The main job responsibility of a tele-caller is to make cold or unsolicited calls on behalf of a third party, to obtain information or sell any product or service.
If you have experience as a salesperson or in customer service, or like the idea of working on the phone, then you might do well with a job in telemarketing. Each company will have its own sales etiquette for you to follow, but there are some general guidelines that you can benefit from regardless of what you’ll be selling. They mainly involve how to practice and develop your approach to making calls, and ways to make adjustments once the call has been placed. By taking an organized approach to telemarketing and staying positive, you can establish yourself in the profession while developing excellent communications skills in the process.
Telemarketing Vs Telesales
Telemarketing is a relatively recent term, while telesales has been used for a long time.
Today, they are virtually interchangeable, but technically they do not have the same meaning.
Telesales means selling a service or product directly to potential customers by telephone; trying to get people to buy.
Telemarketing means using the telephone to generate interest, provide information, create opportunities, get customer feedback, generate leads, and make appointments.
Telemarketing creates prospects and lets consumers know about what a company has to offer them – it provides the opportunity for both the company and customer to get to know each other better.
Telesales turns those opportunities into sales.
Get to know the product / service
Before you start calling, spend some time reading all of your product / service.
Memorize as many of the details as you can.
Try to think about what questions a potential consumer might have
about the product /service.
If you get an actual physical product sample, use it or examine it closely.
For example, if you are signing up people for a credit card, it’s a good idea to know the annual percentage rate and annual fees.
Reference your customer data database thoroughly
If you have a computer screen that pulls up customer profiles, make good use of it.
These screens will sometimes show a customer’s call history, service requests, or complaints.
It will also include some general demographic or contact information.
This database is just one way to get to know your customer better, so that you can anticipate their needs.
Familiarize yourself with the database format.
You want to know where each piece of information is on the screen, so that you won’t have to search for it mid-call.
For example, if you are speaking with a customer of 10+ years,
then they may appreciate you saying something about their product loyalty.
Avoid rushing, concentrate on carefully pronouncing each of your words. Make yourself pause after sentences to give the customer time to respond. If you are asked a question, take a few seconds before answering. This will make you seem confident and in control of the call, instead of flustered.
If you find that many customers are asking you to repeat yourself, then this is another sign that you may be speaking too fast or unclearly.
Adhere to the script.
Your company will usually provide you with a telecalling script.
It will offer suggestions for an attention-catching introduction,
possible questions for mid-conversation, and how to close the deal.
A good script will also address how to counter a customer’s objections / concerns in an effective way.
It’s important to use the script as a guide, not something that you simply memorize and repeat.
Rehearsing and rereading your script many times will help you understand how to modify it to suit your personality and strengths. For instance, you may want to try out a closing method that’s worked for you in the past, instead of the one suggested in the script.
Sprinkle open-ended questions into the conversation.
It’s easy for a customer to end a call if they don’t feel connected with you.
Make them feel valued by asking questions about their customer experiences and choices. If they’ve bought a product before, ask how it worked out for them. If they have tried other brands, ask them why they haven’t tried yours yet.
Stay away from questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” These can make a caller feel as if they are being interrogated.
Keep up a friendly tone.
Some telemarketers find it helpful to smile,
while they are talking with customers.
This will usually make you sound friendly and more approachable right away.
Aim for the same kind of tone you’d use with a friendly coworker.
Use words and phrases that convey a positive message, such as, “great,” “perfect,” “of course,” and “my pleasure.”
Be polite when talking with Reception Assistants or other Gatekeepers.
If you are calling executives or other professionals, you’ll likely reach an assistant or secretary first.
Use these opportunities to demonstrate your professional nature and friendliness.
Go through an abbreviated version of your script with the gatekeeper, so that they’ll understand why you are calling and how they can help.
For instance, instead of stating that you will call back at a certain time, ask the assistant, “When would be a good time for me to call back?” This lets them know that you value their opinion and time.
Don’t blame yourself for other people’s bad reactions.
If you speak with a caller who is rude or angry,
it’s a good idea to remind yourself that you are likely not the cause of their emotions. They might have had a bad day. It’s possible that they don’t like getting calls at a certain time. These are things that are out of your control. What you can do is move on from that call the minute the customer hangs up and start fresh with a new one.
If a caller makes you feel uncomfortable or is particularly rude, there is nothing wrong with saying, “Thank you for your time” and ending the call.
Learn from more experienced telecallers.
If you are working in a call center, take advantage of the opportunity to see what calling techniques work for other people. Approach a more senior, or really successful, representative and ask if you can listen in to a few of their calls. Make notes about any tips or tricks that you notice.
For instance, you might notice that your coworkers tend to ask their customers a lot of open-ended questions. This makes customers feel more comfortable and then tend to stay on the call longer.
Rehearse your calling.
Get a friend to go through a pretend phone call with you and record it.
Or, put a real caller on speakerphone and record your conversation.
Then, play back the call. Pay attention to the clarity and speed of your voice. Look for areas that you can improve on, like sounding friendly early on in the call.
Follow all legal regulations and laws.
