New Zealand has now been in lockdown for a week and we’ve all been busy preparing to do things differently in many respects. Most of us are working from home (WFH the new 2020 acronym), mitigating the family requirements fully blended with work responsibilities, and trying not to freak out about how we all ended up here in such a short time. Seriously, what the heck just happened?

Like many businesses, we’ve had to close the office doors, however, for the Hot Leads team it remains business as usual, now from the safety of our homes. Whilst we can’t meet face-to-face, we are available for video meetings, emails and phone calls. We will continue to deliver and maintain the best service possible and welcome our valued clients to communicate with us in their usual way.

This is a time we have not experienced before and we are facing our own unique challenges, but Kiwis are resourceful by nature – tap into your can-do and make the best of the now.

A good time for housekeeping.

When I say housekeeping, screw the vacuuming. Like everything, this too shall pass. How can you make the most of this time? There’s no time like the present to get your customer or prospect lists up to date and squeaky clean. You’d be surprised at how many out-of-date, poorly formatted databases we see. The quickest way to pour your marketing funds down the drain, is to send your message to the wrong people, phone numbers, email or mailing addresses. Check out our blog on database cleansing and feel free to give me a call if you need assistance.

When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent!

If your business is struggling – don’t give up.

Get your creative juices flowing and think outside the square.

How can your business adapt to meet today’s market, which is so different from the market only a few weeks ago?

If you need to, and can, reinvent the wheel of how/what/where/when you do business. Go for it!

A diamond is just a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.

Keep pushing through with initiatives that work for your business. Communicate with customers, look for new business, realise opportunities that lie within new and existing relationships. Don’t fall into the wonky pipeline trap – when we come out the other side, will you have a strong sales pipeline, or will you be starting from ground zero? Starting from ground zero will only extend the struggle. Be strong. Be ready to fly through the clouds and swoop to close business you have nurtured or developed because you didn’t bury your head in the sand when things were tough.

How can we help?

If you need to deliver a message, be it the same or a different pitch, feel free to give us a call to discuss working through your plan.

We are a team of Kiwi professionals who are highly adaptive and have the skills to support your business, so if you need to think outside the square, we can too – just let us know your requirements and we’ll get through this together.

0800 HOT LEADS 0800 62 33 11 021 797 919

Remember that the rainbow, comes after the rain.

While these are challenging times for all New Zealanders, as well as for people around the world, with care, kindness and compassion we will prevail.

Lastly, a huge thank you to all those frontline people who, in many cases, are putting themselves at risk to make us and our families and friends safer.

Stay safe, stay strong, take care and keep in touch.

Lisa and the Hot Leaders

Sadly, it often takes a bad experience with a telemarketing service to appreciate a good one.

One of the most constant pieces of feedback we get from new clients is the difference they experience working with us compared with their previous lead generation partners.

In our latest case study, Brendan Drury, Orbit World Travel’s Managing Director said: “From my perspective, the difference between using Hot Leads and our results from the previous two to three years is like comparing night and day.”

Here comes the sun again.

After outsourcing their lead generation services to a local company for several years, Brendan wasn’t happy with the results. A lack of quality information combined with a disappointing volume of appointments led them to pull the plug on their investment. Dark days, indeed!

And he’s not alone. We’ve won the hearts of many clients who have been just about ready to give up on finding a telemarketing company they can trust to deliver results.

So what makes us shine so bright?

1. We keep a tight focus on the quality of the data we collect – making sure it’s accurate, current and appropriate. As far as we’re concerned, near enough is never good enough.
2. We find the people you need to connect with – we’re great at tracking down those hard-to-find-and-even-harder-to-reach decision-makers. Yes, we’re rottweilers of the telemarketing world, smart, strong, tenacious and well-trained!
3. We make you look good – we’re professional, local, friendly, approachable and take pride in representing your brand and explaining your value proposition. We think on our feet and don’t use scripts, so the people we call won’t even realise that we aren’t your employees. Our consultants get rave reviews!
4. We help you break into new markets – we’ve delivered significant, high-value opportunities to our customers in industry sectors they’ve only dreamed of penetrating. We’ve literally seen jaws drop when our clients see who we’ve arranged for them to meet.
5. We generate detailed reporting – we collect a wealth of valuable information, so you always know what’s in the pipeline.
6. We give valuable advice – we can help you improve outcomes through our knowledge and experience.
7. And we do it all with a smile. Because we’re doing what we love.

