scrub your leads

Warning: Do Not Call a Cell Phone


Warning: Do Not Call a Cell Phone Without Reading These New Laws

The FCC has set new rules for telemarketers calling cell phones. They are laid out in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Telemarketers need to pay attention because these recent rulings are stricter than their older cousins and violations can cost $16,000 per call.  The new rules are set to go into effect on October 16, 2013.

Here is what you need to know about the cell phone portion of the TCPA:


The Telephone Consumer Protection Act defines “opt-in” in a much stricter, more precise way.  Previously you could get a list of consumers that have opted in by clicking a link, replying to an email, or signing a paragraph within a document – now the only opt-in the TCPA will accept for cell phones is a signed consent.  Consumers, and businesses, have to sign a piece of paper giving authorization for a telemarketer to call their cell phone.  The language in the document must also state that “providing consent may not be a condition of any purchase”.  This will make most current opt-in tactics for cell phones obsolete.  Obtaining this level of consent will be difficult, if not impossible.

Business Cell Phones Are Included

The TCPA rules do not distinguish between a consumer and business cell phone.  B2B telemarketers will need to change their tactics as well.  As of October 16th, 2013 you can be fined for calling a business cell phone.

Scrub Your Leads

Since the opt-in guidelines are so strict the best option is to simply scrub your leads and remove all cell phone numbers.  Scrub your leads against wireless block files (cell phone prefixes) and a list of landlines that were ported to cell phones.  Locate a lead list agency to do this for you now so that you don’t get caught up in a last minute frenzy to stay in compliance.

Safe Harbor

There is a safe harbor provision that says if you accidentally make a violation but have scrubbed your leads within the previous fifteen days you can avoid being fined.  The smartest thing for a business to do is to get on a regular schedule of having their leads scrubbed.  This way you can always stay within the safe harbor provisions.

Take action now by locating a firm to scrub your leads for you.  Not complying with the TCPA laws could be very expensive.  Each violation, as in each call, can result in a $16,000 fine.  Additionally consumers can bring a civil case against you for $500 per call up to three times that amount if it is proven to be willful.


Do Not Call Violations Put Your Business at Risk

Cold calling is an essential component for many businesses.  With Do Not Call laws it is important to protect yourself against a potential violation.  Businesses have had to pay millions in fines and you don’t want to be one of them.  One of the most famous cases of “Do Not Call” violations involved DirectTV and their subsidiaries.  The corporation had to pay over $5 million dollars in fines.  While fines in that range are rare, even small businesses can be financially crippled by DNC violation penalties.

In 2005 a small telemarketing firm, Braglia Marketing Group (BMG), had to pay over $500,000 for violations arising out of their timeshare selling telemarketing.  In addition to paying a fine the company, and its owners, were banned from being in the telemarketing business.  The risk of a DNC violation is simply not worth it.  That’s one of the many reasons businesses use a trusted lead service, like who can scrub leads for you with an existing SAN number.  Leads are scrubbed against the Do Not Call registry before your sales team receives them.

Good quality, scrubbed leads are the first step in any calling campaign.  With those in hand stay consistent by setting aside time to call every day.  Just make sure that your sales team is not calling from an un-scrubbed list.   Even if you, as the owner or manager, are not making the calls – your company can still be held liable.  “You cannot hire subcontractors to break the law for you and then walk away free of consequences,” said FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras.

Once you have a scrubbed lead list it is time to start making calls. Here are a few tips for making sales calls more successful:

  • Tracking- The more you know about your leads, the more chances you have to offer the right services or products at the opportune time. To do this effectively, each lead needs to tracked, or updated with important information to help you make that sale. Important information to be tagged in your tracking could be: Has the client changed addresses? Has this client previously requested samples? Has this client done business with us before?
  • Nurturing- Nurturing leads occurs on a more personal level. The significant aspect of lead nurturing is two-way communication. Nurturing leads can be done with ease for online businesses or any storefront with a website. On your site, you can set up surveys or questionnaires where visitors are prompted to provide their contact information. You ask the questions and inspire site visitors to respond. You can also use sampling as an opportunity to nurture. Say a client requests a sample, and after an ample period of time you send them a follow-up email asking if they were satisfied. This crucial step could be the difference between closing that sale or not.
  • Customers are leads too! – When you reach that victorious moment of a lead becoming an actual customer, you may have room to make another sale through a referral. Ask your customers if they know of anyone else that would be interested in your services and watch as your business grows.

Stay consistent by calling your leads on a regular basis for the best results.