We do a lot of work in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector. And while all our clients are important to us, I must admit that helping others ‘do good’ gives us a big case of the warm fuzzies.

There are countless businesses and organisations doing wonderful work in New Zealand, so trying to catch the attention of the people who can help make the difference to their critical and ongoing fundraising efforts is critical.

That’s where we come in. You see, we know that a friendly chat goes a long way towards reminding people that their help is genuinely needed and appreciated.

In the Pink

We recently had a chance to help New Zealand’s Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. Like most NFPs, they need to be sure every marketing initiative is targeted and cost effective.

Nicky Sinclair-Perkins, the Foundation’s Campaigns Manager, called us as they were looking for a way to get new businesses to support their work – in particular their Pink for a Day campaign.

With a limited budget she said it was super important to know that the Foundation’s brand was in safe hands.

Her confidence in us was well placed. We’re passionate about everything we do but this one really struck a chord, as almost everyone in our team knew someone affected by breast cancer. Shockingly, one in nine Kiwi women are diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Here are some far more positive figures. We made 2030 calls and signed up 158 new businesses that wanted to be involved in the Foundation’s work.

We also followed up all those calls with a personalised email, so they really felt they were getting involved and were part of the team. That made a huge difference.

Great results

In the end, one in every four organisations that registered for Pink for a Day came from the people we called.

That meant the Foundation was able to speak to thousands more people about breast cancer awareness. Better still that helped raise over $150,000 for breast cancer education, research and support.

Not only that, but we were also able to give Nicky and her team a list of new businesses that were keen to be involved in the future.

“The results were great,” says Nicky. “It was a successful campaign and we are very happy with the outcome.”

If you’d like to read more about the Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation NZ campaign, then check out the case study.

Having a great pipeline of properties is the lifeblood of any successful real estate business. Of any business, really.

I repeatedly hear of property agents taking a passive approach to building their sales pipelines and wondering why they aren’t doing as well as others. They try everything (including passive tactics like social media, Google AdWords campaigns and paying search engine optimisation specialists) exceptpicking up the phone and putting in the hard yards.

The real estate industry is highly competitive and it’s all about building one-to-one relationships. And like it or not, that requires human contact. Lots of it.

The smart sales team

Steve and Miriam Davis, aka the formidable Team Davis from Harcourts Real Estate, tried all the passive sales methods (see above) on top of their normal strategies, but weren’t getting an ROI on their time, effort or investment.

They knew that their success was based on building strong pipelines using Miriam’s personal touch. Now, she’s a real go-getter when it comes to finding new listings, but the time making calls took her away from doing what she loved – helping people buy and sell properties. While other agents were calling it a day and putting their feet up with a G&T, she was typically back on the phone driving that pipeline.

Great attitude and great for business, but not quite so positive in terms of work/life balance! Team Davis really needed to clone Miriam and her formidable lead generation skills!

Hot Leads to the rescue

Steve checked out our website and was impressed by what our clients had to say about us. And when he discovered we had real estate experience – he was sold.

“Their consultant proved to be extremely good,” said Steve. “She knew the right questions to ask and the right information to gather. She added valuable information to our database and encouraged 50 additional people on our list to sign up for our marketing emails. We’d been struggling to grow our email reach, so what she achieved was superb.”

We ran two 40-hour Team Davis campaigns, generated 27 qualified appointments, and identified a significant number of ‘warm’ leads for Team Davis to nurture. And as Steve said, we grew their marketing list.

Top tips for building pipelines

  • Just do it. It’s an active, one-to-one process. Yes, the passive lead generation tactics all help, but nothing is better than personal contact!
  • Think smart. Pre-empt a telemarketing campaign with a marketing promo (think letterbox drops with a special deal) to significantly raise response rates.
  • Don’t sit on your laurels and admire your pipeline. What’s next? What leads (no matter how distant in the future) should you be keeping ‘warm’ with emails and calls?
  • Get a life. Let us do the prospecting and nurturing calls for you, so you can do what you do well. Sell!
  • Last, check out the full Team Davis case study here.

Let’s face it, as a business owner you probably don’t place as much value on your data as you think. Just take a look at your accounting system, vs. your sales system, vs. your marketing system.

Yep, your sales team want to make sales. But they aren’t worried about updating the bill payer.

Your accountant just wants the books to balance, they don’t care who the decision maker is.

Your marketing team are focused on correct email addresses and the number of times some transient or external telemarketer has used extra.co.nz instead of Xtra. Fixing those sorts of mistakes can be time consuming and annoying.

