After some recent discussion around telemarketing and now having just had a telemarketing call, I thought I’d share these thoughts. 

Yes, I’ve done telemarketing both B2C and B2B, I’ve trained telemarketers and seen some real success and also some spectacular failures. 

The call I just got was about telecommunications and how I could save on phone calls with the savings being used for other technology in the business. 

The caller started with – Hello how are you – to start with I know a telemarketer doesn’t want to know how I am, they just want to sell me something – so get to the point. 

Then she proceeded to tell me how the service could help me, she told me she “knew” it would be useful and beneficial to my business.  Ok, now for the fun. 

I stopped the caller in her tracks and asked her where the business was located – “in New Zealand” – ok – he strong accent still had me wondering. 

I was told how the “concept” would be beneficially good for my business – um, I asked ok, “what sort of business is that?” – she didn’t or couldn’t answer and continued with here spiel again brushing my question aside. 

Ok – she may have been nervous, didn’t know how to answer or just had no idea as to what to say so used the “let this question slide and I’ll keep going” tactic, spouting on more about something I had no interest in. 

I thought I’d see if I could pinpoint where she was calling from and asked for her phone number. She said she didn’t have a number I could call back on um – what? Surely there’s a number, she rang me after all – I’m sure it was from a landline, it sure wasn’t jungle drums. 

Since she didn’t know who I was, what I did or wasn’t able to give me a phone number, I suggested the end the call and hung-up. 

Where did this call go wrong? Firstly she asked me how I was – a waste of time. If anything she should have said something on the lines of “have you got a moment to talk?” or “I hope I haven’t got you at a bad time” – either of which gives an impression of understanding that I’m not here to take the call and have other things to be getting on with.   

Also, saying something on those lines can leave the door open for the caller to be able to call back at a later – pre arranged time.                 

My caller also indicated she had knowledge of what my business does when in fact she had no idea – if you can’t back it up, don’t say it – you will be caught out. 

She didn’t have a number for me to call back on, come on – even outsourced call centres will normally make sure there is a number for people to call back on. If there’s no number I don’t want to know about them. 

I’d suggest a call be ‘staged’ on these lines


“Good morning/afternoon it’s __________ from XYZ – have you got a moment to talk? 

If yes

Great thank you – I’m calling about …. blah blah blah 

There should be questions to make sure you understand who you’re speaking with – qualifying too that you have the right person. 

Also, and this is really important – if you have the persons name use it, and use it at least three times in the conversation. People like hearing their name, and it also helps to bring someone back to the conversation should they have become distracted by other things in the surrounds. 

If the caller got a No when they asked if it was a convenient time, or similar: 

“Ok – would you mind if I gave you a call back perhaps later today, or would tomorrow be more suitable?” Often this will make the “prospect” ask what it was about, or suggest that  a call later would be suitable. 

If the person says yes to being called back, offering a choice of times makes them feel as though they are now controlling the call and will be more receptive when they’re called back. 

These are basics, and if someone doesn’t know how to make a decent telemarketing call – they should be taken off the phone and offered further coaching. 

Not long after this call I received another, this time from an insurance agent – he started off perfectly, asked me if it was convenient to talk, summarised in maybe ten words what the call was about – then when I said I wasn’t interested he apologised for the ‘intrusion’ and the call was terminated. 

If you’re using telemarketers give them the tools to do the job – not just a headset, give them some background, give them contact details should someone want to call back, and let your agents be people, let them do their own script using their own words and personality. If you don’t do this then just get a bank of phones and a pre-recorded tape of what you’re pitching – it‘ll have the same results and also cost a lot less.

This originally appeared on adagebusiness

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