As part of your training, you’ll likely learn about the particular laws that apply to telemarketers in your location and sales area. Pay close attention to this information and reread the guidelines every few weeks.
If you are concerned about a regulation impacts a particular call, put the customer on hold and ask your supervisor.
Questions & Answers
What is the difference between an objection and a rejection?
Rejection means the customer is not interested. Objection means he may be interested but needs some clarification. Use the guidelines provided in your script and your knowledge of the product itself to overcome any objections. Ask your customer to tell you about their concerns, so that you can fully address them and put their mind at ease.
How do I know whether the customer is interested or not?
An interested customer will take more time to learn about the product and its benefits. He or she may ask for a sample.
What should I do if the customer refuses to buy what I am selling?
Refer to the previous sales company has made and learn from its experience.
Attempt a rebottle and try to rephrase it in another manner that the customer may understand better. If the customer still isn’t interested, it’s best to accept the loss and move on.
How to Succeed in Telemarketing?
Preparing for Your Shift
Know what you need to accomplish.
Before making calls, be sure to know just what is expected of you for that day, especially sales targets.
This will help you to plan out a calling strategy.
And don’t be shy about asking your supervisor to clarify instructions.
This shows that you’re detail-oriented, a quality which bosses and managers look for in their employees.
Set goals you can reach.
Once you have your daily assignment, set some hourly goals.
These should be ambitious enough to reach your daily targets, without being so demanding that they’re unrealistic.
Placing impossible expectations on yourself can cause needless stress and frustration.
To create a work environment where you can focus, you’ll need to do away with potential distractions.
Before you begin to make calls, remember to turn off your cell phone, close any web browsers on your computer, and tell co-workers that you’d prefer not to be disturbed during work time.
To help you limit your internet time, try productivity tools such as LeechBlock or SelfControl.
Get comfortable at your desk.
Sit at your desk with a good posture, not slumped back or bending over your keyboard.
Arrange your devices so you can access them easily.
Also be sure to have everything you need at your desk, such as calling lists and a bottle of water.
This way you shouldn’t need to get up until your break time.
Be sure you’re taking enough sleep.
Try to get in the habit of sleeping for as many hours as you need to in order to function well the next day.
This might mean not sleeping in too long on weekend off, if you’ll need to get up early for work on week start day.
You’ll need to be in top form and focused to sound pleasant and convincing on the phone.
Consider taking a walk during your break to clear your mind and to recharge your energy.
Perfecting Your Sales Pitch
Master your script.
Your supervisor should give you a script to follow for your initial sales pitch.
Or you may be asked to create your own script based on some guidelines.
You’ll want to avoid reading the script word-for-word, since this an easy way to lose a potential customer’s interest.
Memorize it by reading it several times, then trying to cite it from memory one line at a time.
In the telemarketing industry, the product offer is known as an “Elevator pitch” because of how it summarizes the product or service in a few sentences,
Practice in front of others.
If you’re just starting out in telemarketing, you might have problems with shyness.
To reduce any reluctance you may have to make calls because of shyness, ask your supervisor if you could practice your sales pitch in front of a group of fellow employees.
Ask them to give you feedback on how clearly you’re speaking, the appropriateness of your tone of voice, and how convincing your delivery is.
Ask one person in the group to act as the potential customer, and carry out a mock sales conversation with them.
Another good way to build confidence is to shadow a fellow employee.
Ask your supervisor about spending time watching, listening to, and taking notes on a top employee while they make calls.
Asking your boss for extra help will show them that you’re a dedicated employee and interested in doing all you can to help the company. which should be recited during the time it takes to ride in an elevator.
Get to know your product.
In order to be able to speak convincingly about the product or service you’re pitching to the potential customer,
it’s important that you understand it well.
Ask your supervisor for a written summary of the product or service that you can study.
If you’re selling a physical item, ask to see the product so you can study its characteristics and afterwards describe it better to the customer.
Read up on your audience.
Most telemarketing firms limit their calling lists to potential customers
who are most likely to buy their products or services.
Ask your supervisor for a summary of the backgrounds of potential customers you’ll be calling.
They may all have several things in common, such as age, income, gender, or profession.
Knowing these beforehand can help you to customize your pitch to the audience.
If you’re calling an existing customer, find out as much as you can about their purchasing history
and product preferences. Be sure to use this information when making your pitch.
Be ready for negative responses.
The majority of potential customers that you call will not be keen on what you’re offering them—at least at first,
of course. That’s where your persuasion skills come into play.
But you can’t expect to be able to come up with replies to negative answers on the spot,
so you’ll need to prepare a list of replies to potential rejections to your sales pitch.
For example, in reply to, “Sorry, I’m not interested,” you can keep them on the line with,
“But I haven’t told you the best thing about [the product or service],”
or “If you’ll give me twenty seconds I’d like to try to change your mind.”
Practice pronouncing last names correctly.
Mispronouncing a potential customer’s last name is a sure way to lose their interest right away.
If the name’s pronunciation is unfamiliar to you, ask a co-worker or supervisor for help with a possible pronunciation. If you’re confident you know how a longer, multi-syllable name should be said, practice reciting it a few times before making the call.
