I probably get at least three calls a week from a prospect looking to hire a telemarketer or my firm to do telemarketing. Inevitably, the question of my fees will come up. Most will be fine with my rates and I usually work with each client to make it as affordable as possible. However the remainder will often insist on paying me a huge commission based on performance. To which I always say no. Prospects are often surprised by this response so I´ve decided to explain why most tm´s won´t take a "commission only" job and if they do why they won´t stick around. I´m sharing this info in the hopes that entrepreneurs will begin to understand that telemarketing is not a hobby for many of us. It´s a career.
First off, there was a time in the not so distant past when I worked for commission only, so I´m speaking from experience. I was often promised huge pay offs (usually several hundred dollars per appointment) for booking qualified appointments or generating leads. Theoretically a telemarketer should be able to make a comfortable living even if they´re only average. At first deals like these sound too good to be true and believe me they are. This isn´t about a telemarketer´s skill so much as a stable paycheck. Knowing when and how much you´re getting paid can do wonders for your job performance. Let´s say that a telemarketer books an appointment and the sales person is initially happy. What happens from that point on is rather interesting. The following are true instances of what can happen after that"?¦.
The salesperson gets sick and the meeting is re scheduled to another time at which point the prospect has found another resource.
The meeting gets rescheduled and the sales person either forgets to go or forgets to tell the telemarketer(this happened recently)
The appointment gets re-assigned to someone with less skill than the initial salesperson and the appointment is blown.
The appointment gets booked and the salesperson decides to blow it off because it´s not worth their time to go(this actually happened with one salesperson, many, many, many times)
The salesperson goes to the meeting but somehow blows it, blames the telemarketer and decides not to pay the telemarketer.
The salesperson goes to the appointment but is far too busy to keep track of all of his appointments and thus has no record or recollection of going on the appointment or giving the telemarketer credit.
Appointment is booked and commission is paid but then the prospect cancels the appointment and the telemarketer loses the commission (chargeback).
Commission is booked only after the deal is closed which can take months at which point the salesperson has probably forgotten where the lead came from to begin with.
Are you getting the picture? I am not saying that salespeople won´t pay a telemarketer but after many years of doing this I´ve noticed a certain hesitancy to either share commissions or write a big commission check or even acknowledge the lead came from the telemarketer. Some even have a problem paying a salary because they don´t think of the profession as skilled or necessary. This is a big mistake because someone has to make the calls. Again not all salespeople are like this in the way not all telemarketers are flakes. Keep this in mind.
Telemarketers like sales people need to eat, pay rent etc. Do you really want them worrying about this while trying to book a "quality" appointment?
The reason most appointments aren´t quality is because they aren´t qualified. The reason they aren´t qualified is because the telemarketer is selling from the "faster, cheaper better" lie. Meaning they aren´t selling by asking probing questions (more on that in my other column on creating the need) but rather telling the prospect what they need and selling from fear and shame. Have you noticed that a telemarketer will often tell you 15 things about a product before you´ve had a chance to ask 1 question? Because they are selling from fear and shame. More on that in another column; the bottom line is that they are so focused on rejection that they spend all of their time trying to make a quota and sacrificing quality. Once again, if they don´t make their quota, they won´t get paid. After all ,they are being paid commission only. Therefore the appointment isn´t "qualified or quality". I´ve often commented on my amazement that a telemarketer who books appointments for a company is often not paid nearly as much as a salesperson who sells the product. Both are skilled at their job and both are a necessary evil and an integral part of building sales for a company. However, most experienced salespeople would never accept a commission only job no matter how great the pay off. Who needs the pressure of wondering if they´ll be able to eat next month? Another reason a telemarketer may not stick around is lack of respect. It´s very easy to look down ones nose just because they make phone calls for a living, until you have to do it yourself. Telemarketing like sales is a thankless job, but the rewards and recognition are better.(Have you every heard of a" Telemarketer of the Year Banquet/Bonus/Award"? I didn´t think so).This is yet another reason why most tm´s won´t stick around. Low pay. Low pay is almost as bad as commission only. Again this is the person who is helping you build your firm by bringing in sales/appointments. Do you really want to pay them $10.00 an hour and expect them to stick around? If anybody could do what telemarketers do (well), everyone would do it. Final, thoughts to keep in mind"?¦
Pay for quality and experience. This is true regardless of the profession.
Pay a decent wage, again regardless of the profession.
Telemarketers like salespeople are skilled to bring in more business to your firm. Give them the respect they deserve.
Paying for a skill is an investment which means that you may not see a return right away. Be patient, it will pay off in the long run.
Now that my tirade is over, just keep these thoughts in mind and you will keep a good telemarketer (and sales professional) around for years. And with a good (and happy) telemarketer setting good appointments, you´ll eventually get good (and more) sales. And isn´t that the point?