Do you know what the outcome of you cold call should be? If not, stop and consider this. Every firm in the world uses one form or other of telemarketing. What, you don´t use telemarketing? Consider this"?¦.
With the economy growing rapidly, firms are constantly looking for better (and faster) ways to market their product or services to the masses. Never before has it been more important for companies to get the edge on their competition. The internet, video conferencing cell phones and other technological advances have given many companies the added edge to their message across to you before the next guy. Some firms are clear that telemarketing is still the way to go.
Knowing which form of telemarketing to use will help move the call in the right direction. For example, most companies make the mistake of focusing their campaign on selling the product/service over the phone even when they have an outside sales force. While a phone sale is a necessary component to an effective sales campaign, it isn´t always applicable for a telemarketing campaign. Some products/services do not lend themselves to being sold over the phone. The more complex the sales item, the more you may need to set an actual face to face appointment rather than trying to close it over the phone. In this case the job of the telemarketer is to generate a lead and set an appointment and not to sell the item. That´s the sales person´s job. It´s also important to not give too much sales information over the phone because again, that is what the sales person is for. When you determine what your telemarketing needs are it becomes easier to close the deal.
I am from the "smile and dial " era of telemarketing where you didn´t need a computer to dial the phone for you. But before we begin you may be wondering. What is telemarketing?
The new shorter Oxford English Dictionary Lists "telemarketing"or "telemarket" as marketing goods or services etc., by means of using unsolicited phone calls to prospective customers. While this may be a good definition for telemarketing, it isn´t all together accurate. In truth, telemarketing takes on a variety of forms, including appointment setting, lead generation, sales, market research and customer service. Each form has a different function and objective. It all depends on what you want to accomplish with your phone call . Here is a description of each function as it is used in every day business.
Appointment Setting-Quite simply, these are appointments that are set with leads generated thru call-backs (more on call backs later) or cold calls. It is probably the most used form of telemarketing in business today. Because most firms need to book appointments with prospects and clients to generate a sale. Setting an appointment isn´t as simple as it seems because it takes a certain amount of finesse, diplomacy and listening skills to convince a prospect to interrupt his/her day for a sales call.
Lead Generation-If your going to set an appointment, then you must first generate a lead. Leads are generated thru cold calling, cb (call back) or referral. Referrals are generally more reliable because it comes from a reliable source. A client or good prospect will be able to give you pertinent info on a new potential lead and also help you create an affinity with the person. When I do workshops I always ask if the client remembers to get referrals. The answer surprises me every time. Most sales people either forget or feel uncomfortable asking for a referral because they think that it´s an invasion of professional and/or private space. This may be true but remember that in the sales arena, everyone is a prospect. I f you don´t ask for a referral, then believe me, your competitor will. Call backs on the other hand are established thru a series of cold calls .At some point the prospect may request information be sent to him/her to either learn about your firm or to get you off the phone. I think in certain situations its okay to send info. The reason "?¦exposure. Think of it this way, with so many of your competitors vying for the same clientele base, it´s imperative that you keep your firm´s name in the fore front of the prospects mind. So even if the prospect is blowing you off, you can still keep him on you mailing list. He may not be interested today but six months from now your firm may be the one he/she contacts"?¦..because he has your brochure and he´s ready to do business.
Customer Service-If you have customers, then you use customer service. Unfortunately this form of telemarketing is often neglected by even the best companies. The truth is, we as sales people spend so much time landing the account and making standard sales promises (we´re better, faster, cheaper) that we forget to really take care of the customer´s needs. Without that needed attention to the customer and his/her details, there is no honor or credibility from the client´s standpoint. Make the customer feel important or they will surely take their business elsewhere. It´s as simple as that.
Market Research- This form is very much like lead generation. The difference is this. While lead generation is about creating a lead thru a series of cb´s for immediate prospecting, market research is about creating a market for future lead generation purposes (i.e. sending info about a product). Therefore market research becomes the precursor to lead generation and appointment setting. Simply put, this form of telemarketing is about gathering info for future reference.
Sales-Okay, here is a confession. Selling on the phone is my least favorite form of telemarketing. Anyone who has ever received a phone call during dinner is all too familiar with the inevitable call from the telemarketer. Believe it or not this is how the telemarketing industry got such a bad reputation (this and the bill collection industry). Keep in mind that while most of us hate getting sales calls at the office, we do realize that it is a necessary evil. Telemarketing has always been considered a residential or consumer vehicle for generating new prospects. While still a viable option, phone sales should be handled with as much professionalism and courtesy as possible. I personally only take on b2b customers. I hate being hung up on.
In conclusion, telemarketing can be a vehicle to put your sales team on the road to success. Knowing which form of telemarketing is best for your needs will help you to orchestrate a marketing plan that is geared towards an accomplishing your goal"?¦.sales.
Tony Wilkins is the owner of Telemarketing Consulting Services and author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms´ available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column, please contact Tony Wilkins at email@example.com