Before you start dialing away, make sure you have a subscription account number. Here’s what that is and how to get one.
For a savvy salesperson, telesales can be one of the best approaches for connecting with current and future customers. Picking up the phone is simple, it’s quick, and there’s potential for the ROI to be enormous. You don’t need a fancy office or even need a big budget for overhead. To be successful in telesales, you need a phone, a computer, and dialing software. That’s it. Almost.
There is one essential item you need if you plan to make sales calls: a subscription account number (SAN). Your subscription account number is your key to accessing the National Do Not Call Registry. How does it all work? And why do you need it?
In one word: compliance.
Use TCPA-compliant software like Call Logic so you can stop worrying and start focusing on your business. Schedule a free demo right now to find out more!
Why a subscription account number is one of the most critical pieces of your telesales strategy
We explore the topic of compliance somewhat regularly here. In most cases, telesales falls under the purview of the Federal Trade Commission through the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) and the Federal Communications Commission through the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
The TSR and the TCPA include a lot of information about telesales regulations, requirements, exceptions, penalties, and so on. Even though the regulations are highly detailed, they could arguably be boiled down into some straightforward directives:
- Tell people who you are and why you’re calling
- Don’t call people before eight in the morning or after nine at night
- Don’t try to trick people into buying something
- Don’t commit fraud
- Don’t harass or threaten anyone
- Don’t call them if they tell you not to
You have a lot of control over most of those regulations. It’s that last one that you need some help with. Why? Because of the Do Not Call Registry. By adding their numbers to the Registry, consumers are telling you they don’t want you to call them.
Here’s where your subscription account number comes in. According to the FTC, “all telemarketers calling consumers in the United States are required to download the numbers on the National DNC Registry to ensure they do not call consumers who have registered their phone numbers.”
To back up the regulation, if you don’t access the Registry and place any telesales calls, “even to numbers NOT on the registry,” you could be looking at a $43,280 fine – per call. Yikes!
There is good news, though. It’s not hard to get a subscription account number.
Getting your subscription account number: the nitty-gritty
First, determine whether or not you need a copy of the DNC list. There are exemptions, but generally speaking, the FTC states that “if the calls are made to induce the purchase of goods, services, or a charitable contribution, the company is engaging in ‘telemarketing.'”
Do you need one? Okay, here’s what happens next:
1. Register your company.
Go to the telemarketer section of the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry, and click on “Register New Users.”
2. Fill out the profile information.
Then you will need to create a profile and provide information about your business. The FTC will give you an organization ID and password on the Create a Profile – Complete page. Write them down! The FTC will not email this information to you.
Once you get your confirmation email, click the provided link and log in with the ID and password that you just wrote down.
3. Choose your area codes.
Subscribe to the area codes you plan to call and pay your subscription fee. (Your first five area codes are free.) You can select area codes by state, enter specific area codes, or select all area codes in the United States.
4. Certify that you will abide by telesales regulations.
Once your subscription is activated (this may take up to one business day), you can download phone numbers from your subscription list.
If you’ve ever done your taxes online or filled out a registration form online, the process will seem familiar. Even if you haven’t, the website walks you through each step. The hardest part, potentially, is determining which area codes you want to subscribe to. This might be simple enough if you are only making sales calls in a state with limited area codes, like Utah or Nebraska. It could get a bit more complicated if you are selling regionally in the northeast or another densely populated part of the country.
How much will this cost you?
For FY 2020, yearly access to the Registry is $65 per area code, with a maximum charge of $17,765 to access all area codes in the United States and territories.
Your subscription account number is good for one year starting on the “first day of the month in which your subscription becomes active.”
The Registry itself is updated every day, but you are not required to download the list each day. In fact, there is a “Change List” that will give you just the numbers that have been added since your last download. And the FTC only recommends downloading the entire list every six months.
Safe harbor conditions
What happens in the meantime if you accidentally call a number that you didn’t realize was added to the list? You do have some leeway here. The FTC provides a safe harbor under certain conditions. Those include:
- You must have written procedures that outline how to handle “consumers’ requests that they not be called”
- You have verified staff training in telesales compliance
- You must maintain an “entity-specific” Do Not Call list
- You must keep documentation of procedures to prevent calling numbers on the DNC list
- You must monitor and enforce DNC compliance
- The call you make to a number on the DNC Registry is in error
It is worth noting, however, that while a limited number of mistakes could pass as an honest oversight, a high rate of errors may indicate noncompliance and could subject you to investigations and fines. And as previously mentioned, making sales calls without registering for a subscription account number could result in some hefty fines.
One more crucial piece we’d like to point out is this: you don’t have to review and sort through the DNC list constantly if you use Call Logic. Our auto dialing software features real-time scrubbing of national and state DNC lists!
Stay in compliance with software that knows the rules. Check out a free demo right now to see how our system helps keep you out of trouble.