Telemarketing is the bit of outbound phoning that is likely to be concerned with generating appointments to discuss and identify new business opportunities with decision-makers.

Here are just 8 from our sackful……..

1. Plan your call – Taking time to plan your call will help you maintain focus on the objective.  Review all the information you have on your CRM, and make sure you are prepared. Know what you’re trying to achieve, and be mindful of this at all times. It doesn’t matter if you go off course, you can always bring it back to the job at hand.

2. Focus on the person – On the phone, it is easy to forget you’re talking to a fellow human being. Remember the mantra from the excellent Fish training film Be there. In other words remember that while you’re dealing with your prospect they are all that matters. No allowing yourself to get distracted, checking computer screens for other stuff, checking texts etc. Act as you would if you were meeting them in person. It’s respectful and you’ll achieve more.

3. Get them talking – You want to get them engaged in the conversation as soon as you can. People like talking. You do, they do. So as soon as you’ve introduced yourself, and the reason for the call in one line (be strict) ask them a question to get them talking. How many sales people just talk at their prospect? I don’t like taking sales calls like this, and I suspect your don’t either.  Discuss business with them, and find out all the contextual things you need to help identify the scale of the opportunity you have.

4. Use positive language – Your job is to engage them, get them to break off from what they were doing, and get them interested in what you have to say. Be positive. Describe your products and services using positive language. Make them sound interesting. Don’t go overboard. You must come across naturally to ensure credibility. But get positive. It works. TV presenters on programmes such as cookery shows give us all examples of how to do it.

5. Feel, felt, found – A good way to respond when handling objections is to use the objection as a reason for your sales colleague to meet them.  Use FEEL, FELT, FOUND – “I understand how you feel. Many people I’ve spoken to felt that.” This makes them feel comfortable with raising an objection and not feel ‘wrong.’  You then continue ” ……… However, after they met Sarah, they found that it really did give the savings I’m describing” etc.

6. Don’t give up at the first objection – Customers and prospects throw objections your way. It is inevitable. However bear in mind that some of the best sales or telemarketing calls I’ve ever had, have had objections. It may be that they want to clarify some doubts in their mind. It shows they’re interested. it also lets you know what you’re up against. Much better than them simply saying “I’m not interested thank you. Goodbye.”

Listen to the objection. Try to see it from their point of view. Empathise and then deal with it. Use your questioning skills and learn to cope with the perceived rejection. It’s not personal rejection obviously. They don’t know you, and they’ll almost certainly never meet you. So get over it! It’s all part of the game.

7. Features, Advantages & Benefits – Make sure you make sure you’re conscious of how to describe your products or services in a way that will help your prospect. “On average our customers are finding that since they switched to the new version, they’re saving around 30% on their running costs.” Learn from what lines and approaches work (& don’t work.) Hone your art. Be a professional. Always learning. Features, Advantages & Benefits is one of the topics we cover in our range of audio CDs on selling and telemarketing.

8. Be assertive when closing the appointment – Once you’ve had your conversation with your prospect and you’ve identified some interest, suggest the appointment. Never, ever wait for them to request it. If they do, you’ve obviously missed a buying signal. Getting the agreement to a meeting should be a natural next stage in the call. Then always repeat the appointment details with them :  the appointment time and date and the name of the person who will be visiting. Then thank them for their time.