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Calling for dollars

Telemarketing calls, when done correctly, are a far cry from annoying, random calls that interrupt family meals. And some folks are doing it right. Telephone sales reached $400 billion in 2006, up from $100.3 billion in 2002. And that's not all:

  • On average, telemarketers sell products or services to 32 percent of Americans a year, generating roughly $135 per transaction.
  • Most consumers purchase telephone or long distance services from telemarketers.
  • Half of telemarketers use a headset when making calls, while the other half prefer the old-fashioned receiver.
  • Sixty percent of telemarketers call prospects by their first names.
  • Telemarketers don't always give up at the first no. Fifty percent offer relevant statistics as a way to pique prospects' interests.
  • Bexar County, Texas, which includes San Antonio, has the most telemarketing call centers in the United States.
  • Telemarketing is used most in the educational services sphere; the transportation sector, excluding airlines, employs telemarketing the least.
  • Sixty percent of telemarketers are women; 60 percent also live in rural communities.
  • An average sales call costs $15 compared to $130 for a business-to-business field call.
  • Telemarketers complain that the biggest drawback of selling over the phone is not being able to see potential customers' facial expressions.
  • In 2004, telemarketing edged out e-mail and regular mail as having the highest return on investment.

When Alyssa Mog-ensen left DRG Tele-marketing Inc. in the late 1990s, she remained on good terms with her former DRG colleagues, but no one predicted she would return in just four years as co-owner. But she did.

After working for DRG from 1997 to 1999, Mogensen joined one of its competitors. However, she soon decided to launch her own telemarketing business because she wanted to be at the helm of a company that treated its employees and clients as they "wish to be treated, as they should be treated," she said.

Mogensen envisioned running a telemarketing boutique business much like DRG. In fact, she visualized a place exactly like DRG. She thus realized her belief in the company was so strong that she was willing to invest in it. So, she proposed to DRG's owner, David Rosen, that they own and operate DRG as partners.

Rosen accepted Mogensen's offer, and they have been jointly running DRG since 2003. Mogensen is Chief Operating Officer-Vice President; Rosen is President.

Personal involvement

DRG is celebrating its 11th year of specializing in outbound business-to-consumer and business-to-business telemarketing services for large and small enterprises. The company has over 200 telemarketing reps, and its executive team has more than 50 years of combined industry experience, Mogensen said.

DRG has been providing telemarketing services to the payments industry for approximately 12 months.

The company specializes in appointment setting and lead generation for the financial, medical, insurance and home improvement sectors. "We can provide every facet of the telemarketing campaign from list to final reporting," Mogensen said.

Privately held since 1988, DRG is run by management who are personally involved in day-to-day operations. "In publicly owned companies, the higher ups are more removed from call centers," Mogensen said. "We are here every day."

The owners know what their employees face day to day because they are on the front lines and choose to remain there.

The fact that DRG is privately owned also gives Mogensen and Rosen freedom to serve clients how they see fit. They do not have to justify their bottom line, stock options or quarterly reports to corporate bigwigs. "No one is telling us what to do," Mogensen said.

DRG's mission is to grow by helping companies achieve their financial goals while also fostering a positive reputation for itself and its clients.

Mogensen noted that it can be scary for smaller merchants to put their trust and money in a third party. But, they shouldn't worry: "They are giving their money to someone who cares and wants their business to succeed," she said.

DRG knows everything it does affects how its clients are perceived in their respective industries. "We know how important our clients' reputations are," Mogensen said. "We know we don't grow without you."

Skillful communication

Merchant level salespeople (MLSs) know a career in sales can be challenging. This line of work is based on building trust and being able to work closely with someone else to help clients succeed.

Forming such partnerships can be difficult. It requires true collaboration for all parties involved. The challenge is doubled when there are limited opportunities to meet clients face to face. Volumes can be communicated in a handshake, gesture or look; as much as 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. So, when face time is impossible, it is imperative to communicate precisely and effectively via phone or Internet. MLSs must be willing and able to be good listeners as well. Mogensen said DRG closes 90 percent of its sales without in-person meetings with clients.

Flexible business model

DRG makes calls on behalf of its acquiring partners to merchants of all types, not just new businesses. In fact, Mogensen prefers to talk to existing businesses; she finds they are more willing to listen.

Customized and personalized services are offered at set rates; telemarketing time is purchased in hours.

Together, DRG and its clients determine the hours needed to make calls and the minimum number of leads or appointments guaranteed. Even when a low number is set, DRG's intent is to generate leads or appointments well above that goal.

"There is a minimum expectation that we guarantee, and we stand behind that," Mogensen said. As ISOs and MLSs build their businesses, they can increase the volume of their leads and appointments.

ISOs and MLSs can choose to receive leads or have appointments set. DRG verifies, validates, and e-mails or faxes leads to clients daily. And DRG can begin producing for new clients within 24 to 48 hours. The company also offers cash advance lead generating, and database updating and scrubbing.

The economy and payments industry are in a state of flux; businesses must be flexible to keep their doors open. Thus, DRG does not limit its market. For example, the company works with the mortgage industry amid a housing crunch while also lending expertise to the merchant services industry.

"We are so well positioned for this," Mogensen said. "We have a lot of experience with the mortgage industry … we know how to appointment set; we know how to cold call; we know how to look for the decision maker."

Some mortgage sales professionals have migrated to the payments arena because it is seen as a natural evolution. "Many people have left mortgage and have gone to MLS and ISO," Mogensen said. "They don't mind working on commission, phone, interest and so forth."

Recurring rewards

DRG's recurring business speaks volumes: More than 80 percent of the company's revenue is the result of repeat customers.

DRG believes its clients remain loyal because they receive personal attention and support from the staff. Also, DRG provides more than its competitors, Mogensen said.

"What is unique about the products and services we provide is that as a boutique shop we are able to cater to each client's specific needs," Mogensen said. "This allows our clients to get the attention they need and the results they desire." While pursuing other opportunities, Mogensen kept in mind how much she believes in DRG's mission.

She is happy to be reunited with a business that endeavors to treat employees and clients alike like royalty, and she intends to be instrumental in ensuring DRG far exceeds all expectations in terms of production and personal service, making it a company that no one would ever want to forget.

end of article

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

DRG Telemarketing Inc.

DRG Telemarketing Inc.

ISO/MLS contact:

Alyssa Mogensen
Chief Operating Officer-Vice President
Phone: 800-998-8707, ext. 105
Fax: 845-362-8733
E-mail: amogensen@drgtelemarketing.com

Company address:
Pomona Professional Building
972 Route 45, Suite 201
Pomona, NY 10970
Phone: 800-998-8707
Fax: 845-362-8733
Web site: www.drgtelemarketing.com

ISO/MLS benefits:

  • Guaranteed lead generation
  • Guaranteed appointment setting
  • Speedy start-up
  • Personal service
  • Privately owned company

Company Profile originally appeared in
The Green Sheet Issue 080502

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