Once in a while a telemarketer ignores the fact that I'm on the "Do Not Call" list and rings me anyway. I relish these moments. Sometimes I'll try to sell them something. I will talk to them ... at least for a while. I realize that most telemarketers are just trying to make a living and, while I won't buy anything from a telemarketer, I won't be rude to them.
Instead, I try to learn from them. I pay attention to what they do that is extremely annoying. You might call it learning the negative lesson.
Here are a few things I've learned:
No telemarketer ever has anything I want or need
This may be because anything with real demand potential doesn't need high pressure sales tactics to get you to buy. Instead of finding out what a market genuinely needs, they randomly call a bunch of numbers and try to force me to believe that I need what they are offering.
If you're like me, when a sales situation like this happens, you feel instant resistance.
I don't trust people I don't know, and I don't buy from people I don't trust
When some stranger offers to sell you a TV off the back of a truck for $25, smart money says he's going to rip you off or that the TV is stolen. When a telemarketer calls you with an offer that's too good to pass up, or a free trial, or a survey - I'm betting you feel a strange tightness in your chest or stomach.
Again - this is resistance. If you pay attention to your own physiology, you can actually physically feel resistance. Usually in the muscles of your stomach or chest tighten or you feel a strange energy there. This is actually a precursor to the flight or fight response. Your brain senses danger and sets off some processes that your body responds to.
I hate to be interrupted
I don't care if I'm only sitting in my office staring at the wall, if the phone rings it had better be important, interesting, or someone I love. To intrude upon my day, take up my time, and then force feed me a poorly written and executed sales pitch - you'll have better luck selling ice cubes in Antarctica.
Everybody is so busy today. When you make business calls, even if they are expected it's always best to ask first, "is this a good time to talk?" If they say no, simply ask, "when would you like me to call back?" When you call back then ask, "is this still a good time for us to talk?" People will appreciate your respect of their time. You might even tell them, "I need to speak to you for about 10 minutes" and then ask if it's OK.
Sometimes people you call will feel anxiety because they don't have time to talk, but due to social discomfort won't get off the phone with you. They won't be paying very close attention, because all they can think about is when they can get off the phone. This isn't a good state to have people in when you want to conduct any type of business.
The "spray and pray" sales method doesn't work
the last telemarketer that called me asked for me by name and, after I confirmed who I was, talked at me for the next 5 minutes. It felt like 5 hours. She fired off every feature and benefit of the thing she was selling, never once checking in with me to see if I was still even on the phone. When she was done he simply said, I just want to send this to you for a 30 day free trial OK? Nope.
I know she's not a very skilled sales person, or she'd be doing something different. I know they have given her a script that they probably paid some consultant to write. Probably a lot of people say OK because it's a free trial and they just want to get her off the phone. Of course they will get billed $150 after 30 days.
One on one sales is always a conversation. Good marketing communication approaches a conversation as closely as possible. There may be situations where people expect scripted, dry, bland, lists of things. I'm imagining technical journals, maybe. In general, people don't like to feel bullied or tricked into buying. They like to feel like the idea comes from them.
The positive lessons:
If you flip around the negative lessons here, we should get some criteria for good sales and marketing communications. You should be able to come up with some great positive lessons, here are some that I got:
- Find and fill a real need for your market
- Allow people to get to know you and your company, familiarity builds trust. Build networks of evangelists who market your business to their friends.
- Use non-disruptive marketing tactics whenever possible. Allow people to access your marketing and sales messages on their terms.
- Make your marketing and sales communications as conversational as possible. Involve your customers in dialog as much as possible. Encourage feedback.
Look for marketing or sales situations that set off your flight or fight response and analyze them for the negative lessons. Turn the negative lessons around and you'll have a very inexpensive education in sales and marketing that works.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet