How to Survive As a Telemarketer

Three Methods:Preparing for Your RoleExecuting Your Role EffectivelyCoping with the Stress and Anxiety of Your Role

Though telemarketing can be seen by many consumers are annoying or intruding, research shows that telemarketing can be an effective way to fundraise and boost sales.[1] As a telemarketer, you may experience frustration, stress, and anxiety due to pressure from your employer to make sales or raise funds, and from consumers who would rather not speak to you. To survive as a telemarketer, you will need to prepare for your role so you can be an effective telephone salesperson, and you will need to use coping strategies so you do not burnout while on the job.

Method 1
Preparing for Your Role

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    Create a pre-call strategy. Before you even pick up the phone, you should consider how you are going to approach the customer. The telemarketing company you work for may provide a script that you can follow during the call, but it may be useful to consider what you as a telemarketer want to communicate to the customer. Often, you can be more successful during the call if you take the customer into account and speak with passion and genuine enthusiasm.[2]
    • You should consider what you want the customer to do as a result of the call and what you want to achieve by the end of the call. This could be donating to the cause you are calling for, purchasing a service or item you are selling, or simply listen to information on a product and agreeing to a follow up call.
    • You should come up with a secondary objective for every sales call. This should be a simple action or agreement from the customer that you should try to accomplish every time you call a customer. This will help you see each call as an accomplishment or a success, even if you do not achieve the primary goal of getting the customer to donate or buy the service or product.
    • For example, you may have a secondary goal of getting the customer to agree to accept information or literature on the product or service and be okay with being placed on a follow up call list.
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    Gather information on the customer. To improve your chances at a sale or a donation, you should work with your boss and/or your co workers to profile potential customers. Analyzing the customer call list and focusing on certain customers who have been open to donations or sales in the past will increase the likelihood of success.[3]
    • Often when you are cold-calling, you do not have access to very much information on the customer or their needs. You will need to get this information during the call instead. But focusing on strategic call lists, where you separate customers who have been receptive in the past and focus on them first, early in the day or in the week, can improve your confidence as a telemarketer. One sale or donation early on from a receptive customer can help you survive the rest of the work week.
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    Leave an effective voicemail if the customer does not pick up. In a recent study, nearly 75% of all telemarketing calls reach the customer’s voicemail. Leaving an effective voicemail may encourage the customer to call you back and increase their interest in your product or service.[4]
    • To create an effective voicemail, you should keep the message short, no longer than 45 seconds. You should also mention the purpose for your call and describe the solution or improvement your company is offering. You should also say the customer’s name at the beginning and the end of the message and offer a callback number at the beginning and the end of the message.
    • A sample voicemail could be: “Hello Jenna. This is Pierre with TeleMarket Solutions. My phone number is xxx-xxxx. The reason I’m calling you is to talk about marketing strategies in online media to improve your business’ sales and boost your business profile online. If you are interested in elevating your business’ online presence, please contact Pierre at xxx-xxxx. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you, Jenna.”

