Telesales and telemarketing are an important tool in the marketer’s toolbox. However, a proliferation of low-quality, poorly researched PPI and personal injury sales calls have left a bad taste in the mouths of many businesspeople who end up shying away from telemarketing for their business-to-business endeavours.
It’s something that comes with many misconceptions and preconceived notions, but picking up the phone to your prospects can be a truly worthwhile practice. So today, in no particular order, we’ll tackle 8 huge telemarketing myths head on…
Disclaimer: I’m aware that technically telesales and telemarketing are slightly different, but as I’m talking about the whole process involved, I use the terms here interchangeably.
1. “Don’t telemarketers just go through the phone book?”
No. Good telesales involves research and targeting. The telesales tactics of yore influence a lot of our misconceptions about modern telemarketing; though previous telesales tactics were reliant on sheer call volumes, modern telesales involve reaching out to well-researched prospects and people that have already shown an interest in some way. There are so many ways to reach out to companies, research a company’s appropriate team members, carry out effective market research and to generally qualify leads using online tools – there is really no reason to call everyone in the phone book.
2. “I should just reel off a huge sales spiel as soon as the person answers.”
I think we can all agree that good communication is a two way street, and any telemarketer worth their salt will know that you need information from the recipient of the call too. Nobody likes to be talked over and lectured to, especially when they weren’t expecting the call, so focus on initiating two-way conversation. Additionally, your staff aren’t robots, but they may start to feel that way after the first few days of using a regimented script and style. Bringing their personality and human side to the conversation is likely to be met with a much warmer reception than the prospect being talked at rather than to.
3. “Telesales calls are all based around robotic scripts and guides.”
On the topic of giving that human touch, it’s important to remember that listening to the prospect is far more important than keeping to a script. Scripts can easily be derailed by the call recipient, throwing your telesales people a curveball that may mean the script gets dropped for the rest of the call. Remember as with all marketing efforts, the more you can serve the person the better. Have your team keep to a general style if you must, but a concrete script just gives the recipient less opportunity to respond and communicate freely.
4. “All telesales callers are pushy, low-skilled call centre people on minimum wage. Anybody can do it.”
The unskilled, burn-out, high call volume telesales positions of the past give the modern telemarketer a bad name. The telemarketing landscape has changed considerably, and successful, nuanced telemarketers require a specific set of skills that can’t be found just anywhere. You need to be an excellent listener, good at thinking on your feet, confident when speaking to strangers on the phone, extensive knowledge of the product and the ability to empathise with others, as well as an understanding of the market research that props up good, solid lead nurturing.
5. “Our goal is to close a sale with every call.”
1 call equalling 1 sale would be very nice, but it’s rather unrealistic. There are more kinds of telemarketing calls than closing a sale. Remember that it often takes 6 or more points of contact to turn someone into a viable sales lead and however many more touches to actually make the sale. Any call you make could be a valuable part of this build up rather than the actual transaction. Make it count by sharing information, listening to objections, making the prospect aware of any new offers, and generally opening up the channels of communication.
6. “I should use telesales and nothing else.”
When you are nurturing leads, no single marketing practice can work alone, and telemarketing is no exception. You should take an overall approach to nurturing new business, usually one that also includes email marketing and outreach. To bolster both efforts, you can also qualify leads by allowing for some kind of sign up function on your website or offering a free lead magnet in exchange for an email address and phone number – this way you know that the people you are contacting are in the market for what you provide. Likewise, don’t quit any other regular marketing practices you are having success with independent of your telesales efforts.
7. “A ‘no’ just requires more pressure to turn it into a ‘yes.’”
You should never approach an objection thinking “they say no, but really they mean yes.” “No’s” can be a valuable source of information. Is it a “no for now,” or a solid “never?” Is there a particular element that is holding the person back? Discuss all objections if you get chance – it’s all a part of that two-way street of communication. Is there a way you can compromise on any parts of your offering that are currently snagging points for the prospect? Turning a “no” into a “yes” takes work and communication, not pressure.
8. “I have to use aggressive sales tactics to get anywhere.”
Using aggressive tactics is the one of the worst things you can do! Remember the last time you had a particularly pushy sales call. Would you use that company? Heck, no! If you start to become known for piling the pressure on, people may very well start to associate pushiness with your brand, which can do your company real, lasting harm. Conversing with people using tact, respect and empathy is likely to get you far better results.8 of the most common telemarketing and telesales myths debunked! Click To Tweet
So reader, what are your opinions of telemarketing/telesales? Have you believed any of these myths before? Do you particularly agree or disagree with any of my above points? Please share your thoughts down in the comments!