Some companies approach telemarketing as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.
Either the customer is going to respond positively to your sales invitation or not, so the focus becomes increasing the call volumes and possibly refining the prospect list.
Although there is something to be said for call volumes and prospect qualification, it's a mistake to rely on them as the pillars of your telemarketing strategy. The simple truth is that every call has value because every conversation represents a potential sales conversion. Sometimes the highest rates of improvement are achieved when call center managers focus on helping their team refine their telemarketing skills – not when they pull out all the stops to increase volumes.
No one said telemarketing was going to be easy. But telemarketing becomes a lot easier once your team has a firm grip on selling fundamentals and telemarketing techniques. Here's what they need to know.
- Know your goals. As a manager, it's important to make sure your team knows what they're trying to accomplish before they pick up the phone. Most of the time, the goal will be to close the sale of a product or service. But longer sales cycles require many other steps before the close. Sometimes the goal will be to obtain the name of the decision maker, to provide information about the product, or to follow up on a previous sales contact.
- Have a plan. Good telemarketers enter sales conversations with a clear plan. Call scripts are extremely useful in telemarketing because they standardize the plan for all of the company's phone-based sales reps. But even small companies that only rarely engage in telephone sales can benefit from creating a brief written plan that quickly gets the prospect's attention and encourages them to take the next step in the sales cycle.
- Respect your prospects. Telemarketing firms and call center reps have to maintain a high level of respect for prospects. Prospects aren't just sales marks – they're people with busy schedules and limited patience for talking about the merits of your products and services. Try to get to the point as quickly as possible, listen to their input, and (of course) comply with laws that are designed to protect their personal privacy.
- Pique their interest. Once you've laid the groundwork for the call, your primary focus should be on piquing the prospect's interest. An effective strategy is to employ a sales technique that encourages the prospect to suggest the close rather than leveraging hard close techniques. The idea is to focus your technique on gaining the prospect's trust, informing them about the product, and enticing them to reach the right conclusions.