As for you, the business owner, you just want growth and a return on investment from your inbound and outbound sales teams or your external marketing partnerships. And of course, you want your client’s billing details to be accurate, so the bills get paid on time.

So, what’s the problem if a few contact names are wrong? Why should an incorrectly populated address field worry you? If telephone numbers are in multiple different formats, who cares? if email addresses are missing a letter, a full stop, or the correct service provider address – is that such a big deal?

The short answer is ‘yes’.

Here’s why you should care about the accuracy of your data (the long answer)

If a phone number is missing a digit when you need to chase a debtor, your accountant has to check online, or elsewhere, for the correct number. Sure, only a 60 second job. That’s unless the same record has a missing letter in the company name, or part of that name is incorrectly spelled, or maybe the branch address is listed instead of the head office. Okay so now it’s a couple of minutes to sort out. All good. But then again at the rates accountants charge, aren’t you paying over the odds for data cleansing when they do it five times a day?

Or perhaps you think it’s sustainable at that level. But if you looked at every minute your accountant, sales team, marketing team etc. spends each day researching the right contact name, number, job role, phone number, mobile number, DDI, email address, street address, postal address and multiply that by their hourly rate over 12 months – we’re not talking peanuts (as we’re sure you don’t employ monkeys).

And it’s stealing productive time that should be going towards growing your business and making it more profitable.

Another reason why you should love your data

As a professional lead generation business, we utilise a sophisticated, intuitive cloud-based system to run your lead generation campaigns. This maximises the opportunity to generate qualified leads for your business.

We use a streamlined, cost-effective and efficient call making and recording process. We can’t do that off a spreadsheet which has been printed out or has to be kept open on their screens. That’s just downright nasty and cumbersome (and old-fashioned).

Why does this matter? We aim to deliver accuracy, clarity, and brevity in all our reporting, and minimise the time spent in project management and set up. We can’t do this if we are diverting time to repairing unloved and neglected data.

The dirty data list of shame

Lead generation is our business, so we see a lot of data. And sadly, we spend a disproportionate amount of our time correcting that data before we can get on with contacting with your prospects.

Here are some of the issues we most frequently encounter:

  • Incorrectly or inconsistently formatted phone numbers – e.g. – 091234567, 6491234567, +64091234567, +6491234567 and more.
  • Mobile numbers added to the Main Phone field, or vice versa.
  • Multiple phone numbers added in one field.
  • Email addresses in the incorrect field.
  • Incorrectly spelled first and/or last names resulting in incorrectly addressed emails.
  • Inconsistent naming conventions for company names – e.g. ABC Company LTD, A.B.C Company LTD, ABC Limited, and other variations. This often results in duplicate records or multiple calls being placed to the same company unnecessarily – and annoyed prospects.
  • Various business address details, especially in data systems running NZ formats versus US formats. Most CRM, ERP and SAP systems use the US format for addresses.

Who you gonna call?

So, what’s the fastest way to verify address details and update the correct contacts? Picking up the phone is always the quickest option – but your team don’t have time for that, it is Christmas rush after all!

That’s where our Dirty Data Hit Squad comes in. Let us start the big clean up now, so you and your team can start the New Year with clean, green data.


  • Your sales team will have the latest decision maker details for renewing contracts or upselling.
  • Your accountant will have a clear contact to deal with, potentially minimising slow payers.
  • Your marketing team will get minimal to no email bounces.
  • And as the business owner, you’ll have clean, current data so you can hit 2019 hard!

Give me a call. Send me an email. Let’s talk.


However, that’s exactly the problem one of our clients recently had after engaging us to generate leads for their sales team. Keen to increase membership numbers, but lacking the internal resources to run a telemarketing campaign, Master Plumbers asked us to work through their contact list to identify hot prospects.

So, we did. Except we did the job a bit too well – if there can be such an outcome!

Overachieved and over-committed!

It was a hugely successful campaign. Of the 1033 calls we made, we talked to 400 decision makers and made 125 prequalified sales appointments. The only issue was that we generated so many meetings that the (very happy) Master Plumbers sales team had to reschedule some of them just to keep up with demand!

That’s what happens when you have a good list, the right message and offer, and a professional approach. Having too many sales appointments is a greatproblem to have, but we all know that following through in a timely fashion is critical to the end success of any campaign.