Ready to walk into the light? Call us.


We’ve just published our first Hot Leads ‘Essential Guide’ to Lead Generation. It’s packed full of practical, step-by-step ‘need to know’ stuff that you well…need to know, to run a telemarketing campaign that will seriously boost your sales pipeline. As written by the experts (that’s us).

Why do you need to read up on telemarketing? Isn’t it all pretty straightforward?

Telemarketing is one of the most effective methods of lead generation. But its success isn’t random, and it doesn’t come without planning.

Great marketers and sales professionals apply best practice to deciding on, setting up, running and measuring a campaign that delivers value – and, importantly, a return on investment. They understand how to amplify a campaign’s impact and to present their brand professionally and consistently.

Become a lead generation know-it-all – for FREE

It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced sales or marketing manager looking for new tips to boost your campaign outcomes, or you’re just exploring the possibilities for your business and want to understand the process.

Either way, we’ve got you covered. Because one thing is for certain – when you download and read our FREE eBook you’ll improve your know-how, starting with:

  1. Know your objectives and define what constitutes success
  2. Know your target market
  3. Know how to get a great prospect list
  4. Know how to design and test a compelling campaign
  5. Know how to work your CRM
  6. Know how to put together the perfect lead gen team
  7. Know your next steps! (Your campaign checklist).

Get your FREE DOWNLOAD here! Happy reading!

We do a lot of work in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector. And while all our clients are important to us, I must admit that helping others ‘do good’ gives us a big case of the warm fuzzies.

There are countless businesses and organisations doing wonderful work in New Zealand, so trying to catch the attention of the people who can help make the difference to their critical and ongoing fundraising efforts is critical.

That’s where we come in. You see, we know that a friendly chat goes a long way towards reminding people that their help is genuinely needed and appreciated.

In the Pink

We recently had a chance to help New Zealand’s Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. Like most NFPs, they need to be sure every marketing initiative is targeted and cost effective.

Nicky Sinclair-Perkins, the Foundation’s Campaigns Manager, called us as they were looking for a way to get new businesses to support their work – in particular their Pink for a Day campaign.

With a limited budget she said it was super important to know that the Foundation’s brand was in safe hands.

Her confidence in us was well placed. We’re passionate about everything we do but this one really struck a chord, as almost everyone in our team knew someone affected by breast cancer. Shockingly, one in nine Kiwi women are diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Here are some far more positive figures. We made 2030 calls and signed up 158 new businesses that wanted to be involved in the Foundation’s work.

We also followed up all those calls with a personalised email, so they really felt they were getting involved and were part of the team. That made a huge difference.

Great results

In the end, one in every four organisations that registered for Pink for a Day came from the people we called.

That meant the Foundation was able to speak to thousands more people about breast cancer awareness. Better still that helped raise over $150,000 for breast cancer education, research and support.

Not only that, but we were also able to give Nicky and her team a list of new businesses that were keen to be involved in the future.

“The results were great,” says Nicky. “It was a successful campaign and we are very happy with the outcome.”

If you’d like to read more about the Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation NZ campaign, then check out the case study.

Having a great pipeline of properties is the lifeblood of any successful real estate business. Of any business, really.

I repeatedly hear of property agents taking a passive approach to building their sales pipelines and wondering why they aren’t doing as well as others. They try everything (including passive tactics like social media, Google AdWords campaigns and paying search engine optimisation specialists) exceptpicking up the phone and putting in the hard yards.

The real estate industry is highly competitive and it’s all about building one-to-one relationships. And like it or not, that requires human contact. Lots of it.

The smart sales team

Steve and Miriam Davis, aka the formidable Team Davis from Harcourts Real Estate, tried all the passive sales methods (see above) on top of their normal strategies, but weren’t getting an ROI on their time, effort or investment.

