Useful techniques that will significantly improve your performance and earnings as a telemarker
What is telemarketing? It can be defined as the marketing of goods or services by means of telephone calls, typically unsolicited, to potential customers.
These days all sorts of products and services are being sold via telemarketing including investments, loans, charitable donations, energy solutions, warranties, cell phone plans and software.
Telemarketing covers both B2C or B2B. There are different techniques for each.
Further, each telemarketing campaign has different objectives depending on the company you work for, the type of product or service you are selling and the target audience. These objectives include appointment setting, account opening or a simple introduction for a follow up call.
Telemarketing teams are usually structured into groups by seniority, skill and experience level with the most senior closing deals and the most junior setting appointments.
Success is measured by a number of metrics including value of deals closed, number of calls made, total daily call time, appointments set etc.
This article focuses on a few key techniques to help improve your productivity and effectiveness as a telemarketer. Whether you are only just starting out or are a seasoned telemarketer this article is worth reading.
I have managed numerous teams of telemarketers over the years selling everything from investment products to event staffing for weddings and corporate events. Many of those companies were the most successful in their industry. The product isn’t important. It comes down to a few basics that if mastered will result in a noticeable improvement in job satisfaction and an increase in earnings.
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They say hard work trumps talent every day of the week. I agree. It doesn’t matter if you are working remotely or from an office, discipline is important. Discipline is even more crucial when working remotely. What does discipline look like?
Well for starters it translates into hard work. The willingness to focus on the job at hand without being distracted. Single minded focus for long periods of time without having to take constant cigarette and coffee breaks. Ignoring office politics and concentrating on exceeding your personal sales targets.
Another saying goes, you are only as good as your last sale. In telemarketing that means just because you make your quota that isn’t an excuse to sit back and take it easy. The most successful operators will plow on and get ahead of the game. You can never take your foot off the gas in sales. Never.
Working from home poses additional challenges and distractions. Discipline is even more imperative. A few tips include setting targets for how many calls to make before you take a break. Move around. Don’t stay glued to your chair as that will sap your energy. Don’t finish your day until you have exceeded your target. Never end the day or a session on a low, always end it with a positive call. If you have a string of no answers and no’s keep dialing until you break the pattern even if you eat into your break time. It’s important for your moral.
Start with a strategy. This only really applies if you are starting from scratch and are tasked with writing a script. The bottom line is, don’t hit the phones until you have formed your strategy. Aim to work smart.
Sales is all about energy. The client must feel the energy flowing through the phone. That will manifest itself in your tone, upbeat and your choice of words. Start by smiling. The rest will flow from there. If you are slouching in your chair and feeling glum with a face that looks like it has witnessed a major trauma it is highly unlikely you will inspire anyone. It is also unlikely you are going to even motivate yourself. Think of positive thoughts, stand up or sit up right, smile and start dialing.
A wise man once said, practice makes perfect. Practice certainly doesn’t make perfect but the more you practice the better you will get. You must however be adaptable and quickly establish what works and what doesn’t. Be willing to experiment. Another tip is don’t delay getting on the phone, that is the only way to improve your presentation. Call a few of the weak leads to begin with before you start calling the hot leads.
Study the objections that you expect a prospect to throw at you. You should know these like the back of your hand. Ideally get a friend or colleague to fire questions at you as you practice a dry run. As a manager you should ensure that a new recruit should rehearse his perfected pitch in a pressurized environment. In my case we would have the new recruit stand on a chair in front of the 30 man sales room and pitch as objections got shouted across the room at the new recruit. If you can survive that you can survive anything. It is a right of passage which also motivates the new recruit and demonstrates to them that they are better than they ever thought they could be. It is all about belief.
In the cult sales movie Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin’s mantra is Always Be Closing – ABC.
The bottom line is we should always have a close in mind. A random conversation is not going to yield anything. When you talk to a girl in a bar if you left without asking for her number you would be a little pissed, right? Damn right. The same goes in sales. You have to work up to the close. What form that close takes doesn’t matter but everything leads to the close, an appointment, another call, asking for their credit card information. Rehearse the close and the lead up to the close.
A good lead in is, “the reason for the call today Mr Jones is…’
Everyone wants to know the reason. Once the reason is established the next stop is the close. “What I would like to do next is arrange a follow up call with you so we can go into a little more detail. What is your schedule looking like for next week for a follow up call?”
B2B v’s B2C
There are some differences between contacting a consumer compared to a business. The main difference is handling the gatekeeper who we have to maneuver past in order to reach the decision maker. Strategy is more important when selling to the B2B sector.
When attempting to reach a general manager at a hotel or restaurant for example in the majority of cases the problem will be getting someone on the line. The main problem is when we are trying to speak to a CEO or other C level executive or so-called important person. If they have an assistant that is where the problems arise. A good technique is to ask for the person as if you know them, “Is John around please?”
“Who is it?”
If she continues with the questions, as in “what is it regarding?”
You can say, “just tell him I am following up after we spoke last week.”
Usually in B2B sales the sales process is longer, potentially following a four or five step close.
It may seem obvious but we must have a positive mindset in the sales business. The fear of failure or rejection has to be forgotten about. That is why your posture, standing up right and facial expression, smile, will empower you and help reinforce or even create a positive ass kicking mindset.
A positive mindset does not mean ‘ramming the product down the clients throat until they choke on it’, it means being enthusiastic, excited and informative and of course asking for the sale or the appointment. It means accepting rejection without even thinking about it. It should be looked at as a necessary good to find quality leads. Move on quick with the faith that the next call will result in a close. Faith not hope. Hope is for losers.
I’ll leave you with two thoughts and two of the most popular questions in sales job interviews.
Always sell yourself, not the product first. That is why mindset is so important. The instant connection you make with the potential client will dictate whether you have a client by the end of the call. A small bit of random small talk always helps too. But relevant small talk.
Finally, one of the most popular objections is, “Let me think about it”. Here are a few possible responses to this common hurdle.
“That’s great! While you think about it, is there any information about pricing, options, financing or features I can send you or any other questions I can answer for you right now?”
Or a more direct approach may be more appropriate. “What would it take to get a ‘yes’ from you today?” Or you can explain that an offer is only available until a specific date. Ask whether you can call back before that date.
This is my personal favorite.
“Great! I will add a reminder to follow up and see if you have any questions while you weigh your options. Also, let’s schedule a call on [time and date] to talk further about our product/service.”
There is an answer for every objection. The skill can be learnt but you must resist the temptation to end the call and move on. Giving up early is one of the biggest mistakes in sales.. You won’t turn around every client but you will turn some of them and the client will respect your persistence. They won’t respect desperation however or a hard sell. Avoid these two imposters.
Banner Image: Glengarry Glen Ross sales movie poster. Image Credit – duncan cumming Licensed by CC