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Selecting Your Phone Vendor

By Winning Campaigns Staff Writer

When selecting the “right” telephone  vendor to handle your campaign, it's imperative that you examine a number of factors that will help you make the right choice.


First, you have to remember that you are running a political campaign, not a store or merchandise sale. Your vendor must be someone familiary and experienced with campaigns similar to yours. Large campaigns need  technology and capacity to handle a large volume of calls while smaller campaigns will jhave different needs including the approach of thr callers.


Check the vendor's credentials. Be certain to know how long they have been in business, what campaigns they have worked on and what  was the relationship with the campaiogn. You must interview the company and ask for references. Call the references. There is nothing worse than to have you hire a firm that didn't perform to standards set by the campaign or who didn't perform at all.


Ask about the technical capabilities of their system to determine if they can handle your campaign and if they are aware of the legalities involving phones.


Some states  only allows automated calls to be deleivered at certain hours during the day  or, in some instances, only pre-recorded messages to an answering machine only.


Be certain that your phone vendor has the capability to “scrub” the candidate's database list to take out calls that will reach inactive or duplicate calls.


Be certain to plan a budget for the vendor to stay within. Ask how many attempts will be made and what will be done with wrong numbers, answering machines and other impediments that prevent the call from going through.


One concern that must be addressed is the speaking ability of the callers. Do they have an accent? Can they deliver your message well? Are they trained and monitored? Can they speak the language of the person they are calling?


If you have created a message to be sent, be sure to hear the message before it is delivered. Too often campaigns have the candidate call in his message during a quick break in the schedule, rushing the spoken words to meet the 30-second timeframe for the call.


The call goes out, the candidate rushes the words, the message is garbled and the call is not only wasted financially but it makes the recipient wonder about the ability of the candidate if he can't make a simple phone call.


Phones are an essential part of the race just as are direct mail, Internet, fundraising and all aspects of the campaign. It cannot be taken lightly. Just as a mail piece must be perfect and not have typographical or grammatical errors, so too the phone call to your supporters must have the same perfection to be of value.

Jim Burrows
Winning Campaigns Staff Writer
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