Legitimate telemarketing is a win/win for everybody. Consumers get to find out about offers that they care about, while businesses get to see cost-effective business growth.

Sadly, not all telemarketing is legitimate. There are operations out there making spam or scam calls, who give everybody else a bad name.

Tech companies are helping consumers to fight back by automatically flagging up certain phone numbers as being suspicious. Call recipients can easily ignore such calls. They may even block such numbers automatically.

And if you get things wrong, your number could be the one getting blocked.

7 telemarketing mistakes that will get your number flagged

The most important part of any telemarketing campaign is the calling list.

This is the list of numbers that your agents will be phoning with your telemarketing offer. If your campaign is well-run, you’ll see excellent conversion rates, leading to higher sales and happy customers.

If you’re not seeing the results you want, and you’re struggling to get through to customers, you might be making the following telemarketing mistakes.

1. You’re calling DNC numbers

People can choose to add their number to both the state and national Do Not Call (DNC) registries. By doing this, they’re opting out of all unsolicited telemarketing calls.

As a telemarketer, it’s entirely your responsibility to scrub DNC numbers off your calling list. Any call to a DNC number could result in a fine of up to $16,000 for each call made to a private number, with no upper limit to the total penalty.

Plus, it’s generally a waste of time to contact DNC numbers. These individuals will not be happy to receive an unsolicited marketing call, so you’ll lose a customer rather than gain one. They’ll also flag your number as spam, which will hurt your reputation.

2. You’re using old information

People change numbers all the time. If your data isn’t up to date, then you could end up calling a wrong number or a disconnected line.

At the very least, this is a waste of time and resources. Your agents will spend time scrubbing your database manually, rather than focusing on conversions.

But it could also cause your number to be flagged. You might inadvertently contact people who have opted out of marketing calls, who won’t be happy to hear from you.

3. Your calling list comes from a poor source

The best way to obtain personal information is directly from the individual. You can use your website, social media and special offers to generate leads. These fresh leads are typically people who are already interested in your brand, making them easier to convert to customers.

Of course, you can buy calling lists from third parties, but you have to take care when doing so. Data from outside sources may contain low-quality information, with obsolete numbers or contacts that are DNC-listed. Lousy lists won’t result in many conversions – and might see your number flagged for spam.

Always obtain your calling lists from reputable sources. List data should be recent and have been cleaned of old information. Ideally, the list should also include some demographic data to help target your offers.

4. You haven’t segmented your data

Segmentation is the process of breaking your calling list into discrete groups based on a particular characteristic. For example, you might divide your list by gender, age, income range, or job title, if you have that data available.

Segmentation allows you to improve your call scripts, which will drive up conversion rates. The more you know about each call recipient in advance, the better the chance of making that sale.

If you have no other data available, you can segment landline numbers by location. This at least allows you to plan the timing of your calls so that you’re always calling at the optimal moment in each time zone. That way, you’ll avoid calling at bad times, when people are more likely to reject your call.

5. You aren’t matching your products to the audience segment

Some segments love certain offers. Students, for example, are keen to hear about discounted travel and tech. Homeowners are interested in offers about things like energy efficiency, mortgage and insurance. Older people want to hear about maximizing their retirement funds.

Obviously, you don’t want to spend time making inappropriate offers. There’s not much point offering solar panels to someone who rents, or childcare services to the over-75s. Your agents should focus their energy on where there’s a strong chance of making conversions.

If you do take a scattergun approach to offers, then you can expect to have your number flagged as spam. Take care to only call people with offers that might genuinely interest them.

6. Your staff aren’t handling calls properly

People are increasingly wary of telemarketing scams. And they’re right – when you receive an unsolicited call from someone who is asking for personal information, you have to be extra cautious.

Your staff plays a big part in convincing callers that you are legitimate. If staff are well-trained and fully supported, they will sound honest and sincere. If they are hesitant and unsure, the call recipient might start to get suspicious.

Don’t risk engaging in these telemarketing mistakes and being flagged as a potential scam. Make sure that every telemarketer in your organization is confident, comfortable, and ready to answer any question that might come their way.

7. You’re missing chances to add value to your calling lists

Calling lists aren’t set in stone. You can change them in any way that benefits your telemarketing efforts. So how can you improve the quality of your list?

One way is to gather information from elsewhere and add it to your calling list. For example, you might have interacted with people in other ways, such as via your website or by processing an order. Cross-reference your calling list with other systems, like your customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

Remember, removing bad records is actually a way of adding value to your calling list. By deleting the deadwood, you’ll shave your list down to active, engaged leads. A great calling list will lead to a higher rate of conversions – plus a much lower chance of getting flagged as spam.

Avoiding Common Telemarketing Mistakes

It’s no longer feasible to take a calling list, dial the number at the top, and keep going until you reach the bottom. Even if you have great telemarketers who can convert any lead you put in front of them, you’ll eventually end up getting flagged as spam or a scam.

When your number is flagged, you won’t be able to get through to anybody. And then, your conversion rate will plummet to zero.

Instead, take a careful, respectful approach to the numbers on calling lists. Don’t repeat the bad habits of engaging in telemarketing mistakes. If you approach people at the right time, in the right way, with the right offer, they’ll be glad to get your call.