They knew that their success was based on building strong pipelines using Miriam’s personal touch. Now, she’s a real go-getter when it comes to finding new listings, but the time making calls took her away from doing what she loved – helping people buy and sell properties. While other agents were calling it a day and putting their feet up with a G&T, she was typically back on the phone driving that pipeline.

Great attitude and great for business, but not quite so positive in terms of work/life balance! Team Davis really needed to clone Miriam and her formidable lead generation skills!

Hot Leads to the rescue

Steve checked out our website and was impressed by what our clients had to say about us. And when he discovered we had real estate experience – he was sold.

“Their consultant proved to be extremely good,” said Steve. “She knew the right questions to ask and the right information to gather. She added valuable information to our database and encouraged 50 additional people on our list to sign up for our marketing emails. We’d been struggling to grow our email reach, so what she achieved was superb.”

We ran two 40-hour Team Davis campaigns, generated 27 qualified appointments, and identified a significant number of ‘warm’ leads for Team Davis to nurture. And as Steve said, we grew their marketing list.

Top tips for building pipelines

  • Just do it. It’s an active, one-to-one process. Yes, the passive lead generation tactics all help, but nothing is better than personal contact!
  • Think smart. Pre-empt a telemarketing campaign with a marketing promo (think letterbox drops with a special deal) to significantly raise response rates.
  • Don’t sit on your laurels and admire your pipeline. What’s next? What leads (no matter how distant in the future) should you be keeping ‘warm’ with emails and calls?
  • Get a life. Let us do the prospecting and nurturing calls for you, so you can do what you do well. Sell!
  • Last, check out the full Team Davis case study here.

Let’s face it, as a business owner you probably don’t place as much value on your data as you think. Just take a look at your accounting system, vs. your sales system, vs. your marketing system.

Yep, your sales team want to make sales. But they aren’t worried about updating the bill payer.

Your accountant just wants the books to balance, they don’t care who the decision maker is.

Your marketing team are focused on correct email addresses and the number of times some transient or external telemarketer has used instead of Xtra. Fixing those sorts of mistakes can be time consuming and annoying.

As for you, the business owner, you just want growth and a return on investment from your inbound and outbound sales teams or your external marketing partnerships. And of course, you want your client’s billing details to be accurate, so the bills get paid on time.

So, what’s the problem if a few contact names are wrong? Why should an incorrectly populated address field worry you? If telephone numbers are in multiple different formats, who cares? if email addresses are missing a letter, a full stop, or the correct service provider address – is that such a big deal?

The short answer is ‘yes’.

Here’s why you should care about the accuracy of your data (the long answer)

If a phone number is missing a digit when you need to chase a debtor, your accountant has to check online, or elsewhere, for the correct number. Sure, only a 60 second job. That’s unless the same record has a missing letter in the company name, or part of that name is incorrectly spelled, or maybe the branch address is listed instead of the head office. Okay so now it’s a couple of minutes to sort out. All good. But then again at the rates accountants charge, aren’t you paying over the odds for data cleansing when they do it five times a day?

Or perhaps you think it’s sustainable at that level. But if you looked at every minute your accountant, sales team, marketing team etc. spends each day researching the right contact name, number, job role, phone number, mobile number, DDI, email address, street address, postal address and multiply that by their hourly rate over 12 months – we’re not talking peanuts (as we’re sure you don’t employ monkeys).

And it’s stealing productive time that should be going towards growing your business and making it more profitable.

Another reason why you should love your data

As a professional lead generation business, we utilise a sophisticated, intuitive cloud-based system to run your lead generation campaigns. This maximises the opportunity to generate qualified leads for your business.

We use a streamlined, cost-effective and efficient call making and recording process. We can’t do that off a spreadsheet which has been printed out or has to be kept open on their screens. That’s just downright nasty and cumbersome (and old-fashioned).

Why does this matter? We aim to deliver accuracy, clarity, and brevity in all our reporting, and minimise the time spent in project management and set up. We can’t do this if we are diverting time to repairing unloved and neglected data.

The dirty data list of shame

Lead generation is our business, so we see a lot of data. And sadly, we spend a disproportionate amount of our time correcting that data before we can get on with contacting with your prospects.

