So many companies employ staff to make outbound sales calls all day long, train them on knowledge of product or service only, and are then disappointed at the lack of results. “There is no point in training them because they don’t stay very long” they cry. My response is, “Of course they leave if they are not getting results. If you train them, they will get results and want to stay.”
For 6 years I achieved record breaking results in telemarketing by promoting famous speakers such as Anthony Robbins, Tom Hopkins, Jim Rohn and Denis Waitley. I had been successfully selling face to face for 20 years before that so I did have the vital ingredients for outbound telemarketing – i.e. the skills to sell. Knowledge of product or service alone was definitely not enough. I found you had to have a number of special qualities, the most important of which were enthusiasm, a positive attitude, persistence and self-motivation.
For a while I observed what I did compared to what others in my office did who were not getting my great results. I wrote everything down and ultimately created the training programme that I have been conducting for 12 years as a public seminar. This is customized for every inhouse training that I present. I get the greatest results by following up an inhouse training with one on one coaching or small group coaching once a week for 3 weeks after the training.
My research discovered that excellent sales training for telemarketers needs to incorporate the following:-
1. A live demonstration of how to increase and maintain the level of enthusiasm and positivity necessary in the voice. I suggest you record all role plays on a tape so the telemarketer can critique him/herself. He/she should be asked “Would you buy from you?” Remember nothing sells without enthusiasm – it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Voice training exercises are important to make your telemarketers sound professional. Remember how important it is to smile and stand up every 5 calls to give more confidence in the voice.
2. Perform exercises for changing negative words and statements to positive ones. How often have I heard “You can’t get the discount unless you buy before Friday this week”. Don’t tell people what they can’t do, tell them what they can do. “Cheap” and “deal” are not very professional words to use in sales. Find other words that are like these to avoid.
3. Brainstorm ways to open a cold call so it becomes a warm call. Find out something first about the company so you can refer to that, go in on a referral and if you have not got a referral, show your students how to create one.
4. Teach good questioning techniques – particularly open-ended questions at the building rapport stage which do not allow the customer to say “yes” or “no”. Many untrained telemarketers ask closed questions which quickly get a “no” answer and the call has to end. Open-ended questions build rapport, help you get more information and a better response. It is important to generate questions that are going to give you the response you want . Ask questions around the benefits of your products . You can also ask questions that invoke painful feelings in the customer too, about what he/she is currently using so he/she wants to change.
5. Show the telemarketer how to demonstrate good listening skills so the student can summarize back to the customer what he/she said they needed in response to the questions.
6. Create a formula for a presentation that works. Ensure the salesperson talks to the customer about benefits as opposed to the features and advantages of your product or service. Give testimonials of people who have successfully used your product or service, explain the real value in monetary terms and make the offer urgent so there is a call to action.
7. Create some powerful closing techniques – a number of trial closes, choice questions and closed questions.
8. Run through follow up techniques for mail outs, after sales service and up-selling.
9. Understand the Six Steps to Preparation and Planning of a Successful Telemarketing Campaign.
a) The telemarketers must set their own goals. Call reluctance will occur if there are no personal targets set.
b) Prepare a script that will work. I do not believe that scripts should be read over the telephone but preparing one gives the telemarketers clarity how to express what they have to offer in the best possible way. The script should be internalized and personalized to bring out the telemarketer’s own personality. It can be recorded onto a tape before going live!
c) Prepare a response for every objection that is raised by the customer. So many telemarketers put the phone down after the first objection. They have never taken the time to work out a response to objections which are going to recur over and over again.
d) Plan whom you are going to call and where to get leads. This is a good time management tool.
e) Organise a system for tracking and following- up calls.
f) Brainstorm ideas on how to overcome call reluctance. The reluctance comes from fear of rejection, lack of knowledge of product or service and lack of confidence.
In summary, all the above are vital learning prerequisites before you ever let your telemarketers loose on the phone, i.e. if you want them to get great results. The keys to success are in the open-ended questions you create at the beginning of the conversation, the script you develop with my formula and the answers you have prepared for every objection that is raised. At the end of the training, I recommend your telemarketers have in front of them a sheet of powerful questions to ask, a script that works, a list of common objections with their answers and a goal sheet of how many calls, contacts and sales they are expecting to make that day.
Now you and the telemarketers are equipped to succeed and there will be no call reluctance!
Jenny Cartwright – International SalesTrainer / 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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