Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Career in Telemarketing

When I first got a job as a call center agent, I was 27 years old. We were given a month to train before we were brought to the production area. We had to practice our English and grammar skills, master our script and rebuttals, and know our product in that period of time. By the second week, some of the trainees already wanted out. Somehow, the adjustment of reporting to the office at 2:00 a.m. for training felt awkward. I didn't like the idea of quitting. I continued the training and after 8 months I got promoted to a team leader.

Personal change takes time, and the impulse to quit or change direction should not always be an immediate option. Coincidentally, I have seen this parallel relationship to people who work in call centers, but the sole difference lies in the level of commitment. A huge number of agents tend to resign from the company after six or seven short months. If ever they stayed beyond that, the drive to continue working begins to wear thin. Without a doubt, there are valid reasons why this occurs; some are affected by the physical strain, while some agents simply get bored.

There are no shortcuts to success and I believe that. You just expand the confidence that's already inside you, because this will ultimately reflect on how you perform in the workplace, should you decide to choose the career of a telemarketer or a call center agent.
There can never be a perfect job in terms of doing things at your pace, unless it's your own business. Then again, running your own business is twice as hard as being an employee. So I think working for a call center will give us our fair share of pressure, and will also require us to put in the effort. Now it's up to us to sustain that effort and continually understand how our long term goals are connected to it.

If you are a salesperson or a business owner, then finding new business is an essential part of your job. And deep down you probably know that finding new business involves getting on the phone and calling complete strangers. If you are not making unsolicited calls to potential prospects in your target market and your competitors are, then you will put yourself at a significant disadvantage. Cold calling does work, because it is the only form of marketing that guarantees you some sort of response from the individuals in your target market.

Some people are phone shy, they feel that calling is boring, they hate the phone, they can't take rejection. Cold calling is not for everybody - there are a few - that is where and why I exist.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Telemarketing Call Log

I think that the most neglected lesson of all in sales is the importance of keeping track of one’s personal statistics.  Many salespeople are ignoring their own numbers.  

You know that in order for you to make X sales, you have to set XX appointments.
In order to set XX appointments, you have to talk to XXX prospects and ask each one for an appointment.

In order to get XXX completed calls, you have to make XXX calls to begin with.

The point I’m making is that by understanding your ratio and monitoring it with an ongoing method, you can be much more successful.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Appointment Setting Advice

1.  Stand Up - Talk Loud - Be Confident - You will come across more confident if you are standing up or walking around.

2.  Phone calls are never longer than two minutes.  The phone call is an invitation, not a presentation.

3.  Whoever is more certain will always win.  You call to tell them, not ask them to come.

4.  The mistake people make is to try to recruit them or to sell them.  The outcome is to get an appointment only.

5.  We are not calling to inquire if they want to sit down with us or not.  I am calling to set-up the appointment and assuming that they are interested - that they want in, they just don’t know it yet.  Everybody likes structure and to be guided what to do through good questions.

6.  They ask one question: 75% will meet.  Two questions: drops to 20% and three or more: is near 0% - you have given a presentation, not an invitation.

7.  If they have other questions, say “That's a good question.  Let’s get together at the place of your business and discuss this further, and if I’m with you more than 30 minutes, it’s because you have a bunch of questions.  Fair enough?"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Telemarketing Objections and Rebuttals

Whether you have been selling for a day, a week, or a number of years, you know that whenever you make sales calls, there are objections. But objections are really your opportunity to sell. They give you a chance to focus on the major issues that concern your prospect, and turn them to your advantage in order to make the appointment and later the sale.

An objection has to be treated as a hurdle. You must know how you plan to turn around each objection you face.

In a lot of seminars and trainings that I have joined for telemarketing, I have encountered common objections that come up again and again. We’ll be discussing them here; if you’ve been selling for a while many may be quite familiar. Look closely at these and at the ways you can jump each of these hurdles.

You know I'm glad to discuss this with you sometime, I am busy right now.
Mr. Jones, it’s not my intent to inconvenience you. I’m not going to waste your time; I don’t have a lot of time anyway. I’ll be as brief as possible. If you don’t like what you hear, please stop me and I’ll get out of your way, ok?

