We’ve been working with some smart telemarketing folks over the last few months and it has been an eye opener.
A good telemarketing operation is the fastest way to grow your business.
There’s no question about it.
Talking to people on an hourly, a daily basis is the way to build a solid pipeline and start to book business.
So why is it that it is such a universally despised profession, and most people would rather starve than be seen as a cold caller?
Like most professions, you have ethical and less than ethical people working in there. Some products sell themselves and others need to be sold.
Actually, the whole debate around this is not new – and has been going on for hundreds of years.
Critics say that we are selling people what they don’t need and encouraging wasteful consumption.
Supporters say that there would be no economy, wages or prosperity without someone first selling something and creating a market for products and services.
Economics, basically, is people responding to incentives. If you show people a way to make money, they will have an option whether to go ahead with it or not.
Their choice may be influenced by how ethical or not the way is that you show them… the problem is that there are so many ways to make money and not all of them are good.
The good thing is that it is actually quite hard to be the kind of person that can sell bad stuff day in and day out. The vast majority of businesses are ethical, hardworking and are trying to help their customers.
There are a small number of scammers and they aren’t going to go away anytime soon.
I got a letter this morning. It’s on poor quality paper, is worded in slightly legalese jargon and basically tries to get you to pay money to be put on a useless register that duplicates the official website where they scraped the data from.
Now, it’s simply rubbish. But if they send it to a million companies and get a 1% response rate and get $200 a time, then they could be bringing in $2 million.
So, would you compromise your principles for that kind of money?
So… anyway after that little rant, let’s get back to the purpose of this post and here are 5 secrets to a great campaign.
1. You need a telemarketing CRM system
How do you set up a good telemarketing campaign?
The first thing to put in place is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that is designed for telemarketing.
If you are a small business, you could even start with Microsoft Excel. It gets hard pretty quickly when you are managing a database of a few thousand calls, but if you are trying out a calling process it’s a good place to start.
Email email@example.com if you want a free Excel application that we have put together for a start-up business.
Moving on, you could use one of the plugins for Gmail like Streak and manage everything from your inbox.
Alternatively, up and coming options include Zoho, which is web based and quite popular.
Another option you may not have considered is low cost but fully featured is an open source CRM like SugarCRM. You have the option of hosted options with lots of features.
My personal favourite is the Sugar CRM community edition which you can host on your own servers. This option gives you the features you need but keeps you in control of your systems and data.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want any help with selecting or setting up one of these systems – including having a trial of SugarCRM on one our servers free of charge.
2. You need to get the right mindset yourself or hire people who know what they are doing
This is really important.
Lots of sales people will tell you they are good telemarketers. That shouldn’t surprise you, because it’s their job to sell you on them.
But it’s a job that grinds you down. Hour after hour of rejection, rudeness and having the phone slammed down on you.
You need people who won’t let that get them down.
They need to have a thick skin, say to themselves that the next one on the phone will be better, the problem is with the customer and not with themselves and get on with the job.
They need to be the kind of people that will keep going till they hit their targets and not give up.
Now you, if you own your business or are managing this, are already the kind of person that will do this – you have to for your business to survive.
But you need to hire the right kind of person to do this job for you when you aren’t hovering over their shoulder.
So – recruit carefully. Recruit for attitude and behaviour – you can train for product knowledge later.
3. Talk to the right people – segment your audience
The last thing you should do is assume that your target market includes everyone and start by calling the phonebook starting with the As.
You need to segment.
Segmentation simply means working out who is most likely to need and want what you are selling.
There are lots of buzzwords like Personas and Customer Journeys, but if you go back to Marketing 101, segmentation is the word that tells you that before you start reaching out to people, try and have a think about who the best people are to reach out to.
In a Business to Business (B2B) product sale, figure out what type of business is likely to need what you want. Rent or buy a list that is already filtered by business type and has useful information like turnover and location.
You may want to go after a number of businesses that have something in common. For example, it makes more sense to tell a gatekeeper on the phone at a plastics manufacturing company that you are speaking to all the plastics companies in the area about an opportunity because they don’t want to miss out on something their competitors know.
But they probably wouldn’t be interested in something a paper distributor does.
So… start with a list that has been filtered for relevance.
4. Shoot for the SUN – create a campaign that will get prospects interested
The next thing is that when you call someone about what you are doing, you should have only one objective in mind – and that is not the sale.
Your objective is to have a conversation and advertise your product.
Advertising in its simplest sense means ‘drawing attention to something’ or ‘informing somebody of something’.
The outcome of your conversation is an action. It may be to send more information, or to set up a meeting, or to talk to someone else.
What you are trying to do is to get moving from standing start – you don’t know this person or company yet and you want to figure out if there is a match and some interest.
So, you have to figure out what to talk about, and this is where Shooting for the SUN comes in.
SUN stands for:
- S is for Simple: The first thing is that benefit (especially financial) of your product needs to be simple and easy to explain. You need to work out how to do it in one simple sentence that can be said over the phone and understood. Keep revising your description until you make it as simple to understand as possible.
- U is for Urgent: Figure out why your listener needs to do something now. Why is it important that they think about this and commit some time to understanding what it means for them?
- N is for Novel: Not new – but novel – different from what they have heard already. People love to be the first to know about something different, it intrigues them and sparks curiosity. Don’t bore them, figure out what it is about your product that is novel.
If you can’t meet these three tests, then what you are selling is a commodity with a hard sell. That is hard and you will get some business just because of the law of averages.
But, if you Shoot for the SUN you and your telemarketers will start to enjoy the process of picking up the phone and talking to prospects.
5. Create and follow scripts that are proven and tested
Finally, use scripts.
Write out a script for each person you will speak to – gatekeepers, managers, directors.
Try different approaches. Be polite. Be personable.
Jordan Belfort, the “Wolf of Wall Street” say that when someone hears you on the phone you should come across as:
- Sharp as a tack
- An expert in your field
- Enthusiastic as hell
You need to have a script that doesn’t sound like a tired, bored student doing some part time phone hacking work.
You need to be quick and knowledgeable with a passion for helping your customer.
Having a script helps you communicate this to your prospect.
Do you think all those actors in films are really as quick and clever as they come across?
Or have they practiced every word and intonation until their delivery is just right?
This isn’t manipulation – it’s simply good preparation.
You wouldn’t do a pitch to investors or a talk to a thousand people without preparation.
The same goes to a call to one person as a telemarketer.
A script helps you get the message right and get your points across quickly, with the fewest words and deliver the most information.
And that is that the whole purpose of telemarketing is for your business.
It’s one very effective way to inform people about what you do and why they should do business with you.
So, follow these five suggestions and you will be well on your way to building a target busting telemarketing operation.
Get a system in place, and once in place use it for everything to do with your campaigns.
Recruit wisely – pay more for the right people and give them good incentives.
Don’t talk to everyone – filter your lists for the right people.
Shoot for the SUN – make your message Simple, Urgent and Novel.
Work from a script – they work for actors and Presidents. You will do better with them.