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The following is an article relating to the telemarketing industry including products and services in our business areas.
Found on Online Women's Business Center
Your marketing strategy may call for selling some or all of your
products and services over the telephone. Telephone sales, or telemarketing,
is a widespread, efficient and effective method for making contact
with prospects and closing sales. Telemarketing is also an effective
method for selling new or additional products and services to existing
Today's telemarketer, however, has to break through more "communication
clutter" than ever before. You're not only competing with messages
from other telemarketers for prospects' attention, but also with
advertising, news broadcasts and a myriad of other marketing communications
By its very nature, telemarketing creates a unique selling environment.
You're solely dependent on the words you say and the tone in your
voice. Check out telephone skills
for some helpful hints on using your voice to show your
personality over the phone.
It's important to realize that telemarketing is not an entire sales
strategy. Instead, it's just one method of performing the sales
process. And, as is true with other selling methods, success
in closing sales over the telephone is dependent on finding
qualified prospects to call.
Benefits of Telemarketing
- Increases your sales territory (you can win customers nationwide
or globally without leaving your home or office) while reducing
the cost of "sales visits."
- Increases your efficiency because you can reach more prospects
per hour, day and week by phone than you can with in-person sales
- Provides an effective way to perform relationship
marketing. You can use the phone to stay in touch with
existing customers, introduce new products to them and make additional
- Allows for interaction and personal selling. You can immediately
respond to feedback from prospects while you're engaged in the
sales process. This differs from less interactive sales methods,
such as direct mail.
There are also a few drawbacks to telemarketing:
- High "acquisition cost" per sale for purchased prospect
lists that typically contain many unqualified prospects. For example,
if you purchase a list of home owners in a particular zip code,
you'll most likely have a low number of interested and qualified
prospects. This is not to say, however, that it's not a worthwhile
way to gain customers!
- Once a novel way of selling, telemarketing has unfortunately
moved into the category of a nuisance to many consumers.
Tips from Successful Telemarketers
- You have just a few seconds to make a good initial impression
on the phone. Your careful preparation for the call can increase
your chances of having a conversation with a prospect rather than
hearing that familiar dial tone.
- Always be courteous and professional. Remember, you're a sales
professional who just happens to use the phone to sell.
- Be sincere at all times. People will sense insincerity on the
phone even though they can't see your facial expressions or other
non-verbal communication clues such as hand gestures, head nods
and body posture.
- Keep your work area neatit'll keep you focused and organized.
- Dress like a sales professional even if your prospects will
never see you.
- Keep a mirror handy so you can check to see if you're smiling
- Don't practice on prospects with a few warm-up calls
at the beginning of the day or week. Role play with someone if
you need to, or just talk out loud in an imaginary conversation
to warm up.
- Meeting annual goals requires setting and meeting daily goals.
Record you progress on a daily basis.
- Keep records of the contacts you make for future reference.
Note dates for follow-up.
- Keep track of your success rate in getting through to the decision
maker or closing a sale. This will help you identify and correct
any weaknesses in your strategy or approach.
- Use your prime selling timethe hours your prospects are
most easily reached by phone and are the most receptivefor
selling activities only. (Experience will quickly let you know
when your prospects are most receptive!) Conduct homework, research,
planning or other administrative activities at other times.
- Use past experiences to help you prepare for and react to current
situations. For example, if you continually meet the same objection
to buying what you're offering, brainstorm all the different ways
you might meet this objection so you'll be prepared the next time
it pops up.
- Develop a script for the call to keep you on track but never
read directly from it. Write the script as you talk. That
way, when you vary from the script, your words and phrases will
- Consider using introductory or follow-up letters, product fliers
or other marketing materials.
- Use other "communication" tools as necessary to support
your telephone sales, including cellular phones, fax machines,
hands-free headsets, email, etc. For example, part of your selling
process may be to offer prospects a product information sheet
by fax or email.
- End calls quickly, but politely, when it becomes evident that
a prospect is either not qualified for your product (you're selling
a dating service and the prospect is married) or the prospect
is not going to buy. Your time on the phone is precious. Spend
The Telephone Sales Presentation
A telephone sales presentation moves through stages, just like
an in-person sales call does.
At the beginning of a call, telemarketers qualify prospects
to determine if they are interested in talking and are, indeed,
viable prospects. Next, telemarketers gather information
from prospects to uncover problems or unmet needs and determine
how the product or service they're selling will help prospects.
After gathering information, telemarketers introduce prospects
to the benefits, features and proof of how their product or
service will help prospects. Finally, when telemarketers feel prospects'
questions and concerns about a product or service are addressed,
they attempt to close the sale.
Sales Presentation Tips
- Maintain an attitude that you are seeking to help your prospect
meet a need or solve a problem, rather than force the sale
of a product or service.
