I received yet another desperately poor telemarketing call the other day.
‘Hello Mr Jonathan. How are you today?’
Now I accept that Delhi call centres may not be adept at knowing the first name from a surname. However, UK callers do know the difference. They also know that I know that that they aren’t genuinely interested in my welfare. Maybe next time, when asked ‘how are you today I will actually tell them and explain all of my ailments and the doctors’ visits over the past 5 years. Just like filling in a form for life insurance. That’ll stop them!
Why is it that so few callers are genuinely good on the phone?
Why do they insist on saying my name, asking me how I am and then launching straight into the classic ‘The reason for my call Mr Silverman is to introduce our products/services to you. Do they not understand that I have neither the time nor inclination to listen to them warble on about their commoditised services for which I either have no need or already have a provider?
I run a lot of telemarketing training courses and it never ceases to amaze me the poor quality when it comes to the input for outbound calls. Now, I’m not saying it’s easy. Senior decision-makers are heavily guarded by sentries otherwise known as gatekeepers or PAs. Yet, there seems to be a disconnect between what people respond to themselves and how they communicate when they are making a call.
So, how is it done? Well, there isn’t enough time before you get bored of my blog to include everything but here are a few quick tips for you to ponder and to help you and your team if you are making outbound calls. This is especially valid for b2b and to senior-level decision-makers.
- Define your objectives and make them realistic (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Based) for each campaign
- Don’t procrastinate – Take action. Make a commitment to making the calls
- Define your market carefully– What location, who is the decision-maker, what industries, are they buying, what size of company etc.
- Gather or buy a good list – Make sure it is checked for opt to outstanding that the contact data is as fresh as possible
- Define a good clear proposition – Why will the buyer buy from you? Why should they see you? What is your lever to get their interest?
- Invest in your callers – If you’re not making the calls, do you give your callers the mushroom treatment? Do you leave them in the dark and feed them lots of cr*p? Make sure the calls are engaged and motivated.
- Brief your callers well – Nothing beats a motivated and well-briefed caller
- Build rapport – Ask good questions. Listen. Use good language and tone.
- Record & measure performance – Build good KPI’s and use a good system to record good notes and schedule follow-ups. Monitor performance often.
- Be patient – If the goal is to reach the MD of Tesco or the Finance Director of BT results won’t come immediately. Give the campaign time to work assuming that you have done the other factors above correctly.
- Follow-Up – And keep doing so. Don’t stalk but make sure follow up emails, letters, literature and calls are made in a timely fashion.
- Accept rejection – I love the quote below. There are lots of people that it has been attributed to. That doesn’t matter but the point is clear. Get used to rejection. The more No’s you get on the phone, the closer you are to succeed.
“I was practising in a bunker down in Texas and this good old boy with a big hat stopped to watch. The first shot he saw me hit went in the hole. He said, “You got 50 bucks if you knock the next one in.” I holed the next one. Then he says, “You got $100 if you hole the next one.” In it went for three in a row. As he peeled off the bills he said, “Boy, I’ve never seen anyone so lucky in my life.” And I shot back, “Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get.”