Here are five easy but effective things you can do now to make you an expert in cold-calling.
By Liz Lemarchand, MediaDev
Telemarketing is one of those tactics that people love to hate. It’s easy to bash the low-level telemarketer who sounds like he’s reading a script — I mean, seriously, who doesn’t hate getting those calls? But when it’s done the right way, peer-to-peer, one-on-one outreach through outbound calling can (and does) work. It’s important because it’s one of the most direct ways of engaging a new prospect (who may not have access to your online content or be ready enough to make a sales inquiry); it can be used to promote, advise and initiate a high-level, in-depth discussion with one or more decision-makers in a company. It’s a great way to obtain useful information (from all types of people) to navigate your way to the right person, and it’s one of the few methods used to obtain consent that’s entirely GDPR compliant.
Of course in order for it to work, you have to work at it. As Part 5 of my series Why Telemarketing Works, here are five tips to make your next telemarketing campaign a success:
Tip #1. Combine telemarketing with social selling
Having a holistic approach to marketing, and combining inbound and outbound strategies for maximum impact is the best way to ensure that you’ll reach your target audience. By using social selling techniques, reaching out to prospects on social media channels, and then calling them at precise intervals on the phone, you’ll be sure to get their attention. It will make it easier for you to have a conversation with a decision-maker if he/she already knows who you are (because your profile is also accessible to them) and why you are contacting them (on and offline). Having highly tailored pitches (not to say The Perfect Pitch) will make both social selling and telemarketing easier.
Tip # 2. Leave a voicemail
The general rule of thumb is that call center agents don’t leave messages, which is a big no-no to overlook doing so in my opinion. Leaving a message for a prospect lets him/her know why you called, and gives them a heads-up to be on the lookout for your callback. Of course you have to explain the purpose of your call clearly and concisely (don’t ramble on and on), and it’s best to leave a call back number too (for credibility purposes, and again not to appear like a call center agent that’s calling). Leaving a voicemail will help put you on the same level as your prospect — which will make them more likely to want to speak to you when you call again (or could actually inspire them to call you back).
Tip #3. Make the cold call lukewarm first
Both tactics described above help turn the cold call into a tepid one. Any interaction that you can have with a prospect so that your first call isn’t “totally out of the blue” will help make that initial conversation better. People like to feel connected — by making the first conversation relaxed, and informal, that will help put prospects at ease. When people are at ease, they are more likely to open up.
It’s important not to sound stressed-out or in a rush — prospects pick up on voice signals like these and believe me, they’re a real turn-off. Having confidence and assurance in your voice, knowing your topic well, and where you want to take the conversation, will help it go smoothly.
Tip #4. Never forget your CTA
Writer Malcom Gladwell says that in order to be a good writer, you need to know the end of your story before you start writing. The same is true with telemarketing — you need to know what your desired outcome is, and work at taking your prospect to that end point. Your intended call-to-action (CTA) is just that: it means ending the call by outlining the desired next step. Maybe that’s a sales demonstration, a follow-up call at a specified date and time, or getting more information over to the prospect by email. No matter what it is, there needs to be a next step — otherwise you’re missing the point (and passing up on an opportunity).
Tip #5. Follow up with a personalized email message
When possible, it’s nice to follow up a conversation with a thank-you note, and include a recap of the key points that were discussed. Sending an email message like this helps solidify the exchange, clarify any points of misunderstanding, and again, reiterate the intended CTA. It can help “anchor” a lead especially if you are asking to confirm the next meeting’s date and time. You’ll be leaving a good (and hopefully a lasting) impression.
Being good at telemarketing means being a well-rounded sales professional. The days of mass dial-outs in rigid call centers (where telemarketing agents are treated like modern-day factory workers) are over. Savvy, personalized approaches using a mix of tactics both on and offline is the way to go. Foregoing telemarketing or thinking that it’s a waste of time is a shame because when it’s done the right way, it’s excellent for information gathering, and strengthening relationships with prospects. Of course, knowing the culture of the country you are calling, and speaking their native language is also essential, but that’s a whole other blog post right there! Happy calling.