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Burning Sugging Screamers

There’s precious little retail boiler room telesales do that is recommended for us solution door openers.

UK investigative tv show Dispatches placed a pair of reporters undercover inside two such operations this year.

One was outright cold calling. The other, pretty much the same but trying to creep under the permissible ‘survey’ banner (Lifestyle surveys are one of the most complained about nuisance call). Both were interested in personal finance opportunities.

After initial training, their results were instructive.

Five days pitching produced 1,000 calls. These yielded 9 requests for further info. Just shy of one percent. Below even the response of blind mailings. Yet then there’s the actual achievement of one actual customer.

For the ‘surveyer’, 500 calls over three days led to 40 people agreeing to answer 15 questions.

I suspect that what on the telly were labelled calls, the industry know as dials. Still, 200 and 166 a day is some going.

As respondent volumes go, the 2 ‘leads’ in a day strikes me as low. I used to aim for at least 4 back in the day. Whereas the 13 conversations is closer to the 15 mark I had down as my minimum. Not discounting the winning of a client, would you expect one ‘close’ each week in whichever form it manifests itself for your figures? These yardsticks undoubtedly alter according to audience and antipathy.

Nevertheless, useful benchmarks for your phone prospecting.

Then there’s their ‘scripts’. Headsethound one;

“Good afternoon. I’m calling from the specialist team at [name] how are you?  Great. I wondered if you had [list] perhaps?”

There’s so much wrong with this. Everything, in fact.

If an opener this bad gets one percent, then I know you can gain more.


As an extended footnote, there are some intriguing insights into such environments worthy of noting. Let’s start with ardent teleselling argot.

Data burning; don’t say people are not interested for everything when they were only be called for that one time thing, else you’d be dismissing potential success elsewhere.

Sugging; making illegal telesales with calls masquerading as legal survey calls. “Selling under the guise of research”. It breaches UK law. It is an offence.

Screamers; recipients not expecting your call, and get angry about it (especially in terms of compliance).

A few further observations. Starting with there being a worrying amount of sporting memorabilia around the office. Never a good sign I feel.

Next, a potential supplier of mass cold-calls (with the rather bewildering strapline, immediate accurate intelligent) delivered a blunt home truth. “Any data company that tells you people are sitting at home waiting for your call is lying”.

Finally, two staggering stats on outbound calling. There are automated call systems that currently make 5 million dials in a day. All part of the annual 8 billion around the UK.

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Category: grapevine

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