I am not sure. I am not interested at this time.
You know something, maybe this is not for you but let me just ask you one more question and I’ll get out of your way. If I can show you a service that you and I will benefit each other, would you give it any consideration?

I am not interested and I am satisfied with our marketing right now.
I can appreciate that. You know something some of our clients told me exactly the same thing until we had a chance to discuss them all the ways we could save time and money by allowing you the advantage of being in front of the customers in your market area. Mr. Jones, if you allow me let us set an appointment at the place of your business to discuss this in a little more detail. Tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock, is that a good time for you?

Send me an email or literature.
We don't send out materials Mr. Jones, instead I’m glad to explain it to you now on how we can (benefits) while saving time and money, I’ll be as brief as possible and if you don’t like what you hear I’ll be the first person to advice you to pass on this. Fair enough?

The prospect gives you resistance on the money.
Response # 1: I can appreciate that. I know it's not about the money. Let me ask you this, have you ever bought something and you knew you can't afford it? If you want it badly enough you get it, is that right? If you believe and see how you benefit by (benefits), you're going to invest for it, you get it.

Response # 2: I can appreciate that. Is the money the only thing standing in the way? If you have the money would you get started? Well if you believe and see how you benefit by (benefits), you will somehow find a way to do this, like maybe you can borrow the money or let’s put it your credit card. If you really what to do this, you will do those things. It’s not really about the money, right?

You get more yeses to your cold calling by making it easy for your prospects to say no to you.

  • Hey, I can appreciate what you're saying. If I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way. I certainly wouldn't expect you to take my word for it. Mr. Jones, with your permission, I'll take my case in less than 5 minutes, if you like what you hear, then let's discuss the next step, but for any reason you feel this is not for you, then I'll be the first person to advice you to pass on this. No hard feelings either way. How does that sound to you?
  • You can accept it or reject it as you see fit.
  • I would have no hard feelings whatsoever. If you look through this program and feel it's not for you, hey no hard feelings whatsoever. In fact I'd be the first person to advise you to pass on it. I wouldn't even want you in my business if you didn't feel completely comfortable. Fair enough?
  • If you like the program/our services, we can discuss the next step. If not, I'll have no hard feelings. Fair enough?
  • If you'd like to take a look at my program, that's fine! When I’m finished if you like what you see, we can discuss the next step. If not I’ll have no hard feelings, in fact I'll be the first person to advise you to pass on it. Fair enough?
  • You might like this, you might not. Either way is fine with me.
  • I'm the easiest person in the world to get rid of. All you've got to do is say - this is not for me.
  • Mr. Jones, this may or may not be for you. You can accept it or reject it as you see fit, that's fine by me. And by the same token I can decide if I want you to be a part of this program or not. I'm particular about who I'm looking for. So with your permission I'll show the program to you, and if you like it we can discuss the next step. If not, hey no hard feelings. I'm the easiest guy to get rid of. Is that fair Mr. Jones?
  • This may or may not be for you, with your permission I need to ask you a few question. May I do so?"
  • You know something, based on what I'm hearing, I don't really believe this program is for you. But I do want to thank you for your time and courtesy anyway. Do you have any questions before I go?
Whenever Someone Is Giving You Resistance
  • I can appreciate that.
  • I know what you mean, I’ve been there myself (only if you have been there).
  • I know how you feel. I felt the same way until I found out that...
  • I don't blame you for feeling that way.
  • We belong to the same club.
  • I’m sure I would feel the same way if I were in your shoes.
Inquiring Buffers
  • May I ask?
  • It would be helpful to me if I could understand more about your situation, so may I ask you a few questions?
  • No problem, I can appreciate that. May I ask why? (if people say no to you)
Prospecting Buffers
  • I’m sorry to bother you.
  • Is this a convenient time to talk?
  • Do you have a moment to talk about this now?
  • I don't know if you could help me or not.
  • I’m sorry to bother you. I don't know if you could help me or not, but did I hear you say that you're concerned about...?
Cushion Buffers
  • With your permission...
  • May I make a suggestion? (when you want to close or make an appointment)
Comfort Buffers
  • It’s not my job to inconvenience you.
  • It’s not my intent to inconvenience you.
Agreement Buffers
  • I agree with you, you shouldn't have to do that either.
  • That makes sense to me.
  • I wouldn't expect you to take my word for it.
If You Need to Apologize
  • I think I’ve caused you to misunderstand me. May I re-explain what I mean by that? 
  • I want to thank you for bringing that to my attention. (if someone is mad)
  • Oh! I'm so sorry. I did not mean to imply this was a "get rich quick deal." There is hard work involved in this for people who make the big money. May I explain what I mean by that?
  • I can see by your expression that I'm not explaining this correctly.
Face-to-Face Meeting
  • Folks with your permission, I want to show my program to you and I have a tendency to talk to fast and I don't know why, but if I talk too fast as I go through this, would you please slow me down?
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jones, with your permission, as I go through this program, if there's any part you feel uncomfortable with, please stop me. I'm very easy to get rid of. It's not my job to inconvenience you, so please stop me if you see or hear something you don't like. Would you do that for me please?
  • If you feel the least bit uncomfortable, please stop me.
If Someone Is Really Resistant
  • Hey! Welcome to the club and I can certainly appreciate what you're saying. You know something, with your permission; I'll show this program to you. If there's any part of this you feel the least bit uncomfortable with, I'll be the first person to advise you to pass on it. 
  • I can appreciate that. I wouldn't want you to be a part of this if you felt the least bit uncomfortable. It wouldn't be good for you, it wouldn't be good for me, and it wouldn't be good for my company. How does that sound to you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Call Script for Timeshare or Travel Club