The uptake test

If you’re unsure about what volume of leads to expect or feeling under-prepared for a heavy uptake of the offer you’re asking us to promote, then we recommend you consider either a trial run or a staggered approach to your campaign.

Undertaking a trial campaign to a sample of your contact list will give you a good indication of how many prospects we can generate for you – and how much activity you need to allow for at your end to follow through. And it also gives you the opportunity to tweak (a technical term) your offer and potentially improve overall results.

Alternatively, a staggered or drip-feed approach divides the campaign into manageable stages. This strategy gives your sales team time to draw breath, regroup and refocus before we drop more leads in your lap. It also ensures that you don’t drop the ball, or have to perform triage on the prospect list and potentially miss opportunities that just need a little nudge to turn from warm to hot.

Tap into great results

We loved working with Master Plumbers and were delighted to be behind boosting their membership numbers, even if we stretched the capacity of their sales team. Sorry – not sorry!

“It would be fair to say that we were very surprised by the level of engagement,” said Margaret Dawson, Operations Manager for Master Plumbers, “and probably a bit under-prepared for it!”

If you’d like to read more about the Master Plumbers campaign, then check out the case study.

We’ve all been there. You generate lots of hype about your event, and everything for the big day has been well organised. But all you end up with is a big space with lots of empty chairs, and piles of uncollected registrant name tags.

It’s not a good look for attendees, and it certainly doesn’t feel good as the event organiser. So, how did you get there?

What you did right

  1.     Right event:You had a good reason to hold an event and a compelling story to attract the attention of your target market. It may have been a new product release, a seminar, a webinar, a value-added networking event, a conference or a business celebration.
  2.     A good list:You had a list of people to invite. You made sure that they were the right people to contact and you had all their current details.
  3.     Meticulous organisation: You completed a run-sheet with all the event tasks, from the venue, catering, speakers, giveaways, agenda, flights and accommodation for out of town speakers, email and/or mailed invites, promotion on social media, a landing page on your website to accept attendee registration, automated reminders,etc. And then you organised it from beginning to end.

So, job done? Well, not quite.

Where it started to go wrong

Using your excellent organisational skills to make sure the event is run seamlessly and professionally, is only half the challenge. The other half is all about getting enough bums on seats to realise a return on investment.

Let’s talk numbers – important ones.

You’d like to have 100 well-qualified attendees turn up on the day. If you expect one person in 10 to accept, your database needs to hold 1,000 targeted contacts. And unless it’s an incredibly compelling event that will attract out-of-towners, they need to be all in the same geographical area to reduce the disinclination to do battle with traffic and travel costs.

Unless you’re Ed Sheeran, you should also anticipate that a staggering 25% of your registered attendees will be no-shows on the day. Even if they’ve paid for their tickets.

While event success can look like a straight numbers game, there are tricks of the trade to improve turnout rates.

So, how do you increase your odds of a good turnout?

We recently worked with The Taupō District Chamber of Commerce and Industry to generate attendees for their first ever large-scale motivational event featuring iconic and inspiring speakers.

The Chamber holds regular after-5 networking events which typically attracts 40-50 attendees. However, this new event was to be something special and pave the way for more.

As well as sending out email invitations, they decided to invest in telemarketing to drive registration numbers and to make follow-up calls the day before to reduce attendee attrition. This was their first ever foray into using telemarketing services.

And it worked a treat.

From a member list of 160 and another 128 non-member contacts we helped them generate an impressive 197 attendees on the day.

But it wasn’t a high-risk strategy for them, as they trusted our abilities and capabilities.

Our 3 secret weapons

  1.    One – Software: Unlike lots of other lead generation businesses who are wedded to spreadsheets, we use dedicated software which provides real-time reporting, so our clients can see how their event numbers are tracking. This gives them time to source more contact lists and step up activities if there aren’t enough registrations.
  2. Two – It’s what we do: While you’d like to think that your sales team or admin staff have the bandwidth and enthusiasm to contact every client and prospect on your invite list to generate committed attendances, it’s not often they have the time to do so on top of their normal work. But for us, it’s our business, and we do it well.
  3. Three – Our people shine. But don’t take our word for it. The Taupō District Chamber of Commerce and Industry got unsolicited feedback from their members on how much they enjoyed talking to ‘the nice lady on the phone’ and that they appreciated the reminder call the day before the event. “In a semi-rural area, it’s that polite, friendly and personal touch that impresses people. More so than an easy-to-ignore email. Thanks, Hot Leads!”

