As I sat with my friend discussing how the term “credit crunch” had become as common as coffee in the morning, we began to discuss work.You see my friend manages a team of senior recruitment consultants and is feeling the pressure at the moment to generate more revenue. Her team is good, but right now, she needed them to be better. She felt as if they didn’t make enough calls, get on enough PSL’s (preferred supplier lists) or meet enough prospective clients.
Right now, they needed more activity to deliver more revenue. Something I believe we can all relate to with our sales teams. So, they know their target audience (they dip in and out of trade papers all the time, oh and there’s always yell.com as a backup!) they all roughly know what the proposition is and how to sell it over the phone so now what? Surely she would just get her team to make calls, surely there’s nothing more to it than that? If only she knew…
When planning prospect calls, there are many things to consider. Even if your call is as plain and simple as any call could get, it still needs planning and preparation. A conversation falling flat on its face is something even our team of articulate and confident telemarketers would really like to avoid at all costs. Of course, who wants to be perceived as the pesky telemarketer approaching their decision-maker for a meeting/sale that he/she never asked for in the first place?
No matter how much publicity a company/service/product gets, the publicity is not a guarantee it will be a success. Many telemarketers have lost their spirit and glamour all because planning and preparation were not enough. Calls should be planned early on. There is nothing wrong with having too many objection techniques on your hands. In fact, it is certainly better than having to make things up on the spot that may not sound as succinct and compelling as you need it to all because you find it difficult to articulate your response off the cuff.
So, first things first, here are the most important things to remember to prep before your call session:
Acquire a good list
Identify the companies that are going to be most receptive to your product/service.
When you purchase a list from a list broker/owner, remember, no list is pristine. The data is only as accurate as of the date the contact was gathered. This may mean you will have an element of data cleansing/acquisition within your calls.
Oh yes, if you’re going to gather names from directory enquiries, don’t expect the quality to be great. If you are targeting senior decision-makers, try cleaning the list first to acquire names. There’s nothing worse than trying to hold a peer to peer conversation with someone when you are calling them Mr/Miss because you don’t know their first name!
Factor data cleansing into your prep time, there’s nothing worse than saying you’re going to spend twenty hours purely prospecting to generate interest in your next product launch/seminar when in actual fact you need to spend fifteen hours cleansing names.
Having something to help you focus on the message you are going to deliver to prospects is critical to the success of your telemarketing call. Even if you have to script your opening statements this will help you ensure you don’t beat around the bush and that you have something succinct and sexy to say. If you don’t have something to say that covers the “what’s in it for me” concern then save your breath and don’t say it.
Find yourself a desk where you can gain focus.
It’s often difficult to find a quiet and undisturbed environment to make calls, particularly if you work in a buzzy open-plan office. So, if you happen to be sitting across from other people, use this to your advantage. Listen to the language they use and the responses they get, learning from others can help your self-development. Remember to turn your mobile off or on silent.
Let others know when you plan to make calls and when you would prefer not to be interrupted (except for urgent calls from clients etc).
Pen and Paper
When you make calls remember to listen out for buzz words that your prospectuses. Write them down and use them!
Having a pen and a pad handy is far better than making calls and logging notes during your call on the PC. There’s nothing worse than a prospect hearing that familiar “tap tap tap” sound from a keyboard.
Have a Goal for each call you make
Decide what you are going to ask/say before making each call.
What would you like to see as a result of the call you are about to make? Knowing your goal before you make the call will help you prepare the questions you ask to help lead your prospect toward your ideal outcome. List all of the typical objections you are likely to come across and how you will handle these.
So, with the above in mind, telemarketing as you can see is a simple business, albeit there are a lot of elements involved to ensure calls are as successful as they can possibly be. Thankfully, my friend is ensuring her team focus and master the art of planning and preparation before moving on. After all, her money is either going on poor call sessions that are ill-timed, poorly prepared and result in nothing because her team haven’t mastered the basics yet. Are you going to throw your money at something to see if there’s a chance it could work? Or are you going to plan your campaign for success?