Hello Bob, My name is Andrew Borda with Royal Palm Travel here in Dallas. I am just curious if you would be open to talking about a word-of-mouth advertising promotion that you and your spouse can take 3 days and 2 nights of hotel accommodations plus 2 round trip airline tickets to your choice of Las Vegas; Cancun Mexico; Orlando Florida; Montego Bay Jamaica; or New Orleans. This may or may not be for you, but if I can prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt that money is not the issue, would you give it any consideration?

Brief Description
We are operating travel and vacation agencies across the US and now we are promoting one in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area. As our way of doing word-of-mouth advertising, we are giving away 3 days and 2 nights of hotel accommodations plus 2 round-trip airline tickets, and regardless of which vacation destination you choose at no time, you are required to buy, sign, or join anything to receive what we're offering. But I'm sure at the back of your mind you’re probably thinking what is the catch, right?

The Catch and Presentation
Bob, let's get together and discuss this in a little more detail. It only takes an hour and a half of your precious time. We simply introduce to you our company; we just want your honest opinions, feedback, and suggestions on how we could improve our company and how we could accommodate our guests better; I’m pretty sure if you have a great time on your vacation you will tell your friends, relatives and neighbors good things about us, right?

That’s what we are after! So instead of the costly billboards, regular newspaper ads, radio or TV commercials, what we are doing right now is giving you a sample of what we can offer, because we both know that word of mouth is still the best advertising you can get no matter what business you are in, don’t you agree?

Vacation Packages
So let me ask you, among the lovely destinations that I mentioned, which sounds more appealing to you? Would that be Las Vegas; Cancun Mexico; Orlando Florida; Montego Bay Jamaica; or New Orleans? . . . That’s a great choice!

If his choice is Las Vegas - Bob, in Las Vegas you’ll be staying in one of our casino hotels definitely on the strip. 3 days and 2 nights of hotel accommodations plus 2 round trip airline tickets, with no strings attached, no salesman bothering you, it’s a real deal vacation.

If his choice is Cancun Mexico - Bob, in Cancun Mexico, you’ll be staying in a beachfront hotel in La Isla de Cozumel. 3 days and 2 nights of hotel accommodations plus 2 round trip airline tickets, with no strings attached, no salesman bothering you, it’s a real deal vacation.

If his choice is Orlando - Bob, in Orlando you’ll be staying in Lake Buena Vista, just a few blocks away from the gates of Disneyland. 3 days and 2 nights of hotel accommodations plus 2 round trip airline tickets, with no strings attached, no salesman bothering you, it’s a real deal vacation.

