Tips: Telemarketing Training and Etiquette
Professional telemarketers employ superior communications skills to understand customer problems, identify priorities for solving those problems, and help in a way that is convenient, cost-effective, innovative and timely. If you opt for in-house telemarketing instead of outsourcing your campaigns, specific staff training is essential. A solid training program should stress these points, as well as allow plenty of opportunities for trainees to practice their skills before hitting the phones:
- Don't forget your existing customer. Train staff to generate new business from those already onboard. It costs six to eight times more to sell to a brand new customer.
- Know your product and its value. Prepare trainees to handle any situation that might arise. Knowing everything about the company and its products allows your telemarketers to emphasize unique selling points that can win the sale.
- Sell by effective listening. Listening the most effective communication skill. When a telemarketer lets prospects talk, sales happen.
- Serve the customer. Train staff to help prospects solve problems from the buyer's perspective. People purchase for their own reasons, not to help the telemarketer reach his sales target.
- Employ solution selling. Teach telemarketers to offer solutions based on those products that work to satisfy the customer's needs.
- Overcome objections. Use a script to teach trainees how to close the deal.
Entrepreneur.com offers a number of excellent guidelines for telemarketing trainees on creating the proper ambiance, goal-setting and developing a personal phone style:
- Personalize each call by preparing mentally. Your mind-set needs to be aligned with your language, or the conversation will not ring true. You need to work on developing a warm but not sugarcoated telephone voice that has that "Don't I know you?" or "Gee, you sound familiar" ring to it.
- Perfect your phone style alone before making any calls. If you are self-conscious about calling, you need to feel safe to act uninhibited. Try this: Gather a tape recorder, a mirror, a sales journal of incoming and outgoing phone scripts, a pen and a legal-sized pad. Either write down or select a favorite phone dialogue; then talk to yourself in the mirror. Do you look relaxed, or are your facial expressions rigid? Our exteriors reflect our inner selves. If you look like you're in knots, your voice will sound strained as well.
Push the "record" button on your tape recorder, and pretend you're talking to a new prospect. Play back the tape, and listen to your conversation. Ask yourself how you could improve your delivery. If your voice seems unnatural and the dialogue contrived, do not despair. As you practice and participate in real phone experiences, you will improve. Mastering the art of cold-calling is no different than improving your golf swing or skiing technique.
- Create familiarity all around you. Use family photos, framed testimonial letters, motivational quotes, or whatever gets you in a positive, enthusiastic mood. If you like, play some music that inspires you.
- Use your imagination. Pretend you are a prospective customer calling a bookstore to see if they have a book in stock. If it helps, record how you sound to get the feel of your inquiring phone voice. It's always easier to imagine you're a customer in need of information than a salesperson trying to force your way into the customer's time. The inquiry call is good practice because the tone of the conversation is "Can you help me?" or "I need some information." Try to convey that same attitude when you use the phone to contact future customers.
- Watch your tone of voice. You do not want to sound sheepish and embarrassed, nor do you want to be arrogant. The ideal tone is warm, businesslike, curious and straight to the point. A good option is a question or a cut-to-the-chase statement such as: "I've got a question. We are offering a two-for-one special during the next 30 days on all our coffee drinks, just to get people into the store. I need to know if you have ever stopped in while shopping at the mall, and if not, why not? We have got the greatest ice-blended mochas in town."
- Make your goal a fast "50 in 150"--that is, 50 calls in 150 minutes. Three minutes per call is all you need. With so many voice-mail systems intercepting calls today, this should be easy. Never give people the impression you have time to chat. Chatting is not prospecting. You're on a mission. Get to the point and then move on to the next prospect.
- Take five after 15. After 15 calls, take a five-minute break. Stretch, eat, sip a soda, turn on some tunes, and pat yourself on the back because you're making it happen. Then grab the phone for 15 more calls.