If you’d like to find out more about how we helped The Chamber have a successful and ‘event-full’ day you can read more here.

One of the most short-sighted things you can do in business is to rest on your laurels once you’ve completed a successful sales campaign. And it’s also a waste of the time, money and effort you’ve invested in getting that far. Rather than making a cold start each time you get worried about sales revenue, it’s easier to build on the momentum you’ve already achieved.

Doing it right

The Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand are an organisation who know how to do things the right way. As they’re a registered charity, and reliant on the kindness of corporate sponsors and empathetic individuals, they are careful to only invest in activities which help them meet their objectives. So, when they signed up in 2015 to become part of the global Steptember initiative they had a tight marketing budget, and an ambitious fundraising goal firmly in mind.

Building up the steps

Steptember challenges everyday people to walk 10,000 steps a day for 28 days over – you’ve guessed it – September of each year. The programme has already raised almost $9.5M worldwide through corporate sponsorship, with our wonderful Kiwi corporates contributing nearly a million dollars to that total.

To start with, the Society allocated us a small part of their Steptember marketing budget to provide telemarketing support for their other activities. This was the first time they’d ever used a lead gen company, so they were happy to start with a conservative approach.

And it worked. We made our 10% of their budget go a long way!

For every dollar the Society spent with us, we raised $10 of corporate sponsorship for their cause. In fact, telemarketing turned out to be the most successful tactic in the Society’s Steptember marketing kit.

As you can imagine, they were happy and impressed and could see the strategic value in enlisting our services on an ongoing basis.

Let’s do it all again!

By the end of last Steptember’s campaign (see what I did there?) our telemarketing efforts had raised almost $15 for each dollar the Society spent with us. That equals 53% of their total Steptember revenue for 2017.

While we’re always happy to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, we credit the success of Steptember in NZ to the Society’s ability to look beyond their year-by-year success. They accurately measured the results of their marketing activities and saw how they could continue the fundraising momentum gained through previous telemarketing efforts. And they built on it.

As I said, they’re smart – you can Steptember


“It’s easier to grow your business by building on existing success. And if you’re not successful to start with, then find better a better toolkit.”

And you can quote me on that.


PS: If you’d like to give the Cerebral Palsy Society of NZ a helping hand then step right up! You can make a donation here, or preregister your interest for Steptember


Last week you met John. He reckons telemarketing doesn’t work. But if that’s the case, why do so many other business owners, sales and marketing managers, and entrepreneurs swear by it as a highly successful lead gen activity?

Meet Jane.

She runs her own successful business and sees telemarketing as a smart strategy for growing her client base. She already outsources several of the key business processes, like the day-to-day accounting and digital marketing activities. She says that for her, these tasks are more cost-effective and efficient when given to professionals.

Jane’s keen to gain more clients. She’s going to do a lead gen campaign which combines social media and telemarketing to introduce prospects to her services and products.

As we did with John, let’s think of Jane’s telemarketing campaign in terms of a running a race. An event which generally requires training, strategy, and commitment.

On your mark, Jane

First off, Jane needs a list. She already has a great, up-to-date client list in her CRM (because she recognises the value of keeping her data valid and current), but it’s new clients she’s after.

Jane has a plan. She’s going to:

a. Establish who she wants to attract as new clients. Jane’s had considerable success converting the owners of medium-sized businesses into clients, and she understands their needs and the tangible benefits she can offer them. So, she’s going to look for prospects in similar industries, and around the same size. As she likes to visit her clients regularly and in person, she’s going to stick to her immediate geographic region to minimise the cost of travel. She’s also going to target the same prospect list through a LinkedIn campaign to help boost response rates. Great start, Jane!

b. Work with a professional list procurement company to buy (or rent) a fully detailed database rather than potentially waste hundreds of hours building her own list. After all, that’s time she could profitably spend elsewhere in the business.

Get set, Jane 

Then, she’ll put together a team of people to represent her business and her valuable brand to the world. Jane’s already worked out how she’s going to do that. She runs a lean internal team, and needs them to keep their eyes on the business-at-hand, so she’s going to outsource.

