Life Lessons from Telemarketing

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I often think that telemarketing and telephone sales is the best personal development training tool in the world. It teaches you to set goals which enables you to focus on getting what you want, how to handle rejection which helps with any knock backs you get in life later on, to exercise self discipline by doing the most important thing (the calls) even when you may not feel like it and to celebrate when you achieve success.

I can think of several people I worked with when working as a seminar promoter making 100 calls a day to promote Anthony Robbins and Tom Hopkins. They, like me, are all running their own successful businesses today. Making those calls was just the best training ground ever and really built our characters.

Goal Setting

One of the ways I achieve my goals is to verbalise what I want, to as many people I can. This year I had a goal to train internationally. Just after I started telling people that, I got a call from a Malaysian consultant offering me a 12 month contract to train sales people for their clients all over the world. I am off to Papua New Guinea later this month followed by Singapore so I am very excited. Remember though, none of this just happened overnight, it’s from the focused goal oriented years I have put in.The telemarketing job was my training ground for the great things to come.

When you set a daily goal of how many sales or appointments you intend to make each day, try telling the whole team. Making yourself accountable is a scary thing, but great for your personal development. It reinforces your intent and you may be surprised how often you achieve the figure you set. Write the figure out on a card and have it in front of you as you make your calls. check in with your success every 2 hours. Remember if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

If you work in your own small business, make 10 calls before 10 am, that is 50 per week. Guaranteed – you will never be short of work then.

Handling Rejection

Rejection is simply part and parcel of the sales game. People I train are often surprised when I tell them “Handling rejection is part of the job so it would be a good idea to find a way to love it. When you start this job, it is most likely you will get 9 “nos” to one “yes”. Never take it personally. All you need to remember is that every “no” gets you closer to a “yes” and “no” is “no, not now, not forever”. Welcome the “no” as an opportunity to analyse that call you just made. How could you have done it better?” In life we are going to have bad days and good days. Just remember this job is strengthening your character to be able to better handle the setbacks you have in life.

Goodness knows I have had a couple of major personal setbacks in the last 2 years like a double hip replacement which has made me even less able to do my sports than before (the reason I had the operation was to enable me to do my sports at the same level as I used to) and a very difficult time with my teenage son but I know not to focus on the bad effects and I never lose sight of the fact that they will get better one day if I keep putting in the work.

You see, it’s no use complaining about no-one being interested when you call, it’s about you taking responsibility for your own success by practising and improving your phone presentation until very few can resist your offer. Never be afraid to ask for help from a coach or mentor, it can save you heaps of time and save you losing potential income.

Self Discipline

You very quickly learn when telemarketing that if you allow things to get in the way of the tasks you set for yourself each day and if you get sidetracked on to doing things other than calling prospects, then you do not get the results you want. Likewise if you don’t do your follow-ups of quotes, mail-outs, inactive customers, existing customers, you leave thousands of dollars on the table. It is very important to be self disciplined enough to do the things that are going to get you the results, not the things like the filing that can be done out of work hours. I worked on a commission basis when telemarketing seminars so I would be starving today if I did not do the calls that would get me the results. Likewise in my own business, I have a “to do” list every day and I will not let myself go to the gym or go for a walk till I have done them. When I set myself a time frame or limitation, everything gets done quicker anyway.

You must always be conscious to use your time in the most productive way. Ask yourself the question “Is what I am doing now, the most productive thing that is going to keep me in a job and earning money?” It will stop you from getting up to have that extra cup of coffee (which you don’t need anyway!) Getting a glass of water is not only healthier, it is quicker. When you get to running your own business, this discipline will be invaluable to you.

Celebrate

With achieving the status of international trainer and speaker after all these years, I am going to celebrate. It will start with putting on the dancing birthday party of the year for 60 friends (as I turn another decade in June) followed by taking my 85 year old Mum to Spain for 5 days and joining my UK best college friends in Lake Como Italy for 4 days. Call me lucky if you like but I could not be doing all that if I had not done the goal setting, conquered many rejections and setbacks in life, and had the self discipline to do the hard work with focus. I’ve had mentors and coaches because they could get me there faster than I could by myself and I have never ever stopped learning. If you do the same, you can be assured of success.

When you reach your goal of how many people you are going to call each day and make the number of sales or appointments you planned, reward yourself. Your boss may not be good at giving you recognition and praise, so instead of being annoyed about that, do it for yourself. Take an extra break, call a friend, buy yourself some music or a bunch of flowers. Book a massage, whatever you like to do. You deserve it.

Jenny Cartwright – International Sales Trainer / Speaker / Coach

Author of “Don’t Get Hung up! – How to sell products and services by phone” and “Secrets of Top Sales Professionals.”

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