The 12 Steps to Successful Telemarketing: Understand Your Market Share

By Kathy Sisk

In the following issues of Connections Magazine you will learn twelve steps to successful telemarketing. Before we dig into these steps, some other information must be shared. First, it’s vital that you understand your market share. For example, there are prospects that say no, those who say yes, and those who say maybe, providing you create the need and deliver your message well.

Ten percent of the contacts you will make will say no. These prospects say no to everything. They have already decided that, even if you give your product away, they will have nothing to do with your offer. Don’t take it personally. It’s a statistical reality. This isn’t because they are not in the market at this time, it’s simply because they will never do business over the telephone. They usually will tell you no within the first twenty seconds of your presentation. Their resistance, expressed in the beginning stages of your presentation, is silence and guttural utterances. When you encounter this type of prospect, you must understand that they really do exist as part of your day-to-day prospecting activities, or else you could allow them to ruin your day.

How do you really determine that this is a typical no so that you don’t close the door prematurely? Is no just a smoke screen, or is your prospect just having a bad day? You need to qualify the prospect by using the easy close. For example, you are seconds into your presentation and barely have introduced yourself when suddenly your prospect says, “I’m not interested.”  Using the “easy close” will allow you to gracefully back off and attempt to test your prospect’s response in order to determine whether the prospect really means no, or if the no is just a smoke screen. If it is a smoke screen, the easy close will allow you to keep the door open for a future contact. Next month, we will discuss the easy close in more detail and you’ll learn exactly what you can say to save the call and turn that no into a yes.

The 10 percent who say no will not allow you to continue, even when you use the easy close. However, there are also 10 percent who say yes. This 10 percent is in the market for your products or service. You just happen to be calling at the right time. These prospects support the “numbers game,” which is based upon the idea that if you make enough calls you’ll ultimately reach enough prospects in that 10 percent category to do business with.

Although there is some statistical validity to the numbers game approach, it is a time-consuming, tedious, costly, and inefficient way to prospect in today’s sophisticated market. It is true that even some of the weakest closers will get a percentage of the 10 percent prospects that readily say yes. Be careful of those who do say yes too easily, since sometimes it just means that the prospect doesn’t know how to say no. Even still, you should still take the time to prequalify them, since you don’t want to waste anyone’s time unnecessarily, and, most of all, you don’t want to experience a high cancellation factor because you did not take the time to prequalify. Even though it will be tempting to close too quickly, take the time to qualify all your prospects and walk them through the process of your presentation. During Step 5 (Probing) of the 12 Steps, you will have the opportunity to qualify.

When looking at the pie chart above, you will notice that 80 percent of those you are in contact with present the best marketing opportunity for you. However, these people are rarely prospected correctly. Most agents do not take the time to establish their prospects’ wants, and they do not try to create the need for their products or service. Instead, they are too busy selling and closing too quickly (going after the numbers game) rather than servicing and consulting with their prospects. The main reason for this is that many presentations are not designed to service the prospect into the sale or appointment but to close, close, close.

As mentioned earlier, many presentations are created to go after the 10 percent who readily say yes as opposed to going after the 80 percent of the prospects who would close provided you took the time to create the need for what you have to offer. The typical objective in a telemarketing operation is to contact as many prospects per hour as possible; this is due to the stringent quotas set by the manager. This tells agents who may spend too much time with prospects on the telephone that it will be more difficult for them to meet their quota.

Based on the pie chart, the vast majority of the market to concentrate on when prospecting are those who are not sitting by their telephone anticipating your call. If you think about it, you are in business to take your competition’s business away, correct? Most of your prospects are probably already participating in a service or using a product you have to offer. Your objective is to convince your prospects that they need what you have rather than what your competition has. When you think about it in this way, it’s very simple. If you walk in with the attitude that your prospects already see value in what you have to offer, then the challenge you face is convincing them that they need to get it from you. By contrast, selling a product or service that is unique, something that many prospects do not have or may not have even heard of, requires a more skillful presentation. In any case, I will address these issues in the following months.

Before you begin learning how to generate additional selling opportunities or appointments with the 80 percent group, you first must learn the techniques that will assist you to deliver your message better. This will further set you apart from your competition. Remember, your competition is not only those you consider your direct competitors, it is anyone who is using the telephone as a marketing tool. Your prospects receive many calls each day from individuals vying for their business. Because your prospects are so accustomed to being inundated by telemarketing calls, they have developed their own scripts to identify you quickly in order for you to lose interest in them. This is why your style of delivery is so vital in assisting you to separate your calls from other telephone sales calls.

Kathy Sisk is president of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc.

[Read part 2 of the series “The 12 Steps to Successful Telemarketing.“]

[From Connection Magazine Jan/Feb 2011]

Leave a Reply