Telemarketing/sales is an important part of most communication strategies – it can significantly progress the sales cycle if done well. The problem is, people are difficult to get hold of and can be reluctant to give you much of their time – no doubt something you understand, as most of us behave in the same way when we receive a sales call, closed and a bit abrupt!
I’ve heard some funny stories about how people deal with them – some just go silent and see how long the sales person hangs on for…others put on a fake foreign accent, whilst others do the classic yo..u…’re b.r..eak…ing uuu.p – quite amusing really. So I think it’s fair to say you can waste your time as a sales person, just as much as we can all waste our own time taking an unwanted call.
I probably get at least one sales call a day, some more interesting than others – I don’t always answer them…but I’ve found that by ignoring them they don’t actually go away…more on persistence later – I should have known better because I’ve always say that tenacity pays off! The more I work in Marketing and Sales the more I think that a polite, honest answer is best – it’s not always convenient to pick up the phone, but if I do, I’m quick to make a decision and be up front if I’m not interested. I don’t want to waste my time or the sales persons either. I know how the process works, time is precious and I don’t want them putting me as a hot lead if I’m not – so if it’s not for me or the timing is wrong, I’ll just say that and I would expect the individual to respect my honesty.
So although some sales calls can be annoying, they shouldn’t stop! It’s a matter of taking the right approach. I’ve experienced some excellent sales people who are:
- Organised – you need to know who you’re calling and expect them to pick up the phone. There’s nothing worse than someone who wastes your time by not being prepared for the call
- Realistic – we all need time to digest information, if someone’s downloaded a white paper, a call one minute later probably isn’t going to work, but a call two weeks later will miss the boat. Also, the best sales people are realistic about the sales cycle and how long it can take to progress, so be patient
- Courteous – for me, pushy DOESN’T work. Even if your products are what I’m looking for, push me and ‘I’m out!’
- Determined – we’re all busy and you’ll never truly know the best time to call, so try different times and different days. I wouldn’t advise bombarding someone with calls because they may be at their desk, it just isn’t a good time. That said, sometimes if the phone rings out, an immediate call back straight after can work…
- Polite, but get to the point – If I’ve taken the call, then I’ve got some time for you, but not all day! Everyone appreciates someone who can build a relationship quickly, but get to the point and don’t ask too many casual questions. Unfortunately some people are born with this and some people have to work really hard at it.
- Natural – everyone loves a trier, but push too hard to build a connection and it will do the opposite. A lot of quick relationship building is done through body language (this can still come across on the phone) and working off how the other person reacts…so smile, be positive and friendly, the rest will come down to whether they like you or not!
So although we may find sales calls annoying, from a marketer’s and sales perspective, if done well, they play an important part in being memorable and progressing the cycle.