To make Calls that work you need to know the Telemarketing Rules and how to apply them. You also need to work on your Telemarketing Skills and your telephone technique if you truly want to see top results.
What are Telemarketing Calls?
Quite simply Telemarketing is one of many names given to the process of; sourcing, selling to and servicing clients using the telephone.
The telephone can be used as a tool to find clients that want your product, generate leads, as a tool to inform people about your product, to follow up with interested clients, to book appointments to see prospective clients or to make a sale.
Of course the telephone is a tool used by most business in some way or another.
It pays to have good telephone techniques even if you are not a Sales person or Telemarketer making calls. Everyone in every job sells something, even if it is just selling your boss on why you are the best person for your job!
The majority of Telemarketing calls will be made from a Call Centre. Of course Telemarketing calls will also be used by Sales Professionals, Business Owners, Multi level Marketers and Consultants among many other professionals.
Call Centers are generally either inbound or outbound based.
In an inbound Call Center the main type of selling is up-selling existing customers on your product or service. The main purpose of an inbound Call Center is usually Customer Service. Although we will talk about telemarketing skills and telephone techniques in general and about up-selling, Customer Service is not the focal point of my work here.
An outbound Call Center is a whole different Ball Game. In fact I am excited even writing those words! In an outbound call center (or a single professional making outbound Calls) we make telemarketing calls using a variety of sales techniques to either assist in the Sales process or as a Sales process in and of itself.
The different names of Telemarketing
Many names are used in reference to telephone marketing by business. Below is a list of each and what they refer to.
Is where we will exclusively talk to our customer and complete the sale over the phone. This is normally used with lower cost products/ services. The reason for this is that it is more comfortable for a client to make a buying decision over the phone if they feel that it is not a huge financial commitment they are making. Over the phone people don’t have the opportunity to talk it over with their partner and often they don’t get to see and feel the product prior to purchase. For some industries though, this is perfect.
An example might be charitable organizations. They are not usually asking for a huge commitment, just a donation of some type, to sell raffle tickets or to ask people to join their organization. Tele-sales is perfect for this.
I personally consider an appointment setter (in most cases) to be a telemarketer, but I have separated them here to fully explain what an appointment setter does.
Appointment setting is selling a fixed day and time for either yourself (as the salesperson) or for one of the companies Sales Team, to meet with the client and discuss what you offer.
I say selling an appointment, not making an appointment because in most cases we need to build an interest in what we do to be able to get the client to commit to giving us a period of their valuable time.
Is a broad term and can certainly include every heading here. But if we were to be specific, I would define telemarketing as the use of the telephone in assisting with the sales process. This does not always mean that we are trying to directly sell something in each call.
Sometimes a Telemarketer is doing market research, sometimes they are setting appointments, they may be organizing to send more information out to a client, or they may be directly finding out how their service can help this particular client. In my view, they are rarely closing a sale – I would consider that to fall under the banner of telesales, although many use the two terms interchangeably.
Prospecting is searching for potential clients. For instance; The Sales person offering communication solutions to small businesses who calls business after business asking about their current position and building interest in his company’s offerings is prospecting.
This may sound a little like appointment setting and it is similar. But with appointment setting you would normally be calling someone who has either had some level of contact with the company before or who is at least a qualified customer (by this I mean they fit the description of your clientele), whereas with prospecting, the caller is often cold calling, which leads us to….
Is making a first point of contact with a client (not an existing client). This is usually done from a list of names and phone numbers. The purpose of a cold call can be varied and it can be used to make an sale, however, I believe at least 3 calls need to be made to a client before you can expect a sale (each call has a specific purpose, which we will talk about a little later).
I have worked with a larger office stationary business who only did cold calling to businesses, selling a huge range or stationary products. They did aim to sell on the first telemarketing call, but I believe that this was at the root of a few internal company problems. In fact lets look at their situation as a little case study. It will give you an idea of just how easy it is to run a great telemarketing side of any business.
So, as I said, this company sold Stationary products by Cold Calling. They called me because they had a very high staff turnover and, their cost per sale for the telemarketing was also too high.
The problem here was easy for me to spot. By primarily cold calling and expecting their staff to make a sale in one call they were putting very unrealistic expectations on both their staff and their customers. On top of this, staff were not provided with a script or adequate ongoing training.
For their staff:
- They were under constant pressure to perform and get sales. For the Team Leaders and Managers, this means that they were using stand over tactics on the staff and just pushing too hard.
For the Telemarketers, this meant that they always felt not good enough, they could never feel that they were performing well or doing a good job. Of course, not feeling appreciated was the cause of the high staff turnover.
For their customers:
- They felt like this company was pushy and didn’t care about them. They still made sales, because they had a very well priced product, but overall their customers didn’t feel any sense of loyalty to this business.
We implemented a few things here to improve their result and to keep staff happy in their work.
The first was to look at the type of calling they were doing. We decided that for new clients, an initial call would be made to get permission to email through information on their products. The telemarketer was responsible for making sure they got the email details and contact details of the decision maker for stationary.
This initial call was followed by a follow up telemarketing call a few days later to close the sale. We wrote scripts for each of these calls and implemented training strategies for all staff, from Managers through to Telemarketers.
For existing clients, we kept with the one call format, but accepted that follow up calls may be necessary. Again, scripts and training were put into place.
A warm call is a telemarketing call to anyone who has shown interest in your product/ service or is expecting your call.
A luke warm call is when we call someone who has had a prior contact with us, but is not expecting a telemarketing call and has not necessarily shown a real interest in our product.
An example of this is when customers enter competitions run at shopping centers, or at take away stores (via a stand alone competition entry box). Often the company running the competition will then call that customer and offer them a free gift in return for an opportunity to show the client their product.
Follow up calls
A follow up call is just that. A telemarketing call made to a customer to follow up on a previous face to face or telephone conversation.