Method 2
Executing Your Role Effectively

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    Use interest opening statements. The first few seconds when the customer answers are critical to landing a sale or a donation. You will need to provide an answer to “What’s in it for me?” for the customer to keep them on the line.[5]
    • Avoid rhetorical questions, such as “If I could tell you how to improve your online presence as a business, you would be interested in this, wouldn’t you?” You should avoid a generic opening, such as “I was just calling people in your area and you’re next on my list”. You want to customer to feel unique and important, not just another name on a list.
    • Focus on interest opening statements that use non confrontational language. For example: “Hello, Jenna, This is Pierre from TeleMarket Solutions. Depending on how your business is doing with its online presence, I might have a program that could potentially increase your online traffic and online sales. I’d like to ask you a few quick questions to see if this something that would be useful for your business.”
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    Ask open ended questions. Once the customer agrees to answer a few questions, thank them for their time and start with simple, open ended questions. You should also specify how long the questions will take, usually no more than five to ten minutes. This will let the customer know how much time you are going to need from them and make it clear that your sales pitch will be concise and to the point.[6]
    • For example, if you are trying to see a program that focuses on strategies for online sales, you could start by asking the customer, “How long have you been in business?” “Do you have an existing online presence, such as a website or a social media account?” “What are you looking for in terms of your online presence? Sales? Advertising? A combination of both?”
    • Make sure you ask only one question at a time and are an attentive listener. Make note of the customer’s answers and confirm their needs before moving on to the sales pitch. You should thank the customer for answering your three questions and restate their answers back to them to make sure you understand their needs. For example: “Thank you for sharing that information with me. I’m hearing that you are looking for a program that will increase your online sales and raise your online profile. Is that correct?”
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    Look for commitment from the customer before making the sales pitch. If the customer appears receptive after answering the three open ended questions, they will often encourage you to tell them more or will at least be willing to stay on the line with you. Take this as a sign that they are at least somewhat interested in your product or service. At this point, you can discuss the potential benefits of the service or product in response to the customer’s needs.[7]
    • You may say: “Based on the information you have provided with me, Jenna, I recommend you consider the benefits of our program. Our program will actually address several of your needs and boost your online sales.”
    • This is also the point where you can tell the customer about the benefits of the service, share customer testimonials and provide a detailed explanation of the features of the service or product. This should help to get the customer more excited and engaged in what you are selling.
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    Close the call on a positive note, even if you do not make a sale. Once you finish your sales pitch, you should then check in with the customer to make sure they are still interested in your product or service and if they reply positively, you can then offer several options to end the call. This could be signing up for the service or product, agreeing to a follow up call, or agreeing to receive more information via email or mail.
    • Try to end the call by getting to customer to sign on for at least one of these three options. This way, even if you do not make the sale, you can end the call on a positive note and feel you have accomplished at least one goal of your call.
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    Address any resistance or objections with openness, rather than defensiveness. If you receive any resistance or objection from the customer at any point in the call, resist the desire to get defensive or angry. Instead, it is important that you interpret the customer’s objection and try to counteract them by providing a solution to their objection in the form of your product or service.[8]
    • Avoid using rebuttals that point out the customer is wrong. Focus on listening to the objections of the customer and do not give up without trying to provide an answer or a solution to their issue.
    • For example, the customer may say they already have a program for online business sales and do not need your services. You can counter this by asking if their existing program has certain features or is cheaper than your service.

Method 3
Coping with the Stress and Anxiety of Your Role

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    Look at every call as a potential accomplishment. Rather than view a call where you do not sell a product or do not get the customer to sign up for a service as a failure, look at each call as full of potential and future accomplishment. Even if the customer says no, simply getting the customer to talk to you for one minute and listen to your outline of the benefits of the product should be viewed as a minor achievement. Telemarketing is a difficult industry and connecting with a customer, even if you do not get a sale, can energize you for the next call.[9]
    • It can help to end a call by planting a seed for future contact or communication so you do not feel the call is a rejection or a firm “no”. If you cannot achieve the primary objective of selling the product or service, you can try to achieve the secondary objective of getting the customer to listen to the benefits of the product or agree to a call back at a later time.
    • For example, “Jenna, it looks like we do not have a good fit here today but if you find yourself needing a program for online sales that is cheaper and full of extra features, please get in touch with me.”
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    Lean on your co workers for support and encouragement. Often, getting told “no” or being hung up on as a telemarketer can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Rather than isolate yourself when you feel this way, look to your co workers for support and encouragement. Try sharing a bad end to a call with a co worker to let off steam and suggest you go for a quick walk or take a coffee break together to shake off the rough call. Your co workers have likely all had to deal with a bad call or an angry customer and can offer words of sympathy and encouragement.[10]
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    Be open to constructive feedback. Another way to improve your sales record as a telemarketer, and make your job that much easier, is to be willing to take constructive feedback from your superiors or your co workers. Agree to extra training on how to be an effective cold caller and listen attentively to any suggestions from others on how to improve your cold calling skills.
    • By focusing on how you can get better at your job, you can also avoid getting bored in the role or feeling unfulfilled. Learning new skills in the role can keep you engaged and excited about doing your job.
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    Focus on each customer’s need, rather than your quota. Many telemarketing companies have quotas their employees must fulfill every week or month. These quotas can be stressful, as you will be under a lot of pressure to meet the quota, especially in the last several days of the quota period. Rather than focus on how you are going to land a high amount of sales, which can lead to stress and anxiety, think about connecting with each customer every time you pick up the phone. By looking at each call as an opportunity to connect with someone, you will be less overwhelmed by pressure to fill a quota and will likely improve your sales record by being genuine and enthusiastic.[11]
    • It can also help to keep in mind telemarketing is a very difficult job, with a high level of turnover. Having a strong pre calling plan and approach and practicing your ability to connect with customers on a daily basis will make you a stronger telemarketer and help you thrive in the role.

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