The Rebirth of Telemarketing

With lockdown meaning that we can’t attend sales appointments, shake hands and go within 2m of each other, there has been a surge in the use of Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and other online meeting tools.

Increasingly, we are turning to virtual meetings that are scheduled in the calendar, online demos, webinars and so on. This just might be the new normal. Less Travel and More Productivity

Reports suggest that there has been an almost 50% increase in the use of telemarketing since lockdown. With the productivity gains, due to less travel time, with increased homeworking going forward, it’s likely that this is a trend that will continue. 

As a consequence, we’re all increasingly getting used to this virtual form of customer engagement. Whether it’s using meeting software or the humble phone, we are all going to have to work out how to engage in different ways to the past. 

Lower Cost Routes to Market 

Let’s face it. Salespeople are expensive. Could this shift to everything virtual ultimately lead to a long-term reduction in field teams and more telephone-based staff for sales enablement? It’s entirely feasible that the current status has lessened the perceived need to meet. There is a greater appreciation and acceptance of remote contact that is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

This provides opportunities for expensive personnel cost savings on one hand and provides a lower-risk engagement for your prospects on the other. It has always been much harder to encourage prospects and customers to accommodate face to face meetings than it has to tempt them into exploratory phone calls. Whilst the requirements of effective prospect qualification remain, perhaps this heralds a shift that will generate greater numbers of positive outcomes for sales and marketing teams going forward. 

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Telemarketing is a Key Skill

Whether it’s face to face, on the phone or, indeed using a meeting tool, there are skills that are crucial to success. To help you maximise the value of this move back to the use of the phone to generate leads, we’ve put together 10 telemarketing tips that are guaranteed to improve your results. These are relevant whether the contact is purely by phone, or where you’re using more face to face methods on Zoom and Skype.

Benefits not Features

Whether you’ve got the best product or service in the world, you need to recognise that no-one is interested in you or your products. They’re only interested in how it benefits them. Benefits are not what you do or offer. They’re what you deliver to the customer. So, if you offer 24:7 helplines or service, the benefit is the reduced risk that the customer will be without that service or product which, in turn, may keep production lines moving and/or reduce complaints. So, focus on what you do for the customer not what you do.

Pain is a Motivator

If you’re in pain, you search for something that will take the pain away.The more severe that pain, the quicker and more urgent the requirement is for a cure. So, customers that are struggling will be more likely to purchase from you. Therefore, while we don’t want to be perceived as ambulance chasers, it is important to dig into what customer problems are that you can help to resolve. 

Nothing Beats Rapport

People buy people. Whilst Amazon, Ocado and the like are lessening the grip by retail on our purchasing habits, human interaction still drives higher value purchases. Therefore, all things being equal, if you can develop early and durable rapport, you will almost certainly put yourself ahead of others in the race for the contract. That starts from the first interaction.

Make Your Intro Count

You have so little time to make a first impression, you’d better get good at making the first words out of your mouth good ones. And, if they’re over-salesy, smarmy, too much about you and your products, you can kiss goodbye to rapport. You will turn more prospects off than on if you don;t craft a compelling intro that engages them in the first few moments of the call.

Focus on the Cues

There will always be cues that you need to pick up during a call. From an initial sigh, to a dour tone to a sunny disposition, all of these and more are audible in the first few seconds and you need to be sensitive to this. A sigh means they’re bored or they’re short on time. So, don’t just blunder on. Break the pattern and find a way to get things back on track. 

Ask Good Questions

This is such an important skill for securing your telemarketing success. Remember that the customer isn’t interested in you. An, people like to talk about themselves. Therefore, encouraging them to do so with relevant, thought-provoking questions will increase rapport and get to the heart of their problems that you can resolve.

Listen then Listen Some More 

There’s no point asking effective questions if either you ignore the answers or you interrupt while the prospect is talking. It doesn’t come across well and is more likely to end in a negative outcome. Listening, as opposed to talking, is not an easy skill to master. So, take a breath, ask a good question then shut up until the prospect has finished speaking.

Take Clear Notes

This might seem like an odd one when we’re talking about B2B telemarketing. However, telemarketing success does not necessarily arrive immediately. It’s infrequent that success comes on the first call. That means a second or third or fourth call is likely. You can enhance rapport and demonstrate capability if you’ve made no notes and have nothing to refer to. Equally, making sure you use the expressions that resonate with the prospect is important and if you can’t remember what they said 3 months ago, how will you do that?

Belief is Paramount

If you don’t sound compelling, why would the customer bother to listen, engage and buy? If you can’t convince yourself, you’ll have a hard time coming across as positive and knowledgeable. Conviction is powerful. So, find ways to describe what you do using positive and natural language (not stilted scripts) and you’ll get better results.

Never Forget to Follow-Up

One of the main reasons why businesses fail in lead generation is the inability to follow up. We often win business by keeping going when others falter. The timing may not be right. Internal issues may come up that impede progress. There are lots of reasons why prospects don’t buy immediately. But, they definitely won’t buy if you drop them like a stone and don’t follow-up. So, religiously observe calendar reminders. Get agreement on a time to call back. And, call back when you say you will. 

There are many other components for a successful telemarketing exercise. These include handling objections, dealing with difficult gatekeepers, enhancing data quality and much more. Perhaps those are topics for another article. But, you won’t get far at all if you don’t master these core elements of telemarketing success.

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