Here are some of the issues we most frequently encounter:

  • Incorrectly or inconsistently formatted phone numbers – e.g. – 091234567, 6491234567, +64091234567, +6491234567 and more.
  • Mobile numbers added to the Main Phone field, or vice versa.
  • Multiple phone numbers added in one field.
  • Email addresses in the incorrect field.
  • Incorrectly spelled first and/or last names resulting in incorrectly addressed emails.
  • Inconsistent naming conventions for company names – e.g. ABC Company LTD, A.B.C Company LTD, ABC Limited, and other variations. This often results in duplicate records or multiple calls being placed to the same company unnecessarily – and annoyed prospects.
  • Various business address details, especially in data systems running NZ formats versus US formats. Most CRM, ERP and SAP systems use the US format for addresses.

Who you gonna call?

So, what’s the fastest way to verify address details and update the correct contacts? Picking up the phone is always the quickest option – but your team don’t have time for that, it is Christmas rush after all!

That’s where our Dirty Data Hit Squad comes in. Let us start the big clean up now, so you and your team can start the New Year with clean, green data.


  • Your sales team will have the latest decision maker details for renewing contracts or upselling.
  • Your accountant will have a clear contact to deal with, potentially minimising slow payers.
  • Your marketing team will get minimal to no email bounces.
  • And as the business owner, you’ll have clean, current data so you can hit 2019 hard!

Give me a call. Send me an email. Let’s talk.

We’ve all been there. You generate lots of hype about your event, and everything for the big day has been well organised. But all you end up with is a big space with lots of empty chairs, and piles of uncollected registrant name tags.

It’s not a good look for attendees, and it certainly doesn’t feel good as the event organiser. So, how did you get there?

What you did right

  1.     Right event:You had a good reason to hold an event and a compelling story to attract the attention of your target market. It may have been a new product release, a seminar, a webinar, a value-added networking event, a conference or a business celebration.
  2.     A good list:You had a list of people to invite. You made sure that they were the right people to contact and you had all their current details.
  3.     Meticulous organisation: You completed a run-sheet with all the event tasks, from the venue, catering, speakers, giveaways, agenda, flights and accommodation for out of town speakers, email and/or mailed invites, promotion on social media, a landing page on your website to accept attendee registration, automated reminders,etc. And then you organised it from beginning to end.

So, job done? Well, not quite.

Where it started to go wrong

Using your excellent organisational skills to make sure the event is run seamlessly and professionally, is only half the challenge. The other half is all about getting enough bums on seats to realise a return on investment.

Let’s talk numbers – important ones.

You’d like to have 100 well-qualified attendees turn up on the day. If you expect one person in 10 to accept, your database needs to hold 1,000 targeted contacts. And unless it’s an incredibly compelling event that will attract out-of-towners, they need to be all in the same geographical area to reduce the disinclination to do battle with traffic and travel costs.

Unless you’re Ed Sheeran, you should also anticipate that a staggering 25% of your registered attendees will be no-shows on the day. Even if they’ve paid for their tickets.

While event success can look like a straight numbers game, there are tricks of the trade to improve turnout rates.

So, how do you increase your odds of a good turnout?

We recently worked with The Taupō District Chamber of Commerce and Industry to generate attendees for their first ever large-scale motivational event featuring iconic and inspiring speakers.

The Chamber holds regular after-5 networking events which typically attracts 40-50 attendees. However, this new event was to be something special and pave the way for more.

As well as sending out email invitations, they decided to invest in telemarketing to drive registration numbers and to make follow-up calls the day before to reduce attendee attrition. This was their first ever foray into using telemarketing services.

And it worked a treat.

From a member list of 160 and another 128 non-member contacts we helped them generate an impressive 197 attendees on the day.

But it wasn’t a high-risk strategy for them, as they trusted our abilities and capabilities.

