How to hire your own telemarketerArticle added by John Petrowski on November 11, 2011

John Petrowski

Piney Orchard, MD

Joined: January 18, 2011

About four years ago, I was looking for a way to generate a steady stream of low-cost leads. I decided to hire my own at-home telemarketer.

Many agents have expressed frustration with buying leads or have found it difficult to generate their own leads by driving traffic to their website. About four years ago, I was looking for a way to generate a steady stream of low-cost leads, but the main issue was I work from home. I could not hire and supervise telemarketers.

I had purchased telemarketed leads before, at a relatively high cost of $25 per lead. The leads were decent quality but it was a poor return on investment since I was closing around 1 in 10. That's $250 to gain a client. When I tried shopping for lower cost telemarketed leads, well ... let's just say I got what I paid for.

To really get your interest, I paid my telemarketers $10 per hour and they generated an average of two leads per hour, so I was working exclusive telemarketed leads for $5 a piece. Interested? Continue reading.

I decided to hire my own at-home telemarketer and it took me about six months to really get the system down. Before I break it down step-by-step, I'll tell you why hiring your own telemarketer works now where it was difficult before. In the past, if you hired someone to work from their home, a lot of trust was involved. You had to trust them regarding the hours worked and how many calls they made. However, due to dialing technology, you now have full reporting capability.

You'll know when they logged on to the system, how many hours they worked, how many dials were made and how many people answered. Because of this level of reporting and control, you can't get burned by someone trying to beat the system.

The first thing you'll need is an auto-dialer (power dialer). You do not want a predictive dialer. A predictive dialer continues to dial numbers even when you're speaking with a prospect. If someone else answers, they're held in queue with an "a representative will be with you shortly" message. An auto-dialer stops calling when a prospect picks up and continues to dial when you hang up. Most systems are capable of dialing multiple numbers at the same time, which means your telemarketer is spending more of their time generating leads and less time waiting for people to answer.

Next, you need to create a script. The script should be designed for lead generation, not qualification. It is difficult to train a telemarketer to qualify prospects and the more barriers you put up, the harder the job is, the more likely they are to quit. I would much rather qualify my own leads anyway, especially on a system where I'm paying them hourly and not per lead.

Now you can buy a list. The list will obviously be determined by your line of insurance. If you're calling businesses, you do not need a scrubbed (do-no-call) list, but if you're calling residential, you really need to make sure you're buying a list that's been scrubbed. Your list gets imported into the dialer, which the dialer vendor should be able to walk you through.
Make sure you run a test. I'd suggest making a few hours of calls yourself. You need to run some numbers before you hire someone. How many people answered? How many numbers are you dialing per hour to maximize the number of people answering? How is your script working? You may need to make some adjustments before hiring someone and possibly becoming upset with the results.

Now you can place an ad. I placed mine on Craigslist in the marketing/PR section, and you'll probably need to place your ad in multiple cities so you receive as many resumes as possible. What do you put in the ad? The title should be something to the tune of "home based telemarketer" and the body should lay our the qualifications. You're looking for someone with current or recent cold-calling experience, unlimited long distance, a good speaking voice and the ability to work X numbers of hours per week during the hours you dictate.

I would heavily recommend hiring people with legitimate cold calling experience. You'll likely get a lot of responses from people who used to work customer service, but only handled in-bound calls. It takes a very special person to handle cold calling, and you really want to avoid wasting a lot of time training someone only to hear after their first day, "This isn't for me."

Hire the person you feel will be best for the job, but do not tell the runner ups that the position has been filled. It's possible you may have to go through a few people to find the one who works out best.

Now we come to how to arrange compensation, and this is the area I played with for many months. Your first gut instinct is to only pay per lead. This method didn't work out for me since they were under too much pressure to generate leads and I got far too much junk. I also came to find that "the best" telemarkers who answered my ad would not take the position on 100 percent commission.

Also avoid paying them based on your commission. First of all, in most states you cannot share you commission with anyone who doesn't hold an insurance license. Secondly, the last position you want to be in is having to report your weekly production numbers. You turn into their employee as they start to ask, "So, how many deals did you close this week?" Also, from lead to application to underwriting to approval to receiving your commission could be a long curve.

The best way of
paying them is a flat hourly rate. Somewhere between $10 to $12 per hour is more than fair for a home-based position and will attract talent. You can pay less and I've tried it. You get what you pay for. If you want to offer them some kind of bonus over their base hourly rate, that's fine.

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