I receive leads from my marketing company but I can never get these people on the phone. Any ideas?

My marketing firm sends me leads from an educational association for long term care insurance. I should sell 2 out of every 10, but no matter what time I call I keep getting voicemail.

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Your 'marketing firm' sounds like they are nothing more than a cold lead generation firm. Not a marketing firm. Why are the leads coming from that source in particular? Why do you need them to get those leads?

True 'leads' are per-qualified to some degree and preferably segmented to needs/wants/interests. They actually want/expect more info and contact, but if they don't know when you're going to call why do you feel they should even take you call at all?

Of course this is assuming they are real leads and not a rip-off.

Is your marketing firm pre-selling your services to the leads or just sending you someone who filled out an online form or was pulled from a database?

You should redefine what a lead from them is and better understand what you are getting and where they come from, how they are being generated. You're paying for them, you deserve the answers.

How quick is your follow up from the time you get the lead? Are you just calling or does a mail piece go out same/next day? How many times and ways you attempt to make contact?

What is the lifetime value of one of these customers? That should give you a rough idea of what you can spend to get one and what you can spend to get them to engage with you.

Not sure where you get the, "...sell 2 out of every 10...", unless these leads used to work in the past and those were real numbers at one time.


Hi Patti,

As the others have said, personalization is key. Nobody wants to deal with cold calls, even if they might be an ideal fit for your service. I am not clear from what you've written who your target audience is for LTC insurance. Is it older adults who belong to this educational association? If so, it seems you'd want to develop a relationship with the association itself, which would then refer you to interested members.

Here's the first of a series of sponsored posts I wrote for a marketing automation company that may be useful for you: http://venturebeat.com/2015/07/01/automating-the-customer-journey-making-marketing-personal-and-scalable/

All the best,


The reason for this is because like many other methods of sales, phone marketing has been used as a form of abuse and people now have a natural defense mechanism built against it.

What I would suggest is doing more research into these people to find out more about where they're active and create content that reaches them there. Due to the way things are today I would urge you to NOT push stuff to them to sell something, instead create content that educates them and helps them in their everyday life regarding whatever makes you relevant to them. People are bombarded with material that typically says "I'm the best guy in town buy stuff from me"..... they've built defenses against that as well.

If you can go beyond that and drop jewels of info on them that enhances the way they think and perform they'll see for theirself without you having to say so that you know your stuff and can actually benefit them. The more they enjoy your bits of information, the more they'll ultimately enjoy communicating with you when it comes to that. In fact this will make them think to call YOU in regards to whatever they need, so you won't have to be the one running behind them.

Make a point of further organizing these leads into whatever categories you can make of them so you can build content to be more specific and personal to their needs rather than having an overall generalized message that doesn't go deeper than their skin. Go through the flesh strait to the heart with the message on a daily basis and they'll eventually want a larger load of you to reap whatever you have to offer.


Yea, a very frustrating aspect of sales, but that's why you make the big bucks right? One idea is to incorporate an automated email follow up that pings them a few times after the initial call. Another idea (and not necessarily mutually exclusive as you can set up both) is to incorporate a scheduling software where the leads are directed to. So instead of someone just filling out a form, they will schedule a time to talk. And the good softwares will send reminders for the appointment for you. I can almost guarantee that you will find most of your appointment requests waiting for the call. We use Calendly (https://calendly.com/).

Best of luck!


The problem is these are cold leads who do not know you from a bar of soap and may not need the products or services you sell. It takes 7 to 30 touches for a lead such as this to even know who you are and what you do.

Another problem is the message you are using. If it is "RAH! RAH! RAH! YADDA, YADDA, YADDA! Buy my stuff", it ain't gonna work. Obviously the marketing firm didn't help you build the right marketing campaign to attract the proper leads in your target market and ideal customer profile.

You should fire the marketing firm as you can get those kinds of leads all day long, all by yourself with the same result.

What you really need is a marketing firm that specializes in business and marketing strategy and understands the small business world and the marketing avenues that make sense for you.

Walter...I must say that you're answer is the most spot on, brief and to the point answer I have seen! Just wanted to extend a sincere compliment.

Thank you,

Bradley L Chase III

Very well put Walter. I don't need to add anything else to the thread. This answers the question very well.


I agree with Walter: These aren't leads. They are people that, when contacted, didn't tell the "marketing company" where to stick it.

Results from so-called 'push' marketing techniques like cold calling are becoming harder and harder to justify. Not only do you have to annoy a lot of people before finding the few that are interested, but I think there's a trust implication that's missing. Personally, I don't care if you're selling a Ferrari for $100, the fact that you're cold calling me makes me distrust you - and therefore your company.

Stop wasting money with these guys and contract a professional.


Hey Patti,

One of the key factor to consider is how long does it take for any of the lead to submit information (online or offline) and you getting in touch with them. Unfortunately, study shows that you have 93% chances of getting someone over the phone if you contact within 2 minutes, after that the chances are really slim.

You want to decrease that time.

One of the other suggestion I could give to you is ask your marketing firm to call and transfer those leads to you right away if they get an interested parties. Or, hire a freelancer (VA) that could work with you on pay per transfer deal so that they could do follow up and get prospect on phone and then transfer you.

If you are emailing them to follow up, please check whether your email lands up in inbox or spam. If it goes in spam people obviously have not read your message.

Voicemail: If you have left voicemails but you are not getting response, I would suggest you to come up with different voicemail messages and check which one is effective by leaving it on those old leads where you haven't been able to contact the party.


Hi Patti,

We are a telemarketing company and also did experience that one. What you'll have to do is to use the VMs effectively. The all too common reaction upon receiving a VM is hang up and make a note in the CRM to say ‘VM’. The real strategy there is "listen and don't hang up". Listening to the whole of someone’s voicemail message can uncover useful information about; alternative ways to make contact, colleagues names, mobile phone numbers and details about annual leave. Consider this, you call someone 3 times in one week and each time you call them, you get their voicemail and hang up without listening. The message you have missed says that they are out of the office for a week and have no access to their voicemail but try them on their mobile number which is.. Not only did you waste 3 calls and a week but, you could have missed an opportunity that your competitor didn’t miss because they listened to the message and called the prospect's mobile phone.

Hope this helps!


Do you mean you cannot get the leads on the phone?
Poor quality leads, not qualified leads.

Consider getting your website sorted, and using inbound marketing services (like ours) get quality qualified leads in from your funnel!

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