Our 3 secret weapons

  1.    One – Software: Unlike lots of other lead generation businesses who are wedded to spreadsheets, we use dedicated software which provides real-time reporting, so our clients can see how their event numbers are tracking. This gives them time to source more contact lists and step up activities if there aren’t enough registrations.
  2. Two – It’s what we do: While you’d like to think that your sales team or admin staff have the bandwidth and enthusiasm to contact every client and prospect on your invite list to generate committed attendances, it’s not often they have the time to do so on top of their normal work. But for us, it’s our business, and we do it well.
  3. Three – Our people shine. But don’t take our word for it. The Taupō District Chamber of Commerce and Industry got unsolicited feedback from their members on how much they enjoyed talking to ‘the nice lady on the phone’ and that they appreciated the reminder call the day before the event. “In a semi-rural area, it’s that polite, friendly and personal touch that impresses people. More so than an easy-to-ignore email. Thanks, Hot Leads!”

If you’d like to find out more about how we helped The Chamber have a successful and ‘event-full’ day you can read more here.

One of the most short-sighted things you can do in business is to rest on your laurels once you’ve completed a successful sales campaign. And it’s also a waste of the time, money and effort you’ve invested in getting that far. Rather than making a cold start each time you get worried about sales revenue, it’s easier to build on the momentum you’ve already achieved.

Doing it right

The Cerebral Palsy Society of New Zealand are an organisation who know how to do things the right way. As they’re a registered charity, and reliant on the kindness of corporate sponsors and empathetic individuals, they are careful to only invest in activities which help them meet their objectives. So, when they signed up in 2015 to become part of the global Steptember initiative they had a tight marketing budget, and an ambitious fundraising goal firmly in mind.

Building up the steps

Steptember challenges everyday people to walk 10,000 steps a day for 28 days over – you’ve guessed it – September of each year. The programme has already raised almost $9.5M worldwide through corporate sponsorship, with our wonderful Kiwi corporates contributing nearly a million dollars to that total.

To start with, the Society allocated us a small part of their Steptember marketing budget to provide telemarketing support for their other activities. This was the first time they’d ever used a lead gen company, so they were happy to start with a conservative approach.

And it worked. We made our 10% of their budget go a long way!

For every dollar the Society spent with us, we raised $10 of corporate sponsorship for their cause. In fact, telemarketing turned out to be the most successful tactic in the Society’s Steptember marketing kit.

As you can imagine, they were happy and impressed and could see the strategic value in enlisting our services on an ongoing basis.

Let’s do it all again!

By the end of last Steptember’s campaign (see what I did there?) our telemarketing efforts had raised almost $15 for each dollar the Society spent with us. That equals 53% of their total Steptember revenue for 2017.

While we’re always happy to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, we credit the success of Steptember in NZ to the Society’s ability to look beyond their year-by-year success. They accurately measured the results of their marketing activities and saw how they could continue the fundraising momentum gained through previous telemarketing efforts. And they built on it.

As I said, they’re smart – you can Steptember


“It’s easier to grow your business by building on existing success. And if you’re not successful to start with, then find better a better toolkit.”

And you can quote me on that.

PS: If you’d like to give the Cerebral Palsy Society of NZ a helping hand then step right up! You can make a donation here, or preregister your interest for Steptember


Lead gen 101: Your must-have marketing checklist!

Ok, you’re ready to run your first lead generation campaign. You’ve got a targeted and accurate database, a compelling offer and a convincing script. And of course, it goes without saying that you have a professional lead gen team to make the calls, then nurture your pipeline.

But you feel like there’s something missing.

You’re right, there is. Check out our list.

