Many of us cringe when we hear the word "telemarketing" thinking of those phone calls that come right around dinner time or during your quiet evening when you finally put your feet up after a long and busy day. Because of the abuse, you can now register to be put on a "Do Not Call" list so that you no longer receive these calls (hopefully). Making contact with people is, however, an important part of a successful business, including phone communication.
In observance of "Telemarketing Awareness Week", I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at good telemarketing practices.
1. Don't use an automated service to make your calls for you...there is nothing I hate more than receiving a call from a "machine" or recording. I hang up on these as soon as I know it's a solicitation.
2. Try to sense whether the person you are calling is a "get to the point" type person or someone who will want to be engaged in conversation before you try to sell them. Personally, my heart sinks when someone I care about calls and carries on friendly conversation, only to find out further into the conversation that they are calling me about something they are selling. I'd prefer that they say a few friendly words, then tell me what they are calling about.
3. When you speak to someone in person or by phone who may be a potential customer, or team-member if you are a network marketer, tell them you will be calling and if possible agree on a time that is good for them.
4. Don't call at dinner time...and take into consideration time zones if you are calling out of your time zone.
5. Personal pet peeve - don't call soliciting business or sales on Sunday. Again, this is something I, personally, don't appreciate as I believe that Sunday is a day set aside to rest...yes, many have to work on Sunday, I know all that....but am just giving you something to think about. If you know the person you are dealing with, you'll know how they feel about calls on certain days of the week.
6. Don't call over and over again if a person has made it clear that they are not interested in what you are offering. I would say call no more than twice, then if it's clear they are not interested, let some time go by, perhaps contact them another way, keep in touch as a (sincere) friend, and see what opens up over time. I had a woman who called me constantly, once or twice a week, finally had to put a stop to it. She is sending along emails now and then, I don't mind that so much, and who knows...one of these times I may just click on the link in that email.
7. Don't be put off if a person isn't interested, if you're a sensitive type, hearing "no, I'm not interested" can bring you down, don't let it...in reality, only a small percentage of those you contact, especially if you are doing "cold calling" are going to be interested...so press on.
8. DO offer something special to a customer that has made a purchase, or to encourage them to make a purchase, like a percentage off their next order, or a free item with their next purchase.
9. DO at the outset, identify who you are clearly when you call and ask whether you are calling at a good time.
10. DO ask for referrals if all goes very well with your contact.
I'm sure there are many other helpful tips, and pet peeves, feel welcome to share yours in a comment.