Telemarketing: Both an Art and a Science

Tips for Success, Part 1

The printed word in either your, ads, direct mail or on your web site, no matter how well thought out, may not get the right message to your respective audience. This is why direct phone contact has a high pay off if done correctly. The casual off the top "Hi there how are you" is really a waste of time and often counter productive. You need to grab the call recipient's positive attention quickly and a well thought out program is imperative.

Objectives

Clear Cut objectives must be established in advance. For example, if the purpose of the telemarketing program is to find out critical selling information about an account and to set up appointments for sales, the following might be identified as objectives:

  • The identity of the final decision maker for the product or service being sold. This may be at the VP level such as CTO, CFO or CEO.
  • The identity of decision influencers. There are usually one or more other people who have high impact on the final decision. They may be technical, financial, marketing, sales and operations experts. You must be prepared to address each in their areas of interest.
  • The budget considerations? Are the appropriate funds available, approved and consistent with the anticipated sales activity? If the prospect company is not a sales prospect now, you need to know.
  • What options, other than what you are proposing, are available to the company? To move forward with the "sale of appointments" you must know the strengths and weakness of your competitor(s) and have a plan for dealing effectively with each situation that might be brought up.

The program time lines should also be established early. These might include such things as to the approval of objectives and approaches, start of telemarketing activities, and final completion date.

Written Presentation

How do we engage the key person to get their attention within the first 15 seconds and guide the conversation to a successful conclusion? This doesn't usually happen when the telemarketer shoots from the hip. The presentation must be thoughtfully developed and written down. Presentation concepts must then be internalized by the telemarketer. The script should never be read over the telephone . . . it will sound like it. The telemarketer must also flexibily adjust the timing and sequence of the presentation concepts to best accommodate the concerns and needs of the prospect at the other end of the phone line. Here is where role-playing practice can be very valuable in smoothing out the obstacles and roadblocks that can and will surface in actual presentations.

Not Everyone Can Effectively Telemarket

Regardless of how well prepared the program, the end results will be dramatically impacted by the telemarketer's ability to bond with the telephone contacts. The telemarketer must adjust his or her delivery by responding in the right tone, cadence, and volume level to mirror back the called party.

The selection of individuals that will engage in the outbound activity is very important. Most any personality can adapt in the short term. However given the rigors of being on the phone 6 hours per day, five days per week, month after month, and the high ratio of rejection versus success, the burn out rate can be very high. It's not for everyone. In fact telemarketing professionals are quite unique. Not only can they handle the repetitive nature of the task but they have exceptional talent in their listening skills, their sensitive to the feelings of others and ability to engage others in meaningful (guided & probing) conversations. If you have someone in-house that has the characteristics for success, use them. Otherwise, you might want to look for professionals on the outside.

Managing The Program

Reporting is important to ensure that the right number of calls per hour and the closure rate are on target. A daily log is needed that records:

  1. The Start & Stop time
  2. Contact company name
  3. Telephone number dialed
  4. A code that reflects the results:
    • Completed
    • Call back
    • Referral
    • Dead

Weekly and monthly statistical reports are required to track the progress and rationalize the phone charges. The form and format is unique to each Company.

Joe was a member of The Quest Team who passed away in December 2002.

div>