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The Ghosts of Telemarketing Past

The Ghosts of Telemarketing Past

The Telemarketing Company has been in business for 25 years, and we’ve always kept an eagle eye on our competitors and the business world at large; as you do. One of the many things we’ve learned over the aeons is that not all telemarketing/sales agencies drink from the same cup.

Tim Newman, Telemarketing Specialist

The Telemarketing Company

Each sector has its own quirks, each business has its own chosen methods and every training department does its job in its own way. This veritable zoo of marketing variety means that, although new sales techniques regularly appear before eventually dipping out of favour, in some dark corners even the most ancient of approaches can sometimes still thrive. We still see sales techniques as old as the hills crawling from the woodwork; even fossils like the ABC technique: Always Be Closing *shudder* occasionally appear.

There’s no hard and fast “right” way of doing things, but there certainly are some “wrong” ways. We’ve heard a right royal selection of clangers; we’re not saying we have all of the correct techniques, but we’ve certainly observed some incorrect ones in our time.

We have heard of instances where callers were banned from ever disconnecting their own calls. In other words they were required to keep badgering the customer until they hung up. However long it took, it would always be the customer that hung up on the sales agent. It’s no surprise that some B2C cold calling has a bad name with rogue activity like that going on.

One of the worst call centre mantras we’ve come across is “all buyers are liars”. What a lovely basis for a call…

One hot topic in the telemarketing arena that is guaranteed to bring out the ghosts of marketing past is objection handling. Everyone has their own opinion on how it should be conducted.

When a prospective client lobs an objection at you there are a myriad of ways to handle it. How you deal with it depends on where it comes in the call, how it is delivered and the level of validity it has. For instance, if the objection comes at the beginning of the call in a clipped and booming tone, something along the lines of “I haven’t got time for this”, it will be handled very differently from an objection that comes towards the end of the pitch in a gentler tone and goes something like “I haven’t got time to meet this month”. They’re both pretty similar to look at written down, but the former is a call you want to exit swiftly and the latter is a potential appointment for next month.

Quite often staff are told to simply ignore objections. That’s right, they are trained to simply carry on talking and totally ignore any negative response from the prospect. I don’t think that really counts as handling an objection. It sounds more like denial to me. I have no idea why anyone would ever think that was a good idea? Surely the call’s recipient would just grow increasingly frustrated?

Another topic that always stimulates hot debate, is rapport building. Some telemarketers don’t think rapport should ever be attempted, they believe it comes across as cheesy; they have a point to a certain extent. We’ve all had completely cold calls from telemarketers who open with the utterly insincere “how are you today”, when it’s clear that they really couldn’t care less if you answered “Not well, actually”. On the other side of the camp some feel that there is no way to convert a lead unless rapport is heavily built from the start of the call. Others still fall into a third group (where The Telemarketing Company generally resides) that believes rapport can be achieved as a natural part of the call and should be used according to your gut instinct from individual to individual.

B2C is a slightly different game where rapport is concerned; after all, you’re talking to someone who’s at home and probably dealing with their daily chores or wrestling with children. B2B has to be more, well, business-like.

We have heard some pretty ham-fisted rapport build techniques from the B2C environment, including an attempt to build rapport by stating that “we are based in Brighton – the gay capital of Europe”. That may well be factually correct, but as a start to a business conversation it might not be particularly well measured. Other topics that have been reported include using include religion, politics and Eastenders; we can probably drop them too.

Hearing some of the tactics used is a fascinating and intriguing pastime.

When all is said and done, there are no two marketing calls the same, there are no two callers the same and there are no two prospects the same. Hard and fast, rigid rules will never fit the bill. But, a little bit of common sense goes a long way.

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