A New Approach to Telephone Evangelism

The Easy Way to Contact Thousands.

Harold Kaufmann is pastor of the Danville, Virginia, church

ARE  YOU  FLOODED with names of interests,  and  floundering not  knowing  how  to  handle them  all?  I  found it that  way,  but  not  anymore.  Telephone evangelism changed all that.Remember the days we climbed stairs and  fought  traffic  all  day  long,  only to find one  or two at home and then some times  little  or  no  interest? We  tried to do  something  about  it,  and  our  ideas worked.

During my  series  of meetings in Duluth, Minnesota,  about ten years  ago,  I began  screening  my  interests  by  telephone,  making  appointments  to  visit those who seemed to be interested. Over the  years  we  continued  to  perfect  our technique  until  today  the  telephone  is one  of  the  greatest  tools  at  our  command. We  now  contact thousands of interests  annually,  a  feat  never  before possible.

Here is my approach:

1.  All  names  of  interests  are  collected. We  write to the Voice  of Prophecy,  Faith for Today,  It Is Written, The Quiet Hour, Hour of Prophecy,  Signs of the  Times,  These  Times,  Message,  and others.  The  guest  book  in  the  church foyer is  a  good  source.  Ingathering and literature evangelist contacts are prime. While visiting in the homes of our members  I  gather  the  names  of  relatives, neighbors,  and  friends  that  should  be worked  with.  (Often  we  have  gleaned names in this fashion that we sent on to other workers.)

2.  The  names  are  alphabetized  and recorded  with their telephone  numbers on  visitation cards  and in a notebook.

3.  Each  home  is  contacted  by  telephone.  Appointments  are then made to deliver  a  free  bonus  gift when  good  interest is  shown. The free gift is the gift Bible  with  lessons,  a  set  of  Amazing Facts,  or  other  comparable  material.  A layman is chosen to accompany the pas tor  on  the  initial  visit  when  possible. The  layman  will  often  do  most  of  the follow-up work.

4.  Our plan is  to begin meetings two months from the time we begin phoning. We  plan two  series  of  meetings  a year. Every one listed in our files  receives an invitation  by  mail  to  all  outreach  pro grams.

5.  During  the  series  the  better  interests  will  be  contacted  again  by telephone, in addition to personal visits.

6.  We  place  the  name  of  each one  to be  followed  up  on  a local  map to aid in follow-up.  While  on  the  telephone  we ask  for  directions  to  the  individual's home.  We  also  check  to  make  sure  we have the correct address.

7.  To  avoid duplication, each name is underlined  in  the  telephone  book  and given  a  code  number  (A-l,  A-2,  etc.). Names  not  appearing  in the telephone book are written in the margin.

8.  Church members are asked to place the names of the folks they are visiting on  their prayer  list.  Praying  for  others builds  enthusiasm for meetings.

As  a  result,  doors  that  would  never open  before  now  open  to  you  as  to  a friend. You know before you begin your series  of  meetings,  pretty  much,  who the  interests  are  that  will  be  coming. Besides,  our  members  become  enthusiastic  when  it  comes  to  literature  and magazine  promotion,  because  they now see  the  results  of  their  giving.  The greatest benefit of all is that the worker no  longer  flounders  under the load of  a large  interest  list  he  cannot  possibly contact. He can sieve through thousands of  names annually and zero in on those ready to make a  decision.  In short, save much time. And last, but not least these days, you save  gas.

The art of  speaking over the phone is extremely  important.  You  must  sound enthusiastic,  happy,  personable,  and kind. The one you are talking to should be  able to  discern  from your  voice  that you like them.

Anyone  who  enters  this  field  of  ad venture  with  a  feeling  of  boredom  or with the feeling, I'm just doing my duty, isn't  fooling  anybody but himself. Your first  sentence  will  give  you  away.  It's not so  much what you  say, but how you say it that counts.

In  your  telephone  conversation  you will  represent yourself as  a  representative  of  the  Voice  of  Prophecy,  Signs  of the Times,  or whatever the case may be.

After introducing yourself, ask about the  product.  "Do  you like it?"  If it is  a journal,  ask,  "Did  you  order  the  paper or  is  it  a  gift?"  If  a  gift,  ask,  "Do  you know who sent it?" Most often it is sent by  an  Adventist  relative  or  friend.  Let the prospect expound.  Suppose the journal  came  from  his  or  her  mother.  In addition  you  are  told  that  his  or  her mother  has  always  been  an  Adventist.  This tells you a lot about your prospect's background.

If  favorable to  the message, you may wish  to  ask,  "In the  light  of  the  Bible courses you have taken, and your knowledge  about  Seventh-day  Adventists,  I would  like  to  ask  you  this  question, 'What  do  you  think  about the  Sabbath question?' "  Let them talk.  If favorable, you may ask, "Do you mind if I pray that the Lord will help you to begin keeping the Sabbath?" (The prayer is offered privately, not over the telephone.)

Tell the folks,  "I have a special bonus gift  for  all  our  subscribers  (or  friends). The  bonus  is  absolutely  free.  I  could bring  it by  this  afternoon. Will  you be home?  Is  your  address  still  (check  the address  on  your list)? What is the  best way to get there? I'm looking forward to meeting you.  'Bye  for now."

We  gain  all  the  helpful  information possible  in  our initial  call.  It gives us a decided  advantage.

Don't  be  afraid to  get started in telephone  evangelism;  as  in  all  other  endeavors, practice makes perfect.

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Harold Kaufmann is pastor of the Danville, Virginia, church

April 1976

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