The good thing about this vacation is you have the whole 12 months to use it. We will give you a year to think and decide when you will use the trip. Sounds good, right?

Quick Recap
So basically that’s it! We simply invite you and have a great time with us and expect to make a few new friends. If you have an interest in joining our Vacation Family, then we will help you to become involved at the level that is most comfortable for you and your family. But again, no matter what the end result, you will walk home guaranteed to receive the Las Vegas vacation package with absolutely no cost at your end. Fair enough?

Appointment Setting
Great! So I'll be reserving two seats for you and your spouse and the Las Vegas vacation package. We have schedules for tomorrow at 6 or 8 p.m., which time works for both of you?

1.  I will quickly verify your information and make sure we get it right.
2.  I have your first and last name as Bob Jones, is that correct?
3.  May I ask for your spouse's name, please?
4.  Both of you have a combined household income of above 50,000 a year?
5.  Are you between the ages of 30 to 70?

Bob, you will be receiving a letter, it is proof that everything that we are discussing now is true and I am not giving you the wrong information. The best and fastest way for us to send it is through your email. What is the best email address for you?

Secondary Phone #
We will be calling you back to better assist you in claiming your gifts, just in case we will not reach you at this number, do you have any secondary number like a mobile or a working number?

Credit Card
Since the vacation package that we're giving you is so valuable, we want you to bring at least two valid IDs, a driver’s license or a state ID, and 1 major credit card. I’m sure you have those IDs right?

If Bob shows resistance:
Don’t worry about the credit card it will not leave your hand and we will not ask for any information or the numbers, we just want to see your name printed on it; we want to make sure that we're giving the gifts to the right person.

Bob, one of our confirmation officers will give you a call back within the next 15 minutes. You will be receiving a gift code, which is a series of numbers that will serve as a pass by the time you claim your gifts. Please wait for the call, alright? Thanks for your time. Again this is Andrew Borda with Royal Palm Travel here in Dallas. Have a good one.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Follow Up Call Script

You are NOT calling to
a. “Follow up,” or
b. “See if they got the information,” or
c. “See if they had time to go over it,” or
d. “To find out if they have time to go through it..”

You are calling back to take control of the close and to get the prospect to buy!

Sample Opening #1
“Hi, _______, this is ______ ______ calling with the ABC Company. I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you, and I’m sure you’ve looked at the information I sent and probably even have a few questions.  Do me a favor and grab that, and I’ll hold on while you do.”

This works because:
A. It’s assumptive
B. You’re in control
C. It overrides any initial resistance

Sample Opening #2
“Hi, _______, this is _______ ______ with the ABC company, how are you doing today? Great!  _______, it’s been an exciting morning here, and I’ve got some updates I think you’ll be interested in regarding that (quote/brochure/information/demo) I sent to you.  It’ll just take a minute to bring you up to speed, so do me a favor, can you please grab that (quote/brochure/information/demo), and I’ll be happy to hold on while you do.”

Sample Opening #3
“Hi _______, this is ______ with the ABC company, how have you been?  Gee I know the feeling. ________, the good news is that this won’t take long, and you’ll be glad you took a few minutes to go over this briefly. Do you have the (quote/brochure/information/demo) handy, or should I hold while you grab it?”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What Is Really The Formula To Success?

Recently I overheard a group of professionals in a restaurant discussing about “What is really the formula to success?”  I just thought about two of my good friends, Mr. Gilbert Larson and Mr. Andrew “Andy” Sering.  Gilbert is a successful telemarketer, calling complete strangers selling products and services.  At present he is managing a call center.  On the other hand, Andy is a successful salesman, meeting sales executives, business managers, business owners selling products and services.  At present he is selling heavy equipments.

I look at Gilbert and Andy as a role model on what I am doing for a living.  These guys excel in their job; they are successful both for their personal lives and their employer’s satisfaction.  I learn a lot from Gilbert and Andy, and from my experience in telemarketing and lead generation.

Work all the time you work - when you go to work, work.  When you work, put your head down and work all day long.  If somebody comes up to you and say “You got a minute to talk?” you say “Yes, but not now, let’s talk after work; right now I need to get my job done.”  And nobody will stop you if you say you need to get back to work.  They will go away and they will ruin some people’s career.  The greatest time wasters in your work are other people who take up your time with either talking or worthless gossips.  You got to avoid the time wasters.  In every single company, these people go around and they are like a virus, they infect everybody they talk to.

