A book I read some years ago called, “No Lie, Truth Is the Ultimate Sales Tool”, by Barry Maher (not to be confused with Bill) teaches a technique called “making skeletons dance.”
In essence, you learn to re-evaluate and re-frame perceived negatives by expanding your awareness of the issues.
This sounds like typical salesperson double-talk, I know, but I highly recommend this book. It has aided me a lot when writing scripts for clients with difficult objections to overcome.
In any case, I thought I might apply some of the thought process I learned to a common situation in my business.
Recently, most members of a team of newbies (new telemarketing team members), couldn’t handle the work pace. I gave them a second chance, but most of them never took me up on it.
This is very typical for virtual telemarketing teams, particularly if they’re newbies. You start with ten and find that only two or three survive the learning curve.
Now, most traditional facilities-based telemarketing businesses would be aghast at these statistics. At first glance, this seems to be terrible waste of effort and money.
A recent survey found that the average cost of recruiting, screening, and training a new telemarketing agent is about $1,400. So, for a traditional call center to lose most of their hired agents after just a few days of calling, would quickly put a dent in their profits and ability to operate.
The traditional hiring and training process for a facilities-based call center involves a lot of time and commitment on both sides. So, once an agent is hired and working, both sides are loath to cut the cord even if either or both are unhappy.
This is one reason why so many traditional call centers have, shall we say, “less than competent” operators on the phone.
Now let’s look at it from the virtual agency’s perspective.
With hundreds of thousands of perspective work-at-home professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities, the virtual agency does not have to worry about a limited labor pool. A single job posting on the net will usually result in dozens of inquiries from prospective agents nationwide.
With the growing availability of cheap long distance calling, affordable high-speed Internet access, web-based lead management systems, and virtual training and communications tools, more and more companies can rely on work-at-home professionals.
This gives the virtual agent many options when it comes to whom they want to work for.
The upshot is that the level of commitment is lower on both sides.
Wait, isn’t that a bad thing?- you might ask.
Well, yes and no. On the negative side, you have a higher initial turnover.
But, on the positive side, those that stick with you are likely to be around for a long time.
I have agents that have worked with CCI off and on for as many as 15 years.
Another plus is that you can take advantage of the 80/20 rule much more easily.
Out of every five agents you start with, one will generate 60% to 80% of the results. The rest will usually self-select themselves for removal- especially if compensation is tied to performance.
Knowing this in advance, you can start with four more agents for every one that you need.
Imagine trying to do this in a traditional call center or office setting. Let’s say you have space for four telemarketing agents. Can you really hire 20 and let 16 go after a few days or weeks of “survival of the fittest?”
Not likely. You don’t even have the space to seat everyone.
Finally, you might ask, “what about the cost?”
Well, that’s the kicker. Most of the screening and training takes a fraction of the time it does in a traditional setting. Most everything can be put online in the form of videos, audio files, documents, and quizzes- so much of the training is self-administered.
The end-result? A team of dedicated top performing telemarketing agents kicking ass and taking names. (pardon my French)