The ‘must-have’ list

  1. Your website. The first place prospects check when they’re interested in your products/solutions is on the internet, therefore your website needs to support and reinforce the professional image of your business. So, in all honesty, how’s it looking? Is it free of spelling mistakes and poorly laid out graphics? Is your ‘offer’ eye-catching and easy to find on the homepage? Does it exactly reflect the campaign messaging, so your prospects immediately know where to go for more information? (And while we’re at it, what happens if they look up your company on LinkedIn?)
  2. A PDF leaflet. Your lead gen expert has had a great call, but the prospect needs that little bit more encouragement to make the decision to buy or meet. Or perhaps they need to share information with others before taking the next step. By emailing a PDF which officially reiterates ‘the offer’ and reinforces your company credentials the level of engagement steps up a notch, and your campaign conversion rate climbs dramatically. If your campaign is to existing customers, you should also consider sending the PDF version of the offer out first as a warm-up tactic.
  3. An AdWord campaign. If your prospect is really just too busy to take it in the offer at the time of the call, they may still mentally file away the information to check on later. And when they need that information again…we know what they do. They Google the keywords they remember from the offer (which will often not include your business name). For example – NZ free 3-stage health check on my accounting software. And you want to be there, on the search results page, when they do.
  4. A landing page. There’s an art to converting sales once your prospect is no longer on the phone. And it’s called a landing page. This page is about the offer and nothing but the offer, and it provides the capture mechanisms (i.e., an e-form) you need as a marketer or sales manager to allow the prospect to easily request more information or to take the next step (or for you to reach out to them!). Make sure your home page banner, LinkedIn or Facebook sponsored ad, PDF, and AdWords all point to your landing page. And embed tracking code, so you know how the prospect ended up there.
  5. Ready-to-go warm up, acknowledgement and thank you emails. Don’t overlook the common courtesies of business engagement. Prepare a branded email template (with room for personalisation) to thank prospects for their interest, confirm appointments or next actions. A great email sent out in advance of a campaign (as long as it’s only to existing contacts or customers, so it complies with the Electronic Messaging Act) can also pave the way to a more responsive reception to a call.
  6. Social media. Make sure you get your offer out via appropriate social media. If you are running a very select campaign, consider using the targeting tools in LinkedIn (and soon to be available through Facebook) to only share the offer with the people you want to engage with. The more awareness you can generate through ‘soft’ channels, the more impact, reach and response you’ll get to your lead gen campaign.

In a nutshell:

Human engagement is still considered to be a major factor in driving most B2B sales opportunities, but a truly integrated approach will lift the performance of your campaign.

You’re busy. But when your phone rings you answer cheerfully (as the effects of the recent holiday haven’t worn off yet).

Then it happens.

‘Hi ! This is Jane Doe from ABC Ltd, and I’m part of the Super-Duper Saving Team. Would you like to get the best price every time you shop, without having to shop around? With our Super-Duper Savings exclusive membership, you will save…’

You’re a) surprised she’s called you on your mobile, must talk to receptionist about giving out that number, b) vaguely irritated she used your first name to presume acquaintance with you, and c) really annoyed that you couldn’t even get a word in edgeways before she started or during her sales spiel.

And that holiday feeling just wore off. If you’re nice, you’ll say ‘thanks for calling, but I’m not interested’ and say goodbye. However, if you’re like most of us, you’ll just hang up.

This type of call is why we disassociate ourselves from telemarketers who provide ‘cold calling’ services. We specialise in lead generation, and we’re a whole different kettle of fish.

Why we’re not cold callers

There’s an art to successfully calling and initiating a positive relationship with someone who is, let’s face it, a total stranger

If their first perception is that you’re a telemarketer reading a script at full speed, you’ve lost an opportunity. And in all likelihood, you won’t win back any lost ground during the course of the call (even if you’re not hung up on).

But it’s not all about the script delivery. This is why we’re so much more effective than the old style ‘cold calling’ telemarketers.

  1. We leverage our professional sales and business experience to call prospects without sounding like cookie cutter telemarketers. We break down inherent barriers by being instantly warm, empathetic and professional – and by listening, not just talking.
  2. We’re trained to call strangers. We not only know the right things to say, but we also know what we’re talking about. As part of our campaign training we learn about the pain points your prospect is experiencing, and how to use this information to engage their attention and interest.
  3. We use scripts. But they are only guidelines, not a stream of words that gives your prospect no opportunity to become involved, and gets their back up and the phone down. We have natural, flowing and intelligent conversations – the sort of high-value exchange of information that well-targeted prospective customers rarely hang up on.
  4. We make sure that your campaign messaging meets your market profile. If your value proposition is missing the mark, we proactively come back to you to discuss how we can achieve higher conversion rates by trying alternative approaches.


After a good call, everyone walks away happy.

Your prospect feels as though they have learned something of value that they can act on to benefit their business or themselves. You achieve a higher conversion rate, resulting in a more compelling ROI on your lead generation campaign investment.

And we have done what comes naturally to us, which makes us feel great. High-five!