- Know your product and be enthusiastic about it! If you're not
enthusiastic, your prospect certainly won't be.
- Plan what you're going to say. Be prepared for objections or
other obstacles prospects may present. Practice, practice, practice
your introductory remarks to fine-tune a strategy that works for
you. If possible, role play with a friend or tape record yourself.
- Be brief and to the point. Your telephone call is most likely
an unwanted interruption for the prospect rather than a welcomed
- Begin all calls calmly and professionally. Identify yourself
by name, state what company you represent (even if it's just you)
and where you're calling from. For example, "Hello Ms. Johnson.
This is Betty Jones from BJ Catering Service here in Sussex."
Finish your opening statement with a "verbal handshake"
phrase such as, "How are you today?"
- After the opening statement, state why you're calling.
- When possible, find a "hook" to interest prospects.
A hook might be using a third party referral such as, "Mary
Smith suggested I call you. . ." Prospects are more likely
to listen when someone they know recommended the contact.
- Let prospects know you're serving others like them. For example,
"ABC Company in your building is one of my clients. I think
you might also benefit from my cleaning service."
- If your call is cold (you don't have a hook or other connection),
let prospects know how you selected them for your call. For
example, "I'm calling advertising agencies in the tri-county
area to . . ."
- Don't use outlandish, insulting or probing statements. A few
extreme examples include: "Would you be interested in doubling
your money in 30 days?" (outlandish) "Do you want the
brakes to stop your car when you press the pedal?" (insultingof
course you do!) "How much life insurance do you currently
have?" (too probing and private for an opening statement)
- When gathering information, keep the number of questions between
three and five.
- Listen when prospects interrupt you to talk.
- Remember a simple, straightforward way to handle the familiar
prospect objection: "I'm really not interested. . ."
Professional telemarketers use an "agree, and" tactic
upon hearing this or a similar remark. A sample response is: "Many
of our customers tell us that at first (agree with prospects)
before they've had a chance to learn about some of the benefits
we offer." (then tell them something new)
- Identify the decision maker as soon as possible. Finding the
decision maker in small companies is usually easy because it's
most often the business owner. In larger companies, learn from
switchboard operatorstheir role is to help callers.
- When you reach decision makers on the phone, verify that they
make purchase decisions for the product or service you're calling
about. Ask if there is anyone else who should be included in sales
discussions. Be willing to hold a conference call to pull all
of the necessary decision makers together.
- The most important part of a telephone sales presentation is
the close. Allow enough time for it.
Getting Past Screeners and Gatekeepers
Many busy executives ask their secretaries or other office staff
members to act as gatekeepers (they let only important people or
items through the "gate" to the boss) or to screen calls.
Busy peopleyour prospectssimply can't take calls from
every sales person.
- When you meet with gatekeepers and screeners, be brief and direct.
State your name, company name and ask to speak with your prospect
by name. "My name is Sally Smith with ABC Services. May I
please speak with Ms. Garcia?"
- Some screeners may ask questions such as "Does Ms. Garcia
know you?" or, "May I tell her the nature of your call?"
If so, be pleasant and firm and provide additional general information.
Remember, you're not trying to sell your product to the screener.
Your goal is to get to the decision-maker.
- Gatekeepers don't try to keep everyone away from their boss,
only the unimportant calls. Projecting confidence and authority
will help you become one of the important calls.
Some successful telemarketers never leave messages. They simply
persist in placing calls. If you decide to leave a message, keep
a few things in mind:
- Speak with confidence and authority.
- When you're able to talk with a secretary or with the assistant
to the person with whom you'd like to talk, ask about a time that
might be best to call back. Offer choices. Rather than, "When
is a good time to call?", you might say, "Is morning
or afternoon best?" or "Would 2:00 or 4:00 be a better
time to call?"
- When asked if you'd like to leave a message, you might state,
"I'll be in and out of meetings; it's probably best if I
just call again." This lets the screener know that you're
a busy professional, too.
- Try to call early in the morning or late in the evening when
secretaries might not be in the office screening calls.
When Telemarketing is a Component of an Overall
Your sales strategy may call for a store location or in-person
sales calls. Telemarketing, as one component of your sales strategy,
can contribute to your sales success. It's certainly more efficient
and cost-effective for you to telephone prospects to introduce yourself
and make appointments for sales calls than it would be to travel
to their locations to do the same thing! You can use the techniques
outlined here for this type of telemarketing. The goal would be
to complete a task such as:
- set an appointment for a sales presentation,
- find out who the appropriate person is to contact for a telephone
or in-person sales call,
- introduce existing customers to new products or services,
- close a sale after an in-person sales presentation.
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