Nobody can deny the difficulties of telemarketing. It is, for the most part, thankless work that requires far more diligence and attention than its reputation lets on. But if you’re focused and if you take time to develop some skills, you become incredibly successful and, if you’re commission based, earn a ton of money.
But first you have to hone your skill, which is what we’re here to do. The following telemarketing tips cover everything from personality tweaks to setting up your workspace for efficiency. Once you’ve got these tips down pat, check out this five-star course on how to cold like a boss and get absolutely anyone on the phone.
1. Stock Up On Vitals (i.e. No Excuses)
One of the hardest parts of cold calling is staying focused and resisting the urge to leave your desk or take a break (formal or informal). This probably sounds simple (don’t worry, the tips are about to get more intense), but stocking up on water, coffee and a snack or two really limits your break options (drink plenty of water and take a bathroom break).
This is so important because numbers don’t lie: the more calls you make, the more money you’ll make. It’s as simple and difficult as that.
2. First Impressions
Once you’re on the phone, you have between five and 30 seconds to make an impression. Once you’ve got a little experience under your belt, you’ll have a plethora of go-to lines and ways to recover from pretty much any initial reaction. But if you’re a newbie, you might try writing down a few lightly scripted responses (you don’t want to read verbatim); you can even get an experienced co-worker to look over them or help you generate ideas (you can also get some free advice from this post on cold calling script samples).
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3. Don’t Hang Up The Phone (Between Breaks)
This title is probably too old-school for the telemarketing age of headsets, but the general idea is the same. When you aren’t taking a break, you should be working (again, the more you work the more money you’ll make). So when every phone call ends, don’t “hang up” the phone (whether it’s a headset with a dial tone or a physical receiver). Go from one call to the next. You should probably take a deep breath or two, but this will not only allow you to crank through your leads list, it will truly get you in the zone.
4. Cut Your Losses
Time is money, especially your time. As I said in tip #2, you have between five and 30 seconds to make an impressions. This is also about how long it should take you to determine if it is a lead you should fight for or abandon. Don’t waste time on people you know aren’t going to become customers. This is no excuse to be rude or to hang up on them, but you should have a few ways to get out of these conversations just in case someone decides to be talkative. Time is money, so don’t waste it on dead ends.
As you’ll learn quickly, who you sell to is far more important than what or how you sell. Check out this blog post full of cold calling tips for how to sell to the right people.
5. Don’t Hate The Gatekeeper
The gatekeeper, of course, is the person (a secretary-type figure) who answers the phone when you call a business and decides whether or not they should put you through. These people can be very tricky, but hating them will only sour your relationship.
Take Advantage: On the contrary, you should take advantage of the situation. The gatekeeper is likely to know a lot of valuable information (such as, is the person you’re trying to talk to worth talking to? i.e. are they in a position of power?). They are also likely to know whether or not your services are needed, or which competitor they are currently using, etc.
Putting On Airs: The key to handling gatekeepers is to be polite and to try to sound (without directly misleading or lying to them) as if you are your company’s version of the person you are trying to talk to at the gatekeeper’s company. Gatekeepers are not likely to be fond of telemarketers, but it is their duty to epitomize excellent manners when they’re talking to someone with power.
6. Don’t Sell To The Gatekeeper
I only give this it’s own section because it’s a terrible mistake to make; and further, it’s a mistake you make when you most need to talk to the person they are protecting. If you try to sell to the gatekeeper, you can almost guarantee that you will never partner with that organization. This would be very bad news, considering the reason you were desperate to get beyond the gatekeeper is probably that the client is valuable. So don’t sell to the gatekeeper, it will never work and it will ruin your relationship with that company.
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7. Problem Solving
A good tactic to use is “problem solving.” This tends to be most effective when your lead is at least partially interested in your product. For example, if you are calling on behalf of a political campaign or fundraiser, then you should try to use the political platform or fundraiser’s objective as a means to help solve someone’s problem.
If someone says, “Yeah, I could really use a higher minimum wage,” don’t immediately jump to your punch line. Try to have a real conversation and find out more. Ask a personal question: “I think a lot of people could benefit from a higher wage. What do you do for a living?” Now the conversation is on a personal level and you share the person’s empathy.
8. Following Up
If you can tell someone is interested but either doesn’t have time or doesn’t want to make a decision at the moment, leave on good terms and follow up with them. Following up is far, far more successful than your first call, so this is time well spent.
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9. Research The Market, Find Your Own Leads
A little research can go a long way. Look for the big players in your field and use common sense: just thinking about who might be interested in your product can generate some incredible leads. Even if a leads list is provided, take some initiative and try out some of your own leads (doing this on your own time or after you have completed work for the day is recommended). The more someone needs your product, the more likely they are take interest.
The test of a true salesman or saleswoman is holding your own when objections are raised. You might think you’re hot stuff and go on instinct alone, but this is unprofessional at best. Take some time and write down ideas for responding to the most common and most likely objections you will face (but again, you should never read from a script; this is as obvious as if you were doing it in person). This way you won’t immediately lose the cool you’ve built up and you’ll be as smooth as you were when you made a great first impression.
And if you have to deal with angry customers (as you might, depending on what your job entails), get some relief with this these awesome skills and techniques on how to handle angry customers.
11. Better Than Nothing
If you can’t get through to the person you need to talk to, your last request before getting off the phone should be to be put through to their voicemail. The fact of the matter is, if you call back a month from now you’ll get the same response. But if you can manage to leave a message, then the call hasn’t been completely wasted.
12. Signing Off
Saying goodbye isn’t as easy as you would think, especially when you do it a hundred times a day. The key is to leave on good terms and not just force your way out of a call once you’ve made a sale. If you’re selling, say, Omaha Steaks, then prelude a goodbye with, “You are absolutely going to love these fillets . . . ” or “These rib-eyes are amazing, my girlfriend and I just had some last week . . . ” These shouldn’t be lines you use to sell; they are just great ways to leave a lasting good impression with a customer.
Even if you’ve never made a single cold call in your life, this top-rated cold calling mastery class can provide you with a structured and proven approach to sell over the telephone.