Veteran telemarketers will tell you that nothing is more valuable than the experience of making thousands of calls, and they’re right. By regularly speaking to prospects, leads and customers, telemarketers will find their own unique style. But whether seasoned professionals or fresh-faced new-starts, there are some essential lessons every telemarketer must learn…
Pause for effect
When we find ourselves speaking too fast, we unconsciously introduce extra words or noises, such as ‘ummm’ to create the extra time needed for our brain to catch up.
To stop this happening, simply pause for a moment. This will produce two amazing effects. The first is that the annoying repeated word or ‘ummm’ will be removed. The second effect is it creates a moment where the impact of your next statement will be increased. For example, ‘our product was voted top product at the Innovation Awards 2013… pause… When people saw it they were amazed at how easy it was to use.
Getting past the ‘gatekeeper’ can be a challenge, but there is a powerful technique which works time and time again. It is typical that when a telemarketer speaks to a receptionist or PA, the phrase ‘can I speak with John Denham please’ is met with a resounding ‘no’.
However, receptionists and PAs are used to doing what they have been asked to do, and they usually do this very well. So, take that willingness to serve and use it to your advantage. The key to this technique is to NOT make a request to speak with somebody; instead change the request to a statement or a command. The ideal phrase is ‘I’m looking to speak with John Denham, thank you’. Ensure that you use a steady pace and that the inflection on the words ‘thank you’ goes down at the end.
Create an opening hook
The idea of a ‘sales hook’ is that the opening line to your decision-maker will make them intrigued and want to know more about your product/service instead of trying to get you off the phone. Three key features of a sales hook are:
- Keep it under 50 words – Often when a telemarketer gets through to a decision-maker they blow it by stating every benefit of the product and service in the hope that one of them will hit home
- Use a powerful USP – What does your product/service do? Is it going to save money? Is it going to transform the way your potential client works?
- End with a question – If your opening line ends with a question, is it likely to open up a conversation and engage your decision-maker?
For example, ‘My name is Sharon and I’m calling from Highgrove cleaning. We ensure your office is a really clean workplace and in over 80% of cases we can reduce your cleaning costs by over 40%. Who are you using for your cleaning at the moment?’
Always use open questions
Strong open questions in a ‘pitch’ will ensure a good conversation with a decision-maker, and they’ll help extract crucial information that can be used to direct the conversation. An open question cannot be answered with a simple yes/no and will require the decision-maker to think more and provide a meaningful answer.
A good telemarketing call will have at least 4 or 5 open questions that will help direct the conversation. For example:
• What are you paying at the moment?
• What is your annual budget for this?
• How much time do you invest in this weekly?
• What would you do without budget and time restrictions?
Remember to listen to the actual answer, and the tone of voice too.
Trial closing (practice swings)
The trial close can be used at any point during a call and is a safe and effective way to gauge how your conversation is going. Typical trial closes are:
• How does that sound?
• What are your thoughts about this?
• What do you think?
• How would this work in your office?
If things are going well, you can follow-up a trial close with the normal close. If the decision-maker mentions an objection, simply use the benefits of the service/product to overcome the objection, and then try another trial close.