Marketing consumer products over the phone is called telemarketing. A recent study indicated that products and services sold via telemarketing amount to hundreds of billions of dollar each year. Political bodies, charity organizations, and various other organizations to raise funds and invite donations also use telemarketing. Public opinion polls are also conducted with the help of telemarketing.Telemarketing involves the use of persons trained in conversational skills and automatic dialer software and equipments. Telephonic surveys usually make use of a script that derives only a small range of responses. A telemarketing firm maintains a list of prospective customers. The list is prepared based on information such as the customer’s past purchasing trends and credit limits. The telephone numbers are collected from various sources such entries made into competition or application forms and previous requests made for certain information. Phone numbers are generally taken from other companies, telephone directories, or any other public lists.Telemarketing has developed a certain degree of antipathy among the masses. People are often telephoned at the wrong time and place. Telemarketing companies have been criticized for making unsolicited calls and using high-pressure sales techniques. This has led to the implementation of strict regulatory and legislative controls. The Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and various other state agencies control telemarketing. The U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 also puts restrictions on it. The Direct Marketing Association and a number of state agencies maintain do-not-call lists to save people from unwanted telemarketing calls. Persons who do not wish to receive calls from marketing firms can enlist themselves in those do-not-call lists. Marketing companies that do not honor do-not-call lists invite heavy penalties. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has published a national do-not-call list, in spite of protests from marketing firms.

How to Avoid the 7 Deadly Sins of Direct Marketing Lead Generation

If your sales team often complains about the leads they receive from your direct marketing campaigns – or if you’re frustrated with lackluster lead follow-up and low conversion rates – you may be unwittingly committing one of the seven deadly sins of direct marketing lead generation.Here are the common mistakes business-to-business marketers make with lead generation and tips on how to avoid them:1. Leads are not qualified.Problem: All responses are sent to the sales force regardless of their potential value. Sales reps waste time chasing weak prospects because they don’t have the information to distinguish good leads from bad.Solution: Ask questions on the direct mail reply form, the web response form, or via your call center to qualify prospects by their level of interest and authority to purchase. Share this information to help sales reps prioritize their efforts.2. Leads are from the wrong prospects.Problem: The mailing lists you used in your direct marketing campaign didn’t reach the right decision-makers, so responses came from people who probably can’t or won’t become buyers.Solution: As you develop your direct marketing strategy, ask the sales team to pinpoint the demographics of an ideal buyer. Choose mailing lists to reach these decision-makers and add selection criteria to narrow the list down to people who most closely resemble your best customers.3. Leads are too old.Problem: It takes so long to forward leads to sales that prospects lose interest in the offer or forget they responded. By the time the sales rep reaches the prospect, the lead has gone cold.Solution: Assess your lead distribution process from top to bottom to find out what’s slowing things down. Eliminate unnecessary steps or revamp the system to get leads to reps as fast as possible.4. Lead data is sloppy.Problem: The lead data you send to reps is incomplete or riddled with errors.Solution: Set stricter guidelines about what information must be required before a lead is sent to a rep and review the data input process to assure data quality.5. Too many leads are sent at once.Problem: The sales force is overwhelmed with a large volume of leads they can’t efficiently handle in a reasonable timeframe.Solution: Test your direct mail to a smaller list to gauge likely response. Plan the execution of the direct marketing campaign in stages to create a steady flow of leads rather than a flood.6. Sales reps don’t know about the promotion.Problem: Leads are sent to the sales team from a direct marketing campaign they know nothing about.Solution: Get reps on board early in the process by alerting them to your upcoming direct marketing initiative. Seed them on the mailing list so they receive samples when the direct mail drops.7. The sales team doesn’t have the right tools to follow up.Problem: Responses come in before the proper sales demonstration materials have been created or sent to the sales team. While sales reps wait for product samples, sales collateral, or sales presentation kits, prospects may be hearing from your competitors.Solution: Plan for the development of sales demonstration materials when creating your direct marketing strategy and don’t drop the mailing until reps have the tools they need to convert leads to sales.

Buy Local When Choosing a Solar Installer Or Contractor

I am sure you have heard the words, “buy local,” when referring to locally grown food.  This motto is transferable to all other goods and services.  A locally owned business is more likely to produce income, jobs and tax receipts for a given community over many generations. As adoption for solar energy systems grows, your options for choosing a solar panel installer are increasing.  I want to first describe the major types of solar installers and then talk about why it makes sense to contract from a local solar panel installer. 1. Solar Panel Manufacturers – Their business is primarily manufacturing panels, but they also bid on utility-scale photovoltaic projects. Solar Panel Manufacturers are well suited for larger projects since they can supply the panels directly and eliminate the middleman, reducing overall system costs.2. National Solar Installers – National players usually operate in multiple states across the country, with many having their national headquarters in California.  National Solar Installers tend to handle the largest volume of installations per year.3. Regional or Locally-owned Solar Installers – This group specializes in only solar installations for a certain local area usually designated by state. 4. Other Contractors – The largest group of solar contractors are those that offer solar panel installations as  part of their portfolio, but specialize in something else – many are electricians, roofers, door and window contractors, or general contractors.Why Buy Local?

Local contractors are better acquainted with the local weather conditions and how to design a system to fit those requirements.

A PV installer that is based in your area will be more familiar with regional permitting rules and electric codes reducing design errors, speeding up time to installation, and providing the best overall service.

Statistics show that buying from independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business,  will infuse three times as much money in your region’s economy, strengthening the economic foundation of your community.

Locally owned contractors tend to make more local purchases requiring less transportation.  This reduces congestion and transportation-related emissions.

Small businesses hire locally and will support green jobs where you live.

A local installer will help you maximize the incentives for your solar projects because they have a greater awareness of different rebates, tax credits and exemptions, loan programs, SRECs, etc.