If you’re not sure how to pronounce a last name, it’s best not to even try.
Instead, simply address the person you’re calling as “sir” or “ma’am.” Or if it is permitted by your supervisor, address the person by their first name—it’s less risky to come off as too familiar with a person than it is to botch their last name.
Making the Call
Smile while talking.
Potential customers will tend be less bothered by a cold call if they’re greeted cheerfully.
You will sound as if you’re smiling when you actually do smile while delivering your pitch.
To help you with this, have a mirror nearby to occasionally check your expression when you’re on the phone.
Use a simple, polite opening greeting.
Try starting with the same greeting each time.
There’s no need to try to get creative at this point, since you might risk setting an inappropriate tone for the conversation before hearing the respondent’s tone of voice. For example, try either “Hello, is Ms. / Mr. [last name] available?”
or “Hello, may I please speak with Ms. / Mr. [last name]?” as greetings.
Get right to the point.
When making cold calls it’s important to grab the potential customer’s interest in the first five seconds or so.
You need to quickly give them a good reason not to just hang up.
That’s why moving from the greeting right into your pitch is essential.
Try not to follow your greeting with phrases like “How are you today?” These can only add to the potential customers’ sense that you’re taking up their time.
Avoid saying “Is this a good time?” or “Did I call at a bad time?”
You can assume that if this is the case, the person you called won’t answer, will hang up immediately, or will let you know that it’s bad time without your having to ask.
Speak in plain simple language.
As you deliver your pitch and follow-up explanations, try to use a simple and straightforward vocabulary.
Be careful not to use technical terms without defining them, and go with alternative phrasings if you can say same thing in more basic language. Even if you detect that the person you’re speaking with is well educated, it’s always more efficient to use the most direct and universal language possible.
Avoid using informal language that gives off an air of unprofessionalism. Make an effort to say “Good offer” instead of “Good deal,” “That’s fine” instead of “No worries,” “Yes” instead of “Yeah” or “Yep,” and “Please hold for a moment” instead of “Bear with me.”
Emphasize the product / service results testimonials.
A potential customer will want to know about not only what the product or service is, but also what it can do for them.
When explaining the product in the pitch or answering questions, be sure to talk about performance and results.
If you’re doing this right, potential customers shouldn’t need to ask you, “But what will this do for me / my company?”
To have some results-based information on hand, ask your supervisor for statistics on customer satisfaction and product performance.
Build on positive momentum.
Once you make a sale, try to carry the confidence you build from it into the next call.
This means not being tempted to feel satisfied with one sale, and instead moving right into dialing another number.
If you feel frustrated or overworked, these would be times when a break could help you.
But this isn’t the case when you’re doing well, since you could lose whatever knack you’ve developed even during a short break.
To keep things going, don’t put the phone back on the hook after a successful call—just hang up and then dial the next number.
Avoid frustration by staying positive.
Think on the bright side about what you accomplished even during a rejected pitch:
you may have left the customer with a good impression of the company, or learned that a certain phrase or response probably isn’t effective.
And at the very least you can feel good that you’ve crossed this person off the list of potential customers.
If a potential customer is rude with you, don’t take it personally.
Remember, it’s the product that is being rejected, not you.
Responding to the Customer
Don’t assume a gender.
If the person you’re calling has a feminine-sounding name, and you reach a person with a feminine voice,
try to avoid assuming that you’ve reached the person you’re looking for.
The same goes for an apparent masculine name and voice.
Making an assumption would sound something like, “Oh, hello, Mrs. Thomas?”
If you’re correct, you risk sounding suspiciously familiar.
If not correct, you could cause offense if you mistake someone’s gender.
Adjust your tone according to the listener.
In order to give the impression that you’re speaking to the potential customer and not at them,
try to adapt your tone of voice to the mood they present.
If they sound upbeat, put some extra enthusiasm into your delivery.
If they sound tired or angry, speak in a neutral but friendly tone to avoid sounding oblivious to them.
Don’t use a familiar form of address unless they address you with familiarity.
Resist addressing them as “Mate,” “Guy,” “Sister,” “Brother,” “Man,” “Dude,” “Partner,” or “Pal” unless they address you in this way first.
Learn to detect hesitation.
An experienced telemarketer will know the signs of a person who is hesitant and one who is adamantly not interested.
If the potential customer turns you down, but doesn’t hang up on you after your pitch,
it’s possible they could be hesitating. Even if they’re just being polite by not hanging up, polite people are much more likely to stay on the phone if you can convince them to.
To try to keep them on the line, try responding with “I think you might change your mind if you knew a little more about this product / service.”
Show your gratitude.
Whether you’ve just made a sale, or are dealing with someone who has insistently refused the offer,
be sure to express your respect for the customer’s time.
Even if they don’t seem interested now, they could always become a customer in the future.
At the very least, you want to leave them with a positive impression of the company, so show courtesy by being thankful when ending the call.
If they’re not interested, thank them by saying something like, “I appreciate your time,” or
“Thank you for your interest.” If they make a purchase, or ask to be called back, add intensifiers:
“I really appreciate your time,” or “Thank you very much for your interest.”