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.