At its basic level, telemarketing is a tough business. It’s the only business where a 90-percent failure rate is good. Telemarketers sometimes suffer mental anguish because of the relentless rejection. There are ways, however, to minimize the rejections and to be successful without succumbing to mental stress.
1. It’s a Numbers Games, and it’s All About Whom You Call.
Telemarketing is a grind. Because of the nature of the business, you will have to call between 100 and 150 customers per day to achieve even passable results. If you strike up rapport with many customers, then you might only be able to get in 70 calls a day. Calling 100 people a day means you’ll call a shade fewer than 3,000 people a month and make roughly, assuming between a 5 percent and 10 percent close rate, between 150 and 300 sales of some type. In other words, you must be diligent, focused, and unrelenting every day for seven or eight hours. Be sure to have lozenges or other throat-soothing items on hand because you cannot make calls if you cannot speak.
You also have to know whom to call. Cold calling is tough enough calling the right people that you certainly don’t want to call the wrong people. You have to use various technologies and techniques to gain high-quality leads that bring you to interested people.
2. Manage the Data Efficiently.
Once you’ve gathered a collection of leads, you have to qualify them and determine their efficacy. You have to make sure to make the right kind of pitch to the right leads. As a blunt example, if your targeted demographic is 18-25, you don’t want to call up pitching old-age vitamins.
There are also different levels of rejection, from, “No,” to, “I’ll think about it.” You have to put the “think abouters” into a separate category for follow-up. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you should follow-up with a customer six times before packing it in with that customer. Each time you call, find out something more about the customer if possible. Using that information, you can modify the profile you have of the lead and then use different language that is more in-line with that person’s profile.
3. Don’t Sound Scripted.
We’ve all heard “the greeting.” “Hi, Mr. Jones! My name is Telly Marker, and I just wanted to ask how you’re doing today!” Any telemarketer who has been in the business more than an hour knows that that does not work. The stilted, formulaic sound of a script will kill many, many more sales than it attracts.
Instead, you should speak in a natural, engaging, and friendly manner. Don’t force the friendliness. That sounds fake. Make your tone and speech patterns the same as you would use at the water cooler. You have five seconds to make a good impression and gain some time with the customer.
Sound like you’re part of the team. Say “we” rather than I. Also, talk about what you can do for the customer rather than the other way around. Educating the customer is what it’s all about. For that reason, you should talk slightly more than the customer. Letting the customer talk more than you is a recipe for failure because you are no longer in control of the call. Rather than saying, “How are you?” say, “How have you been?” It is nearly seven times more effective. It’s also good to say, “The reason I’m calling is …” which makes your calls twice as effective.
4. Handling Objections is Crucial to Success.
Never take the first, “No.” It isn’t enough, however, simply to redirect the customer. You have to know why the customer says, “No.” To find out, just ask. You’d be surprised how many customers will love to tell you why they said, “No.” Be prepared. It’s a good idea to do a round of “homework” before beginning a day’s calls. Study the patterns of rejection in your past days and weeks. Find out why people are saying no and then examine your product or service for attributes that address those “Nos.”
If you have well-reasoned answers that show how your product or service benefits the customers, particularly that address customers’ points of pain, you will be far more successful than if you do not.
5. Ask for Referrals.
Customers who like you are prone to telling others. Ask them to do so. You have everything to gain by doing so and nothing to lose. Because people trust the people they know. Studies show that people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. Referrals are much more likely to close than straight cold calls.
There are many other strategies to use, but these five form a strong core of techniques that will improve your telemarketing efforts greatly. Being more successful than you would without these techniques also boosts both morale and motivation.