

So, I'm just curious...when it comes to billing your client, how do you handle all of these junk calls? Do you just bill for each phone lead & leave it up to your client to let you know which are legitimate or is there an easier way?

Thanks
#calls #gen #junk #lead #phone #selling #weed
  • Profile picture of the author longrobnc
    I get a load of junk calls in my business. It's a part of hanging out your shingle. I don't like getting bombarded by marketers, but it's necessary to deal with the masses to mine out the people selling things that you actually need. I don't know a way around it.
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  • Profile picture of the author DABK
    Don't be on pages 2-6 in Google for any keyword + city / city + keyword... At least the SEO guys will stop calling... A lot of other marketers too.

    Originally Posted by Goalie35 View Post

    Hello.

    For those who sell phone lead generation to clients, I'm looking for advice on how to weed out the junk calls (wrong number, telemarketers, etc) for 2 reasons: one, my client hates the amount of junk calls my service is directing to him, which looks bad on my part & two, it makes it difficult to bill for only legitimate leads.

    I don't have a paying client yet. Still experimenting & ironing out the kinks. To experiment with this process, I'm doing a coupon mailing for a friend's business (with his permission of course) with a trackable phone number on it, using Twilio. I then track & keep records of each call made. My goal was to charge per lead. After 2 weeks of this however, my friend provided some feedback...
    1) He says he receives an annoying amount of telemarketing calls
    2) He's getting a lot of calls asking for someone named Deborah, presumably the previous owner of the phone number (I just purchased this phone number a few weeks ago).

    My first thought was to block any calls made from area codes outside of his local business's area, but to his point, most people these days call via their cell phone & the cell phone's area code doesn't always match the local area codes of the region they live in, so blocking outside area codes would exclude a large number of potential local customers.

    So, I'm just curious...when it comes to billing your client, how do you handle all of these junk calls? Do you just bill for each phone lead & leave it up to your client to let you know which are legitimate or is there an easier way?

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author CageyVet
    No matter what you do, you will never be able to weed out all of the crap calls, wrong numbers, telemarketers, etc, etc. There are a few things you can do to lessen the amount drastically.

    First of all, you should invest in something like Analytic Call Tracking, Hot Prospector, wp call tracker, twilio scripting, etc if you are going to continue with twilio numbers. Or you can go with something like Callrail, ring central, etc. These applications/services allow you to start global number blocking lists that can easily be added to on a number by number basis or in bulk. Also, most of these have call classification, so you or your client can log into classify the calls as leads, hangups, answering machine, spam, etc. Then set it up to only bill for the ones you want to bill and bypass the rest.

    Second is to know where you are putting your number and where it gets put without you knowing about it. If you did a coupon mailing, then you need to re-examine that mailing list. If it was from the client, where did they get it from. If you got it, find out more about it. If you just used a service, find out more about that....because it is very possible that your list is the exact reason why your number is being spammed so much.

    If you put your number online on a website you own, do it in the form of a image and not text. There is no reason that you need anyone scraping your website for your virtual phone number in the text. Only marketers do that and no reason for them to call it. If you are using methods that need to have text, try to make sure that the phone number text can be changed and is editable after the fact. So you can change numbers if you have to due to the number being compromised due to spam.

    This moves us into the fact that it best to have a few number setup and ready for each campaign. It puts you in the mindset that you are not locked into a number and if one is bad from the start or goes bad, you can drop it without losing everything for a while. There are times when you just buy a bad number from twilio, but you should always turn the number on for a few weeks before putting it into a live client campaign. So you can weed out any numbers that get a ton of spam already or belonged to someone from a previous business that is still listed places, etc. You will easily know when a number is bad if you are getting calls but have not put the number anywhere yourself....drop it and get a new one.

    IN terms of blocking numbers, you will quickly start seeing a pattern of numbers that belong to the bad callers and you can easily start blocking those patterns. Much better to block 80% of the spam and a few leads then to allow that 80% to piss off the client.

    A trick I have been using for a while is to set up an IVR system on my lead campaigns that is just a middle point but does the same thing. So the callers hears an IVR system with 2 options, press 1 to discuss a free quote and press 2 for all other inquiries. This easily drops many automated calling systems that are setup in a weak way, it forces the caller to press something so there has to be a human involved and most new leads will use the first option, while "most" returning customers(that called same number), telemarketers, etc etc use option 2. Then option 1 and 2 are sent to the same number with different whispers. Whisper 1 is "A New Quote Lead", whisper 2 "General Inquiry". Then the client knows when a new quote request is calling and when everything else is calling, plus easier to manage the call tracking, identification and billing if most is going through one option over the other with some simple reporting.

