The b direct logo Hive

"Don't Answer, it's Just a Telemarketer"


God bless caller ID. In the olden days (we're talking 1970s, 80s, 90s and even 00s), when the phone rang, we used to answer it. After all, it could be a friend, a family member, or a celebrity informing you that you'd just won the Publisher's Clearinging House Seepstakes!

Today, we screen.

Oy, do we screen.

Numbers from sketchy 800-lines, towns where we have no contacts, or companies with names like Pro Business Info, Inc. are summarily ignored.

Nevertheless, telemarketing remains an important part of the omnichannel marketing mix. Especially for certain targeted audience segments. At B Direct, we're often asked to write outbound telemarketing scripts to follow-up on a direct mail campaign. A thoughtful, informative, and respectful call can be a powerful next step in the "marketing conversation" that leads to a purchase.

If you're fortunate enough to reach a living, breathing person on the other end, here are some tips to make your script work just hard enough — without pushing your prospective customer away.

Don't start your call with phony friendlilness — or a question that gives the prospect a reason to hang up. Think about how you feel when someone you don't even know feigns interest with "How are you today?" The question begs a flippant answer. "How am I today? Busy. Too busy to talk to you." Instead, respect the prospect and their schedule. "I know you're probably busy, so I'll only take a couple of minutes of your time."

Listen first, tell second. Ask about their experience that products or solutions like yours would improve. Let them lead the conversation, not the other way around. Once they've expressed their frustration, then it's time to suggest a better alternative.

Have an outline or notes handy so that you can succinctly relay the benefits (benefits, not features) of your product or solution. This will respect the prospect's time and ensure that you don't forget any salient points.

Next to your benefits outline, have another "cheat sheet" that spells out typical objections and ways for you to overcome them. Use empathy in this so it doesn't become combative. For example, "I hear you. Other customers have worried that the jabberwocky is too expensive. But, what they quickly realize is that the time they save and the monthly fees they no longer have to pay more than make up for the price."

Spell out next steps without making it a hard sell. Do they have questions? Would they like you to send them an email or brochure wth further details? Can you call them in a few days when they've had a chance to think about it? Again, let them drive the conversation with their preferences as to channel and timing.

Ask for a referral. It can be as simple as, "Do you know anyone else who would benefit from the thingamabub I've just described?" You may be surprised by how many people are willing to provide names and contact info for their cohorts.

Thank them — sincerely. Even if they are not ready or unwilling to speak with you at length. Remember, you're representing your brand and you want them to have a positive interaction regardless of their immediate propensity to buy.

Call the referral they've given you. Mention upfront how you got their name "Your cousin Judy thinks you would be interested in this." Then follow the tips above. (Rinse and repeat.)

One last thing ... telemarketing has got to be one of today's most thankless jobs (remember, we create and send junk mail, so we can relate).

We salute your professionalism and diligence.




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