She’s going to:

a. Do some research. Ask around, look for verifiable references and quantified proof of performance from small, medium and large customers.

b. Meet with several lead generation companies. Ask some hard questions about set up fees, where the team is based, their local business knowledge and skill base, how long the campaign should take, and how it can be improved. She’s looking for value, advice and performance.

c. Choose a partner who reflects her own approach to doing business. Someone who takes pride in their business, and invests time in understanding her business. A partner who has people who don’t parrot a script, but instead deliver well-qualified (and therefore high-value) opportunities through intelligent and engaging conversations. And someone she can trust with her most important asset – her brand.

d. Establish and agree on clear campaign objectives and outcomes, and insist on regular reporting and account management. She’s also make sure they will work closely with her external digital marketing consultant to align their efforts.

And go, Jane, go!

Once Jane’s got her list, and her team sorted, there’s the campaign strategy. For this campaign, she’s already decided that she wants more clients who are ‘like’ her top 20% existing clients.

So, what to offer them?

a. More of the same! Although there are plenty of options, Jane already knows what her most appealing products/services are for the group she’s targeting. She’s confident that once she makes a new sale, she’ll develop a long-term relationship with that client and have lots of opportunities to cross-sell. Jane’s a pretty smart cookie.

The after-race party

Jane will cross the finish line in great time, then drink champagne and dance on the after-race party podium.

And I can predict that her takeaway lesson after the event will be: Telemarketing worked for me. (But then, I put in the effort to define my target market, my offer and find the perfect lead gen partner).

Post-race analysis

Jane doesn’t believe in failure. She believes in reaping the rewards of doing things properly, like her approach to defining her prospect, choosing a team of well-trained, high-performing business professionals to represent her company, and developing a sure-to-succeed offer. And she’s going to end up with a substantial sales pipeline.

In a nutshell

Be like Jane. Give the task to us; you’ll get a winning outcome. And sorry John, but there’s no time for also-rans in today’s competitive business world!


Meet John. He wants to do a telemarketing campaign. He’s never done one before; he’s not even sure if it’s going to work. But he wants to do it right now, and most definitely on the cheap. So, he’s going to organise it himself.

Let’s think of John’s telemarketing campaign in terms of a running a race. An event which generally requires training, strategy, and commitment.

On your mark, John

First off, John has to procure a list which will be a goldmine of up-to-date contacts, and all their details.

John’s going to: 

a. Use that old spreadsheet list. He’s not sure how old the list is, and what permissions are in place for its use. To be honest, John doesn’t really know which companies are still around, if the same people work there – or sadly if they are even alive.

b. Purchase a list from someone who just won’t stop spamming him. Hey, it didn’t cost much so nothing to lose.

c. Extract a prospect/client list from the CRM or finance software. No-one has actually kept it current, but he reckons it can be updated on the go.

Get set, John 

Then, he needs to put together his team. The people who will represent his business and his brand to the world. How will he source them?

He’s going to:

a. Look around the office to identify who doesn’t seem to be busy and start there. Perhaps his receptionist could make calls, or he could get a high school or university student in over the holidays or after class? And he or his sales guy could write a script.

b. Outsource the calls. He’s heard about a contractor/company who offers very keen prices. He’s not quite sure where they’re based, or how good they are. But does it really matter as long as they call everyone on the list? It’s a numbers games, he reckons, so the odds are they have to make some wins.

And go, John, go!

John’s got his list, and his team, but then there’s the campaign strategy. He wants to generate sales and appointments.

So, what to offer them?

a. Everything! The perfect prospect will want to know all about what John’s business does and buy every product and service he offers. Or at the least be interested enough to listen to a long call to find the one thing that could be of interest. Yeah, right.

b. A super-hot price or giveaway. How about a cut-throat, never to be repeated offer? Sound too good to be true?

c. Sell ice to Eskimos. Can never have enough, right? And don’t forget, it’s a numbers game, so the telemarketer will have to strike it lucky eventually.

The after-race party

Well, we can guarantee that John won’t make the after-race party. He’ll barely get off the starting block. And his takeaway lesson (the one he will share with everyone who cares to listen): Telemarketing doesn’t work.

Post-race analysis

John is doomed to fail. Without a decent list he’s wasting time and effort. With poor quality and/or inadequately trained low-cost resources his prospects won’t engage. And by not thinking through an offer carefully tailored to his target market, the campaign conversion rate will be low. Instead of saving, he will waste time, money and effort doing a lousy job.

You know where I’m going with this. The results you get from telemarketing are dependent on the investment you make. And that isn’t just a financial investment, but doing the research and planning to make every campaign a winning one.

In a nutshell

Give the task to us; you’ll get a different outcome! We’re fleet of foot, nimble and always get to the end in great time! And we leave the Johns of this world to eat our dust.