Sacrifice - people who are going to be really successful in the future are willing to take sacrifices in the present in order to guarantee that future.  And by sacrifices, I mean they are willing to put the long hours; they are willing to get up earlier; they are going to stay later; they are going to work harder; they are willing to spend more time investing in their children knowing that this investment in their children in time, affection, and support will pay off for decades and generations even for the lives of their children and grandchildren.

Determination - you do what is right or necessary, what is essential and correct; or do you have fun, go out and socializing, drinking with the boys or girls; which do you do first? Successful people do what is hard and necessary first and then they enjoy the rewards later.

Everything is hard before it’s easy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Selling When the Economy is Down

When things are going well, you can sell. If we have a good economy and everyone is buying everything, well it doesn't take a lot of skill to be a sales representative.

But let's take a look at a different scenario. One in which the economy is in a serious downturn. Consumers aren't buying. As a result, Corporations aren't buying. Jobs are going away. And the chances are that there are a lot of really good salesfolks out there who aren't selling.

The sad truth is that these circumstances a lot of them give up. No one's buying, so what's the use? The economy becomes the scapegoat for all their failures. But the truth is it doesn't have to be that way, and you know it and I know it.

Motivate yourself, ignore the news and just go out and sell.

When times are bad, it's easy to get down on yourself. It's easy to say the economy stinks, so there's no point even to go out to make sales calls.

Your sales mentality can't start with where the economy is. If you do that, too often you'll be beaten before you start. The economy is sometimes up, sometimes down.  But in both parts of the cycle, salespeople have to sell.

Do you remember your first day on your job? Your enthusiasm was probably contagious. I'm guessing you saw nothing but new opportunities and big commissions in your future. You have to recall those emotions.

You need to spend some time at least once every six months evaluating where you're going and what your goals are. Are you headed in the right direction?  Making the right cold calls?

I wanted to stress that no matter what the media tells you, it's not necessary to become a victim of an economic downturn. Instead, you can become a sales star.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Call Center and Telemarketing Success

Get at least 2 appointments per day. You work 5 days a week, which means that every week you have, on average, 10 new sales appointments. You close 2 out of 10, so at the end of the year, you should have 100 new clients.

In order for you to be successful in telemarketing, you must be positively obsessed with your work while you're doing it. You have to be so dedicated to the idea that you can satisfy a customer with your product or service; dedicated where there is simply no place for watching the clock, wishing it were time for a coffee break, or wondering how the Lakers are going to do against the Celtics this Sunday.  I'm not telling there's no place for any of these things in your life - just that there's no place for any of these things while you're working. It doesn't mean you must take yourself so seriously that you become a workaholic. It means you must make a commitment to yourself, and build up a routine that is success-oriented.

You must be absolutely dedicated to getting the very most out of your day, and planning ahead on a daily basis is part of that. Don't waste hours planning your time when you could be speaking with clients. Plan your day the evening before.  I would recommend Google Calendar.  Make a to-do list.  Identify important objectives before you start the day; then work like crazy to attain the objectives on your list.

Start early. Try coming into the office an hour before everyone else does. You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Selling is going after people and talking to them. Don't lose sight of that, and don't let your drive be misdirected into something that won't help you put numbers on the board.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Telemarketing: Hard or Easy?

Telemarketing is harder in some ways than direct face-to-face selling, because the prospect has no idea who he or she is talking to. On the other hand, telemarketing is easier and a lot more fun for the same reason. You can dress as you like. You can imagine yourself taller, shorter, thinner, and stronger - it's all up to you.

But, no matter your physical appearance, telemarketing success, as with any sales, always comes down to these bottom line questions:

  • How many appointments did you get today?
  • How much commission did you get today?
  • Did you do more business today than yesterday?
  • Did you do more this week than last week?

Some people are phone shy, they feel that calling is boring, they hate the phone, they can't take rejection. Telemarketing is not for everybody, there are a few, that is where and why I exist.