When professional telemarketers get caught up in the fundamental norms of outbound telemarketing, they tend to forget how to distinguish which aspects of their style are beneficial and which are detrimental to their goals. It is important to assess whether a certain action – whether part of a routine or an experimental move – can fulfill its purpose, otherwise it must be unlearned.
In appointment setting, especially in business-to-business (B2B) campaigns, telemarketers face the challenge of A: penetrating a target company and its gatekeepers, and B: getting a true Decision-Maker to agree to an appointment. With these goals at hand, it is crucial to appraise the plan of attack so that no wrong move could put all efforts to waste.
Here are some critical practices that need particular evaluation:
Reading off a Script. While newcomers to the telemarketing profession may be pardoned from this mortal sin, seasoned telemarketers should know better. This very act not only negatively impacts a prospect’s initial impression towards the company being represented, but also, and most importantly, towards the telemarketer itself. No one wants to talk to someone who sounds like a recording and stutters whenever caught with off-guarding questions. It pays to be mentally equipped and familiar with a product or service and not rely on suggested spiels or responses.
Voicemails. It has become part of the telemarketing culture, yet the rationale behind this practice is becoming feeble. Yes, it becomes useful when a telemarketer needs to follow-up on a prospect regarding a future appointment or some missed details. But during the “cold calling” stage of the campaign, leaving voicemails may actually do more harm than good. Prospects hardly ever return calls off a voicemail, especially once they’ve realized that it’s from someone who’s selling something. The more they keep getting voicemails, the more they keep hearing the name of the company being represented. It allows them to consciously “block” any likelihood of communication and it destroys the chances of an appointment or sales lead. Leaving messages with a secretary is still preferred whenever possible – it’s more professional and usually more productive.
Talking to the wrong person. It wastes time, energy, resources and opportunities. Nothing could be more damaging to a campaign than spending precious minutes on the phone with someone who doesn’t make choices for the company. It may be reasonable to do so during lead generation, but definitely a no-no when it comes to appointment setting. There is no point in discussing things over with a non-decision maker only to find out in the end that there is someone else who needs to hear everything all over again. One other mistake is when a telemarketer talks to someone from the target company whose job might be compromised should they acquire services from the outside. It’s illogical and nothing short of rude.
Every opportunity to make contact and create a good initial impression should not be wasted by meaningless practices that could have been avoided in the first place. Professional telemarketers should make it a habit to “run a scan” of their common practices to see which ones are to be capitalized on and which ones are corrupted and need eliminating.