By Angela Garfinkel
No. Not interested. Thanks for your call, but no. No.
You get the point. Working in outbound telemarketing sales can be a difficult job. Working in telemarketing management is also hard, but at least we aren’t the ones who are told no every five to seven minutes throughout an eight-hour day. Most telemarketing programs average one sale every four to five hours. Some really great programs get one sale every two to three hours. The very best programs get one sale for every hour of calling. In an eight-hour day, that’s about one hundred noes and, at best, a handful of yeses.
Remaining upbeat and positive is a challenge, but the key is knowing that what you’re selling is worth the effort. We call it “worthwhile work.” It’s important to carefully evaluate each client program to ensure that it meets the minimum standard of being worthwhile work.
Here Are Some Criteria I Consider:
- Would our team enjoy working with this client? Would our management team get along with them and find there is a true partnership? Obviously, it takes a while to build a relationship, but within an initial conversation, I can normally tell if there is a seed of potential for our team to enjoy working with a client.
- Is the potential client a reputable company? I check the Better Business Bureau. I look at their website. I read press releases and other news about the company. If I can’t find anything that validates them as a reputable company, that isn’t necessarily a negative, but then I do my own assessment by asking some detailed questions about the company and how they approach their market.
- Is the product or service something the target market needs? This can be difficult to assess, but you can normally ask some questions that will give you insight to the need in the market. One key question is asking them how many products they’ve sold so far. If it’s zero, that could be a real challenge.
- Is the product or service something that can be sold over the phone? Has the client already tested telemarketing? Was it successful? If not, look at the potential for success with scrutiny.
- Is it a program our team will be successful with? That’s hard to quantify, but with thirty years of experience, I’m pretty good at identifying if our team will do well with a client program or not.
- Is it something a consumer or business may ultimately view as a rip-off or scam? Obviously if the answer is yes, then we carefully walk away from the potential opportunity.
Based on these answers, I’ve found that it is critical to carefully consider whether the program will be viewed by our team as worthwhile work. In the simplest of terms, I explain it this way: If I go to Thanksgiving dinner and tell my grandma what project I’m working on, will I be proud of it? If the answer is “not really,” then we’ll choose to not work on it.
Here Are Some Programs My Team Considers Worthwhile Work:
- Calling physician offices and hospitals to sell them billing and coding resources.
- Calling existing utility customers to offer a warranty and appliance repair program from the utility.
- Calling small business owners to ask if they’re interested in learning more about 401(k) benefits for their employees.
- Calling existing customers of auto dealerships to schedule service appointments and conduct after-service surveys.
- Calling small and medium businesses to sell them regulatory and compliance resources to help them navigate complex regulatory requirements in their industry.
- Calling small businesses to ask them to listen to the radio for a chance to win a prize.
And while I won’t mention the brand names represented in these worthwhile calls, they are household names our employees love to work for.
So here’s my theory: when you’re conducting worthwhile work for well-known, respected brand names, you can take pride in what you do and know that it matters. This makes it easier to stay positive and let those noes roll off your back. There’s an old chant we used years ago that I still think is relevant and a great way to put the noes into perspective: “Some will. Some won’t. So what? Who’s next?”
Angela Garfinkel is the president and founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading outsourced telemarketing services organization. Angela has the pleasure of leading a talented team that runs thousands of outbound telemarketing program hours each day. Angela is also a certified Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) auditor with the Professional Association for Customer Engagement, and she is a designated Customer Engagement Compliance Professional (CECP). Angela can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-656-5118.