This is a question that often comes up when I meet prospective clients. They often ask what the best way to approach telemarketing is for their sector or business.
In some way, the question surprises me since there are certain basics that are common to all effective telemarketing and appointment setting exercises.
I ran some telemarketing training recently and had the opportunity to do some one-to-one work with one of the cold callers. That involved listening to calls and giving immediate feedback. The things that stood out more than anything else was that the telemarketer:
- Was more preoccupied with getting their message across than allowing the prospect the chance to speak
- Missed several opportunities to build rapport along the way
- Failed to ensure that there was warmth in their tone and approach
- Got blocked due to a failure to get the opening line right in terms of a compelling and engaging approach
- Had no plan that related to ‘why’ the prospect might be interested in the services they were being offered
- Didn’t give any consideration to likely needs based on the way they might use the products
The calling session included targets in similar industries but all with quite different needs. We called fashion businesses that included upmarket tailors, Hip-Hop T-shirt sellers, Tartan kilt stores and performance sportswear retailers amongst others. Each of these would use different products and would probably apply them in different ways. They would also have different approaches to pricing and sourcing (e.g. China or UK made).
In truth, that is likely to be the case for most cold calling campaigns and for most sectors. Therefore, planning the right approach and tactics prior to each call is vital in high-quality telemarketing if you want good results.
Now, the calling session certainly wasn’t all bad. To be fair, the caller was inexperienced but very willing. She didn’t shirk the task at all. There were also some good calls. But, part of that was down to my interjection reminding her where and how to build rapport during the call using my IPad as a prompt.
A good example of this prior to and during one call related to an upmarket T-Shirt prospect based in the Camden market. We discussed the call before she picked up the phone. The caller was from the South Coast and had never been to Camden. We discussed this and I suggested that she use this by saying that it would be lovely to go there. We also discussed the recent fire in the Camden market. Armed with that information, and information on the type of products the prospect might use, she made the call. We role-played a sector-specific intro and that allowed her to make her opening line more engaging.
The ‘Camden’ aspect of the call resulted in the prospect ultimately suggesting that the caller must visit him in Camden, emphasizing that the summer is a great time of year to visit and that the fire was over-played by the media as it didn’t really affect his business at all. The main outcome was not only an opportunity to quote but also valuable information about how his current suppliers had failed him due to the price-quality relationship.
None of the above would have been possible without rapport skills and without knowledge of how the products would be used by the prospect. If the caller had fallen back on a traditional ‘sell’ as she’d done on other calls, she would most certainly not have been able to get the outcome she achieved.
Telemarketers often fail due to a fundamental inability to remember to look for rapport triggers and to demonstrate an understanding of the prospects’ business. It is about finding common ground and a way to engage.
And to answer the question ‘What’s the best way to do telemarketing for my business?’ Don’t sound like every other telemarketer when you make the call!
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