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How to use time zones in Acarda Outbound

Acarda Outbound provide support for time zones however this feature is turned off by default. To turn time zones on in the Acarda Outbound take the following steps:

1. Open Acarda Outbound Manager software (or in Solo click on the Administration tab).

2. Click on the Setup Tab.

3. Click on the Settings icon in the Setup group of icons.

4. Click on the “Other Settings” link in the left tree view menu under “Call Options”.

5. In the Time Zones Settings panel check the User Time Zones check box.

You also have the option to set two other settings that will govern whether or not leads for Duty Team Call Backs or Requested Call Backs can be sent to the agents outside of the time zones. For example, if someone asks you to call back later in the evening but it is outside the time zone you have set up. You can permit that by checking the “Ignore Time Zones for Requested Call Backs”.

time-zone-settings

Now setup the time zones information:

1. Open Acarda Outbound Manager software (or in Solo click on the Administration tab).

2. Click on the Setup Tab.

3. Click on the Time Zones icon in the Setup group of icons.

4. Click New to add a new zone. The name of the zone must match up with the names used in the calling list data in the Dial List “Time Zone” field. If your data states the time zone code then use that here for the zone name, alternatively, you could use say the state and then you would enter the states as a time zone name. Enter the Start Time and Stop Time from the point of view of the Acarda Outbound Server clock.

time-zones-setup-zones

That’s it. Time zones are now set up.

How to import your calling list into Acarda Outbound

calling list dataEach campaign in Acarda Outbound has an associated calling list which we call the Dial List. Your calling list will likely come as an Excel spread sheet or it may already be in a csv file format. It is easy to take your Excel format and use Save As a csv file.

In Acarda Outbound, to import your calling list take the following steps:
1. Under the Manager tab click on the Dial List icon in the Import Group. This will bring up the Import Dial List screen.
2. Select the campaign from the drop down list that you want to import to. If you campaign is not yet set up then prior to importing you need to click on the Setup tab and then the Campaigns icon and add your campaign name.
3. Once you have selected the campaign then select the Import File by clicking on the ellipsis button (…)

import calling list screen

4. If you have a header in the top of the import file that states the name of the columns but does not contain real data then check the Ignore Header check box.
5. It is a good idea to click the Reset button on the lower left side of the screen to clear out past File Column Positions. Of course if the data is the same format as the last import then there is no need to do this. Please note during import if you get an error message about the input array being longer than the number of columns in the table the nit probably means you have a number in the File Column Position that is too high.
6. Now match the File Column Positions of you data (as shown in the Import File Preview window) to each Database Field Name that you want to import to. You could try the Auto Detect feature if you have checked the “Ignore Header” check box.
7. Then when ready click the Import button.

We have a YouTube video on how to import your data into Acarda Outbound. Please take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ivm4mT45Yf0

In the Advanced Edition there is a really useful feature to allow you to save the import settings that link the calling list data to the File Column Position. This means if you work with several different list formats you can save each format to a template and then the next time you go to import that sort of file you imagecan just click on the File Definitions Templates drop down list to find the one you used last time.

Outbound Calling Blog New Life

Although I started this blog four years ago it didn’t take long before I was distracted with other things and found the blog was the easiest item on my to do list to neglect. Last year however, with the release of Acarda Outbound which is effectively TeamMax version 7, I found myself wondering how we could best communicate the new features and time-saving enhancements of Acarda Outbound to you all. So I am going to try and post more regular blogs over the rest of the year. We’ll start by looking at how to do things in Acarda Outbound.

So what is Acarda Outbound? Acarda Outbound is for focused outbound calling and will drastically increase your productivity in telemarketing, telesales, appointment setting, customer care, surveying and any other outbound calling campaigns. There is a team edition, http://www.acarda.com/live-outbound-calling/, and a solo user edition, http://www.acarda.com/live-outbound-calling/.

Acarda Outbound Telemarketing call center

Articulate Your Prospects Problems

When it comes to cold calling you should always begin with the person’s core challenge or problem. Once you are clear on what problems your product or service can solve for them, you will start to know what to say when you make a call. It really is that simple.

When calling, begin the phone call with, “Hi, my name is (your first name). I was just wondering if you can help me out for a moment.” How would you respond if someone said that to you? Most likely, “Sure, how can I help you?” or perhaps “Sure, how can I assist you?”

That is exactly the way just about all people, especially business people would reply when the person on the other end of the telephone says “I was just wondering if you can help me out for a moment” in a relaxed opening phrase like that. It’s a natural reaction.

Keep this in mind when you ask for help, you are telling the truth because you don’t have any idea whether you can help them solve a problem or not. And it is the truth of a matter that starts the trust relationship between you and your potential client/customer.

When they reply, “Sure, how can I help you?” Don’t respond by launching into a pitch about what you have to offer. As that will literally ruin it for you. Instead, you go right into talking about the core problem to find out whether your suggested core problem is a problem they can see for themselves.

So you say, “I’m just giving you a call to see if you are grappling (and the key word here is ‘grappling’) with (insert the problem you help them solve)?”

No pitch, no introduction, nothing about you. Just step directly into their world.

The purpose of the question is to open the conversation and develop enough trust, so your potential prospect feels comfortable having a conversation with you.

The traditional way of cold calling advises you to ask lots of questions to learn about the person’s business and to “connect.” The problem is that people see right through that. They know that you have an ulterior motive, and then you’re right back up against the wall from the get go.

To do the opposite of the traditional old way may be hard for you to apply to your own situation at first, because trying to leverage calls based on what we know about our solution is so ingrained in our thinking.

You need to discover how to step out of your own solution, and think about the problem your prospects has. And that’s the secret of building trust on calls. Using a language that articulates your prospects problems, so they can identify with you. It’s often the missing link in the process of cold calling.

Cold Calling Heavy Mental Attitudes

Do you find that the telephone can become like a HUGE weight when it comes to lifting it up and making calls? I was like that at the beginning as well. The good news is that you are not alone.

If you’re like most people who make cold calls, you’re hoping to make a sale — or at least an appointment — before you even pick up the phone. The problem is the people you call somehow always pick up on your mindset immediately.

They sense that you’re focused on your goals and interests, rather than on finding out what they might need or want. This short-circuits the whole process of communication and trust-building.

Here’s the benefit of changing your mental objective before you make the call: it takes away the frenzy of working yourself up mentally to pick up the phone.

All the feelings of rejection and fear come from us getting wrapped up in our expectations and hoping for an outcome when it’s premature to even be thinking about an outcome.

So try this, practice shifting your mental focus to thinking, “when I make this call, I’m going to build a conversation so that a level of trust can emerge allowing us to exchange information back and forth so we can both determine if there’s a fit or not.”

Go ahead, try it. You will see it makes a huge difference.