    As for billing. If you are having trouble with bad leads, low quality that the client complains about, etc...then the only thing to do is to listen to the first few seconds of each call. In those first few seconds you can tell if it is a marketer or someone calling about buying or information about a service the client provides. Once you start only providing good leads, then it is just auto billing what ever you consider a qualified lead, by minimum call length usually. Then it is up to the client to tell you the date of the Non Lead calls if there are any.
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  • Profile picture of the author maverick5ca
    I use ACT (Joe Troyer Analytic Call Tracking) They still come but I can block the number. So the same number will not call twice.
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  • Profile picture of the author JTV
    Once again love what CageyVet is bringing to the table here. Even though there are certainly ways that you can prevent many of the calls from coming through, you are never going to have a 100 percent flawless list. It just does not happen. Better off just trying to make the most of it and getting your list organized as best you can.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      I offer a different service, but it depends on calls to the client. I tell them up front that 50-70% of the calls will not be legitimate prospects; Telemarketers, random questions, robo-calls, wrong numbers.....

      And I make that the expectation.

      "Wouldn't you dig 4 pounds of dirt, for a pound of gold?"

      It solves the problem. I price accordingly.


      Originally Posted by CageyVet View Post

      then it is just auto billing what ever you consider a qualified lead, by minimum call length usually. Then it is up to the client to tell you the date of the Non Lead calls if there are any.
      That's probably the easiest and smartest method, if you record the calls.
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      • Profile picture of the author mrmatt
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I tell them up front that 50-70% of the calls will not be legitimate prospects; Telemarketers, random questions, robo-calls, wrong numbers.....
        Those are about the same numbers I am seeing too. And I tell them the exact same thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patchworks
    We are doing hundreds of calls a day and you have to get some form of blocking in place. We have our own customer call tracking/billing software and we block about 90% of the calls and it saves a TON of money on your Number Minutes.

    There is also a service out there called NoMoRobo.com which is free and you can be integrated as well...

    We used to have problems with our Lead Purchasers not wanting to answer the phone when only 1 in 10 calls were a good lead, but now days just about every time our customers pick up the phone it is a good call and the few Telemarketers that go get thru are blocked IMMEDIATELY!!!

    It was a "Game Changer" for us.
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    • Profile picture of the author mrmatt
      Does anyone know if Twilio can be used with Nomorobo?

      I am using Analytical Call Tracking which uses the Twilio API and numbers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patchworks
    Matt,

    I was working on this today and I can't seem to find a way to use Twilio Numbers. It is very weird that Nomorobo uses Twilio as it's backend telephony but it doesn't support Twilio numbers. Unfortunately Nomorobo seems like so many other products that has so much potential but falls short from follow thru with the developer. I'm sure I'll find a way to hack it and make it work, but let me know if you find any better results.

    And just to make a few points that were mentioned on this ticket.

    1. There are so many better products with better support than Joe Troyers ACT product. Those guys just want the extra income and don't really care about your service. They claim to have the good support but they actually only made about 25 tiny code changes in a 2 year period. At best they are for Noobies. It was so profitable they came out with their monthly service to get even more money out of noobies.

    2. We find that the AUTO BILLING method that CageyVet mentioned actually misses a lot of billable calls.

    What we find is many calls can take place in the time-span less than 60 or 90 seconds that are billable. I believe Winter's system auto bills based on time and he tends to use 2 or 3 minute (120 - 180 seconds), which is WAAAY to long in our experience.

    What we find is some contractors will catch on and simply tell the caller to call them back on another number and the total call is only 20 seconds long.

    or;

    A perfectly good Billable call just takes place in less time because an operator simply took a message to get a call back. Call Duration really varies alot depending on the niche as well. And we find different salepeople have varying duration of calls; so there are to many factors to simply bill based on call duration.

    We programmed our system so we can do a quick manual review of all calls which only requires you to listen to the first few seconds of the call to determine if it is billable or not. Do this we find it produces quite a bit more billable calls. I would have to say 30% more off the top of my head.

    Once the calls are reviewed, they are then sent automatically to billing cron job that sends invoices, process credit cards and CHA-CHING!!

    The extra few seconds reviewing calls will pay off!
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    • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
      Thanks for the info on NoMoRobo


      does that work with lines that are in callrail - would you put the no mo on the actual phone line that the callrail numbers direct to? Thanks for help on this
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      • Profile picture of the author mrmatt
        Patchworks if you find out a way to make it work with Twilio please let me know or share with the group.

        I contacted twilio directly and it was as if I was speaking martian.

        Anyway, no, I have not found a solution for twilio. I wish there was.

        Also paid the one off price for ACT. I am happy with it and the service it does what I need it to do.
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        • Profile picture of the author Patchworks
          Originally Posted by mrmatt View Post

          Patchworks if you find out a way to make it work with Twilio please let me know or share with the group.

          I contacted twilio directly and it was as if I was speaking martian.

          Anyway, no, I have not found a solution for twilio. I wish there was.

          Also paid the one off price for ACT. I am happy with it and the service it does what I need it to do.
          Matt, traditionally Twilio support is as worthless as tits on a bull. If you ask for an engineer to call you back you can sometimes get progresss...

          I did like part of the suggestion that xlfutur1 made. I don' t like putting the burden on the caller because every step you add only reduces you conversions, but we already use IRV and xlfutur1's recommendation made me come up with another solution and that is any calls that fail to enter IVR forward to the operator instead of live transfer to our customer.

          Callers that don't press an IVR option are most likely RoboCallers or Callers who for 1 reason or another didn't press the IVR.

