A few years ago, my brother was in Northern Virginia working political campaigns. During that time, there were periods when he and his coworkers had to call as many people as possible in a short amount of time.
At one point, my brother led a “get out the vote” campaign during which a staff of 50 made around 80,000 calls over four nights. And they did so while working only a couple hours each night, as well as some extra time in the morning. (He does note that he had a very efficient team.)
The only way they were able to accomplish such a high volume of calls in such a short period of time was through using software to help them make the calls.
There are other professions in which people need to call a large number of people in as little time as possible. One of them is sales. And a solution that is streamlining how people in sales do their jobs is PhoneBurner, a power dialer that reduces delays and increases engagement. Brothers John and Paul Rydell cofounded the company, motivated by a desire to help salesmen and women do their jobs more efficiently.
Saving Precious Time
PhoneBurner eliminates valuable time you might otherwise spend looking up numbers and dialing them by hand. You also avoid wasting time leaving voicemails for every person who does not answer your calls.
Instead, PhoneBurner leaves your pre-recorded messages while you move on to calling your next contact. That, however, is just one main advantage of a software that organizes and manages all of the pertinent information you need to know regarding each of your clients.
I signed up for a free trial with PhoneBurner and found the platform user-friendly and helpful. It’s also conveniently cloud-based, so it’s not necessary to install anything to use it.
With the free trial, I received 60 minutes of calling time and was able to test out all of PhoneBurner’s basic features. I also benefited from a free webinar that helped me become more familiar with the software.
I only used up my minutes when actually dialing people. They did not count toward any of the time I spent adding contacts, creating and uploading voicemails, or configuring my settings.
My first step with using PhoneBurner was to record several voicemails for various groups of customers. I don’t own my own business, but I am more than a little obsessed with coffee. So I pretended I had my own coffee roasting company.
I divided my contacts into three groups: one that likes extremely dark roasts, one that likes light roasts, and one that likes expensive, rare varieties of coffee. I then created three voicemails to leave for each group.
There are two ways you can upload a voicemail to your PhoneBurner account. One option is to call the number PhoneBurner provides and then enter your PIN. You say your voicemail over the phone, and the software uploads it to your account. Simply refresh the page and then you can play back the voicemail and name it.
The other way you can save voicemails is to record your own audio file and upload it yourself. I had some difficulty with this method since the required format is MP3. I struggled to find a way of saving an MP3 file that had a good enough quality—my recording sounded very tinny. Still, because it is easy to create voicemails by using the first method, I don’t see the second as being a significant obstacle.
You can delete your voicemails at any point, as well as rearrange their order. Just don’t forget to save your changes each time you alter something.
I next added contacts to my account. If you decide to add them individually, you simply click “Add Contact.” A box pops up where you can fill in the person’s information. There’s also a place where you can write any notes you have about your contacts, which is a very useful feature. For example, in my brother’s situation, it was important to have an idea of people’s party affiliations before calling them.
Because I had not yet created folders for my groups, the software automatically saved the information in the generic “Contacts” folder. Once the contacts are added, PhoneBurner displays each person’s location and the local time. This feature is advantageous since timing is important when it comes to calling people.
After adding my contacts, I created three folders and sorted my people into each one based on the type of coffee the groups would be likely to buy.
Import a List
Your other option for adding clients to your account is to import them from somewhere else. This method is obviously a lot more efficient if you have hundreds or thousands of contacts already saved in another location.
PhoneBurner can import info from a variety of locations, including Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo!, or Excel. I tested out Excel. PhoneBurner doesn’t accept XLSX files, so I simply saved my list as a CSV and had no problems uploading it.
After I added the file, PhoneBurner wanted to know what categories of information I had for each contact (phone number, location, etc.). I could add a custom field if PhoneBurner didn’t already have the option I needed. Then the information was added to my contact list in my account. The process was easy and smooth.
Another useful feature was having the option to save my categories as a template for future lists I might need to import.
Configuring Your Settings
As a new user, you’ll want to set up and customize your dial sessions before you start calling people. You can do so by going to Dial Sessions and clicking on PhoneBurner Settings.
In your settings, you can choose details such as how long you want the phone to ring before moving on to the next call or whether you want to hear the phone ringing while you call.
The Dispositions section allows you to determine the actions PhoneBurner will take when you press a button (e.g., send an email). PhoneBurner has a No Answer set of buttons, which include Busy Signal, Voicemail, etc., and a Live Answer set of buttons. You can edit and delete the buttons, as well as add your own.