With business telemarketing, you have a convenient, ubiquitous technology (the telephone) that allows you to deliver your message to large numbers of people that you might not reach otherwise.
But there is no denying the downside of telemarketing, and that is the reputation of telemarketers as pushy, intrusive, and inconvenient. Telemarketing works, or nobody would waste resources doing it. But sometimes you have to get creative to differentiate yourself from the tired-sounding telemarketers who annoy people just as they’re sitting down for dinner. Here are 5 creative techniques that can increase the effectiveness of your telemarketing.
1. Use Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) to design your telemarketing scripts. These techniques start with the caller establishing rapport with techniques like matching the speed and tone of voice to that of the person on the other end. NLP also involves using value statements that spell out how the prospect will benefit from your product or service. An example might be, “We can help you save $100 a month starting immediately.” NLP also involves asking questions that help clarify exactly what a prospective customer needs and wants. This technique requires not only listening to their words, but their tone of voice as well. Techniques for handling objections — like asking for clarification and offering alternatives — are ways to bring reluctant prospects around. If, for example, the person on the phone objects to your price, you can reframe the question by saying, “Are you concerned with the product’s value, or with your current funding resources?” How they answer can determine the best way to overcome their objections.
2. Understand that people often want what they can’t have. Have you ever watched a child suddenly become interested in a toy just because their sibling or playmate has started playing with it? Adults, too, tend to suddenly want something they think may be taken away. If you’re following up for the third or fourth time with a potential client that won’t turn you down flat, but won’t commit, try saying, “I hope we can do business together in the future, but I’m going to go ahead and close your file today. You have my number in case you change your mind.” Sometimes a bit of reverse psychology will warm up a cold prospect, particularly when used in a friendly and non-confrontational manner.
3. Don’t try to sell them anything. You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute. This is telemarketing, isn’t it? Isn’t the goal to sell our product?” Of course it is, but this is a technique that pays off in the long run. Some companies initiate campaigns around the holidays to simply call current or potential customers to thank them for their past business or to wish them a happy New Year. It may not bring in revenues directly, but it can disarm reluctant potential customers and pave the way for future sales.
4. Change “You” statements to “I” statements. Sometimes the way you phrase statements can really turn a potential customer off. When you finish describing your product or service, saying “Do you understand how it works?” makes you sound like a teacher, or as if you’re “talking down” to the person you’re speaking with. Changing it to an “I” statement can make a difference: “Did I explain that clearly enough?” can help you avoid making a person feel as if you’re talking down to them.
5. Help your telemarketing workers use physiology to their best advantage. When callers have comfortable, supportive chairs, or when they have the choice to stand up and smile when making a call, they’re much more likely to make a favorable impression than if they’re slumped in a cheap chair and don’t feel like smiling because of back pain. You’ve probably tried this technique yourself when you’ve had to make an important call. People can’t see you smiling confidently, but rest assured they can hear it in your tone of voice.
Photo Credit: Jakob Montrasio