Things to Avoid with Telephone Marketing
Telephone marketing has a reputation for being ruthless, exploitive, and inconsiderate, and yet telephone marketing actually works quite well. When does it work and when doesn’t it? Your best chance of succeeding with a telephone marketing campaign comes with being honest, hiring or training professional callers who know how to handle any situation that might arise over the course of the call, and taking good care of the customers who purchase your product or service.
If your company is considering starting a telephone marketing campaign it is important to do your homework beforehand. It is also important to make sure that whoever is doing the telephone marketing is following the law and the normal rules of civility. Sometimes it is easier to define a good telephone marketing campaign by what it avoids than by what it does. Here is a countdown of the top ten things to avoid when doing telephone marketing.
10. Zoning out. If your telephone marketing workers are “phoning it in” so to speak, they may well miss out on some great opportunities. If a worker is so focused on getting the script right that he or she doesn’t hear the caller saying, “Good timing; my long distance plan is about to expire and I wanted to explore my options,” you’re going to miss some real opportunities.
9. Using a robot to call people. Sure, it may be cheaper than having an actual person doing the calling, but people are insulted to answer the phone, find a machine talking, and then being asked to “please hold” or do something else to get the privilege of talking to a real human being. Customers hate this.
8. Pretending to be someone you’re not or otherwise lying. “You were recommended to receive one of our pre-approved credit card offers” skates on the thin ice of not telling the whole truth when the customer was “recommended” by a computer program.
7. Using inadequately or inappropriately trained staff to make telephone marketing calls. Whether you use in-house or outsourced calling personnel, never choose on low cost alone. You often get precisely what you pay for.
6. Giving the customer an ultimatum. “If you sign up right now you can get a free three month extension, but unfortunately this offer expires in five minutes.” They’ll either hate you for wasting their time or be scared into buying something they don’t want or need, and coerced customers aren’t repeat customers.
The prize of buying something they don’t need or want, even at a steep discount, is no prize at all.
5. Pretending that you’re doing a survey or that you’re not selling anything when in fact you are. People are more likely to help out with a survey up front than they would be if you called and said, “We want to sell you replacement windows.” But that sense of being helpful quickly evaporates once your real aims are known.
4. Telling people they’ve won a “prize” which in reality requires them to purchase something or only “elevates” them to the next level of “play,” where they can compete to get 40% off whatever it is. The prize of buying something they don’t need or want, even at a steep discount, is no prize at all.
3. Making customers feel bad about their possessions even though there’s nothing wrong with them. “Are you still using one of the old fashioned refrigerators with the freezer on top? No wonder your cooking isn’t as good as they could be.” It’s just mean, and if they don’t hate you immediately, they will after they hang up.
2. Using aggressive, confrontational, and contemptuous sales tactics. Even if you do manage to bully a certain number of people into buying your product or service, you’ll get few to no new customer relationships, because they aren’t going to be repeat customers after being browbeaten into buying something the first time.
1. Using fear to sell products. Scaring people by saying that they’ll die and their family will be in permanent financial straits if they don’t buy a life insurance policy, or exaggerating crime statistics to get them to buy a security system are two reprehensible ways of generating sales. If your product or service can’t stand on its own merits, then your whole marketing strategy should be rethought.
Undertaking a major telephone marketing campaign represents a large expenditure of time, effort, and money. Don’t waste any of that time, effort, or money on bad practices that are completely avoidable.
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