          ACT if very basic, you are going to have to grow past it to get more options and data.

          Also, I have a support ticket into NomoRobo but they respond about once a week. Will try to keep you posted.

          Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

          Try the attached report to help you. I have a guy on my list who bagged a client his first week, just last week I believe... and has 4 more waiting in the wings. Getting clients is easy... As far as pitching, and writing quality leads: this report (FREE- No Optin- No self promotion-No Upsells), will help you tremendously.
          John, great report.. I downloaded and will review more later.


          Originally Posted by xlfutur1 View Post

          If you are using Twilio, its easy to block automated telemarketers and robocalls.

          Set up short recording and use the <Gather> verb that requires the caller to press "1" or any key to connect the call. I do this with my home phone (I ported my home phone number to Twilio and use an Obi 100 with Google voice so that outgoing calls are free) and automated calls from telemarketers have been completely eliminated.
          xlfuture1, Great suggestion. Although I prefer a bit different approach as I mentioned above, but it was your suggestion that spur on the new feature.

          We really only have a few places that get hammered to hell with telemarketers. We have also written an interface to check the calls with services like Mr. Number.


          Originally Posted by shockwave View Post

          I use CallFire, and I record every call. I also get an email/sms msg when a new call comes through, so I can just login to the dashboard, listen to the call. If it's some marketer, I put that number on callblock - and of course, I don't charge the client for the call.
          This method works, but I am living proof that you will eventually lose customer with this method. We had one customer getting 17 NEW JUNK CALLERS a day even though we were blocking after the fact. We currently have a customer who we answer their calls because they had so many telemarketers.
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    • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
      Originally Posted by Patchworks View Post

      Once the calls are reviewed, they are then sent automatically to billing cron job that sends invoices, process credit cards and CHA-CHING!!

      The extra few seconds reviewing calls will pay off!
      What do you find works best for a billing cycle? Do you use monthly, weekly...something else?
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      • Profile picture of the author shockwave
        I use CallFire, and I record every call. I also get an email/sms msg when a new call comes through, so I can just login to the dashboard, listen to the call. If it's some marketer, I put that number on callblock - and of course, I don't charge the client for the call.
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      • Profile picture of the author Patchworks
        Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

        What do you find works best for a billing cycle? Do you use monthly, weekly...something else?
        Sorry I missed you questions! We find it depends on the niche a little bit but I like to bill often. We get our customer setup on Credit Card for auto billing. If not lead purchasers are worse the Kindergarten kids with the "Dog Ate my homework" excuses why they don't need to pay for a call.

        We now rotate to several contractors so when one get cutoff, you aren't losing income! We bill every few days right now but we are soon going to turn on our CronJob billing that will bill each day or so... Probably Mon, Wed, Fri!
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  • Profile picture of the author Sandy Berth
    why not have a VA screen calls for you and transfer accordingly. If you set up a VICIDIAL then you can transfer and record the call, that way proving the call was legit and billable, thus being able to charge more for the leads you create. FYI sending coupons may not be the best way to generate leads, direct mail only yields 1/2 % response rates. Very expensive when you are just selling leads.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Try the attached report to help you. I have a guy on my list who bagged a client his first week, just last week I believe... and has 4 more waiting in the wings. Getting clients is easy... As far as pitching, and writing quality leads: this report (FREE- No Optin- No self promotion-No Upsells), will help you tremendously.

    You should always guarantee up to 10% "re-writes", in case any lead goes out that's unqualified. Figure that into your equation. That guarantee will also help you close deals and get paid upfront. Additionally, when you use that guarantee in your sales pitch, it let's the client know ahead of time that there may be a UQ here and there, so they won't go ballistic, and they know you have it covered. (Expectations Management).

    However, using the information here, "UQ's" should be rare henceforth.

    Again, the report is attached to post, and it doesn't lead into any kind of sale or anything like that... I say that in case someone wants to flag it as self promotional and hinder me from helping you here...

    You want to succeed at this? Read it!

    I have seen more than a few people succeed at starting a phone lead gen biz after reading this information and applying it.

    It's been awhile since I've revisited it, but I don't think there is anything you need to know that it doesn't cover. Others have succeeded with it, and I haven't heard any complaints. The only way to fail is to not implement it.

    Enjoy.


    .
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  • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
    If you are using Twilio, its easy to block automated telemarketers and robocalls.

    Set up short recording and use the <Gather> verb that requires the caller to press "1" or any key to connect the call. I do this with my home phone (I ported my home phone number to Twilio and use an Obi 100 with Google voice so that outgoing calls are free) and automated calls from telemarketers have been completely eliminated.

    Telemarketers call many numbers at once and take any call that has been answered. When you require a key press by the caller, the call simply won't connect and eventually will disconnect after many rings on the callers side.
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  • Profile picture of the author deu12000
    For the one's that say they are using ACT, you can blacklist telemarketers right from the admin panel. Just go to Admin > Manage Companies > Blacklists. It's right at the top before the Company Names. I add the same blacklist for every customer and add to it as I find more spam calls. It stops a lot of the bad calls.
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