At the time, my tools consisted of a landline telephone (no headphones), a phone catalogue, a ruler and a marker. I was also given a script that was a two-page-long list of arguments used to raise funds for the treatment of a specific illness by selling plushies. I can honestly say that the experience was terrible, and I soon found myself unable to keep doing this job, even though it was – at least on the surface – for a good cause. Luckily, times have changed a lot! Today, landline phones or phone catalogues are rarely considered key telemarketing tools. I have not seen a ruler in five years, though at times I would have had use for one.
Since my first experiences, I have been lucky enough to work in one of the world’s largest contact centre companies, using excellent tools that helped me achieve my sales and contact goals. On the other hand, no tools or devices can replace basic sales skills when it comes to reaching goals. Below, I have listed the six things that I believe are the most important when working in telemarketing (or customer service, for that matter):
Listen and make sure you really hear what the customer is saying. Do not rummage through your papers, play Solitaire or Candy Crush, browse the internet or do anything else. Listen to find out what the customer’s emotional state is, which words they use and whether there are hidden sales opportunities. Listen to the customer’s environment, as well. Is there any background noise? Is the customer outside, driving a car, sitting in an echoing toilet? Be quick to assess whether you should offer to call the customer back later in order to not lose your valuable contact!
2. Ask, survey, listen
Be interested in the customer. Ask open questions and aim to get a positive answer most of the time – this means you need to phrase your questions correctly. Most importantly, you should try to identify topics that the customer is interested in and focus on them. And once again, you need to listen carefully.
3. Be bold, do not overwhelm the customer, listen
Once you know how to sell a product, do it boldly and make use of the things your customer tells you whenever possible! Do not overwhelm the customer with information. On average, we can only take in two new pieces of information at a time. Any more only serves to disturb the decision-making process. Again, it is important to listen in order to find out how your customer is reacting.
4. Make a direct offer, do not oversell, listen
After you have completed your sales speech, go ahead and ask whether the customer is interested in making a deal. Do not talk too much – let silent moments come and go! Give the customer some time to internalize and process the information you have provided. You should not be afraid of silent moments!
5. Make appropriately bold arguments, listen
React to the information the customer has given you during the call and utilize it in your sales process. You can counter the customer’s objections as long as you do it in a way that suits the customer. By now, you will have information about the customer’s thoughts and reactions, which you can use to your advantage.
6. End the contact in a classy way, regardless of the outcome!
Every call cannot end in a successful sale, but every call counts as marketing for the product/company that you sell/represent. In all cases, creating a good customer experience is even more important than selling the product. So even if the customer is not interested in buying, thank them for their time. You can also mention the company’s website or a social media channel where the customer can find more information on the company. It could also be a good idea to ask for permission to send the customer, for instance, an SMS asking them to assess your work and giving them your contact information for the future.
It is that easy. By remembering these tips, you will surely be able to meet and exceed your sales goals! At the same time, every contact will create a pleasant customer experience.
In the next article we will cover the same topic, but from the perspective of a supervisor or coach. What is a supervisor’s role in successful telemarketing?